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Working As an Associate

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $108,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Duties

Retail sales workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable
  • Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges

The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:

Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.

After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.

Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.

For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.

In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.

Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.

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How To Become An Associate

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

Education

Although retail or parts sales positions usually have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent, especially employers who sell technical products or “big-ticket” items, such as electronics or cars.

Training

Most retail sales workers receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months. In small stores, an experienced employee often trains newly hired workers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and usually conducted over several days.

During training sessions, topics often include customer service, security, the store’s policies and procedures, and how to operate the cash register.

Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training. For example, salespersons working in cosmetics get instruction on the types of products the store offers and for whom the cosmetics would be most beneficial. Likewise, those who sell computers may be instructed on the technical differences between computer products.

Because providing exceptional service to customers is a priority for many employers, employees often get periodic training to update and refine their skills.

Advancement

Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually involves selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.

Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people. 

Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.

Persistence. A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.

Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.

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Associate Career Paths

Do you work as an Associate?

Average Yearly Salary
$108,000
Show Salaries
$71,000
Min 10%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$165,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Menlo Park, CA
Highest Paying State
Maine
Avg Experience Level
1.9 years
How much does an Associate make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Associate in the United States is $108,548 per year or $52 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $71,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $165,000.

Real Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Mulesoft Associate Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 31, 2019 $126,500 -
$127,000
Associate 8 Deloitte Consulting LLP Ashburn, VA Sep 05, 2014 $112,362 -
$174,000
Associate Geoconcepts Engineering, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 31, 2011 $59,030 -
$99,030
Associate Amazon.com Ashburn, VA Sep 24, 2019 $31,305
Associate Amazon.com, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 24, 2019 $31,305
Locker+ Associate-Lab1 Amazon.com, Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 28, 2020 $31,305
Associate Amazon.com, Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 22, 2019 $31,305
Associate Amazon Ashburn, VA Dec 28, 2019 $31,305
Associate Amazon.com, Inc. Ashburn, VA Dec 28, 2019 $31,305
Locker+ Associate-Lab1 Amazon Ashburn, VA Apr 27, 2020 $31,305
Associate Amazon Ashburn, VA Nov 24, 2019 $31,305

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Top Skills for An Associate

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inventory Management/ Automotive Service/ Customer Service
  • Constructed store visuals and window displays- Implemented new merchandise onto the sales floor- Compiled merchandise inventory and packaged enterprise orders
  • Investigated and analyzed financial statements, opined on viability of financial claims, consulted with outside experts to draft mediation statement.
  • Developed and revised safety procedures and performed field audits to ensure correct implementation.
  • Collaborated with managers in identifying necessary changes to policy and the establishment of controls to ensure compliance and risk mitigation.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Associates

  1. Maine
  2. Mississippi
  3. Connecticut
  4. New York
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Massachusetts
  7. California
  8. Nevada
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New Jersey
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Associate Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 283,307 Associate resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Associate Resume

View Resume Examples

Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

44.1%

Male

43.1%

Unknown

12.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.2%

French

11.1%

Chinese

4.2%

Mandarin

4.1%

German

4.1%

Portuguese

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Italian

2.8%

Japanese

2.6%

Arabic

2.4%

Hindi

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

Cantonese

1.3%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Hebrew

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Tagalog

0.6%

Greek

0.6%

Carrier

0.5%
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Associate Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.4%

New York University

6.8%

New York Law School

5.2%

Georgetown University

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

Columbia University

4.8%

Temple University

4.7%

George Washington University

4.7%

The Academy

4.6%

Fordham University

4.6%

Arizona State University

4.5%

University of Pennsylvania

4.5%

Ohio State University

4.2%

University of Texas at Austin

4.1%

University of Houston

4.0%

Liberty University

3.8%

American University

3.7%

Boston University

3.7%

Strayer University

3.5%

Kaplan University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

21.7%

Law

12.4%

Psychology

5.9%

Accounting

5.9%

Finance

5.7%

Criminal Justice

5.6%

Communication

4.1%

Nursing

3.8%

General Studies

3.6%

Health Care Administration

3.6%

Computer Science

3.2%

Medical Assisting Services

3.2%

Management

2.9%

Marketing

2.9%

Biology

2.8%

Political Science

2.8%

English

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Education

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.3%

Other

25.3%

Masters

12.9%

Associate

11.6%

Doctorate

8.6%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.4%
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