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Become An Associate

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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

  • $77,000

    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

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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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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$42,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Mintz
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, 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 $77,967 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $142,000.

Real Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP New York, NY Aug 29, 2016 $315,000
Associate Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP New York, NY Aug 24, 2016 $315,000 -
$335,000
Associate OEP Capital Advisors L.P. New York, NY Jan 13, 2015 $300,000
Associate (Quantitative Researcher) Ajo LP Boston, MA Apr 23, 2015 $300,000 -
$400,000
U.S. Associate Linklaters LLP New York, NY Sep 15, 2016 $300,000
Associate Proskauer Rose LLP New York, NY Sep 16, 2016 $300,000
Associate Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP New York, NY Aug 25, 2016 $290,000
Associate Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP Washington, DC Dec 22, 2015 $290,000
Associate Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP CA Oct 01, 2015 $290,000
Associate Shearman & Sterling LLP Washington, DC Aug 25, 2015 $290,000
Associate Shearman & Sterling LLP Washington, DC Mar 02, 2016 $290,000
Associate Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP New York, NY Aug 26, 2016 $290,000
Associate Goldman Sachs Services LLC New York, NY Nov 12, 2015 $122,000
AMS Associate 7 Deloitte Consulting LLP San Francisco, CA Mar 23, 2016 $121,997 -
$152,000
Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Sep 30, 2016 $121,700
Associate Freehills Us New York, NY Jul 15, 2015 $121,504
Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $121,500
Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $121,300
Associate Morgan Stanley Services Group Inc. New York, NY Aug 24, 2016 $121,000
Associate Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC New York, NY Aug 14, 2015 $121,000
Associate Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC New York, NY Jan 17, 2015 $86,000
Advisory Associate Pricewaterhousecoopers Advisory Services LLC New York, NY Nov 21, 2016 $86,000
Associate Goldman Sachs & Co. New York, NY Feb 16, 2015 $86,000
Advisory Associate Pricewaterhousecoopers Advisory Services LLC New York, NY Aug 08, 2016 $86,000
Associate Latentview Analytics Corporation San Jose, CA Aug 29, 2016 $86,000
Advisory Associate Pricewaterhousecoopers Advisory Services LLC New York, NY Oct 11, 2016 $86,000
Associate (Operations Research Analyst) Keystone Strategy LLC Brisbane, CA Aug 20, 2016 $86,000

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Top Skills for An Associate

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided customer service in a fast-paced, seasonal recreation facility
  • Moved existing merchandise and placed new merchandise on designated fixtures.
  • Developed and revised safety procedures and performed field audits to ensure correct implementation.
  • Uncovered risks inherent to each business and evaluated company's health by analyzing financial statements.
  • Controlled safety standards in hazardous work environment.

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Top 10 Best States for Associates

  1. New York
  2. Hawaii
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. Iowa
  6. District of Columbia
  7. North Dakota
  8. Vermont
  9. Connecticut
  10. Mississippi
  • (12,540 jobs)
  • (651 jobs)
  • (1,550 jobs)
  • (879 jobs)
  • (2,042 jobs)
  • (1,276 jobs)
  • (499 jobs)
  • (409 jobs)
  • (3,059 jobs)
  • (1,388 jobs)

Top Associate Employers

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