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Working As A Sales 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

  • $35,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales 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 A Sales 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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Average Length of Employment
Retail Sales Lead 2.4 years
Sales Person 2.2 years
Sales Clerk 2.1 years
Sales Associate 2.0 years
Sales Expert 1.8 years
Attendant Sales 1.7 years
Sales Assoc 1.7 years
Adviser Sales 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Sales Associate
Cashier 23.3%
Internship 7.0%
Server 5.9%
Volunteer 4.8%
Hostess 3.8%
Waitress 3.2%
Manager 2.7%
Assistant 2.6%
Associate 2.1%
Top Careers After Sales Associate
Cashier 16.7%
Server 7.5%
Internship 6.3%
Manager 3.4%
Hostess 3.1%
Volunteer 2.9%
Associate 2.6%
Teller 2.5%
Waitress 2.4%

Do you work as a Sales Associate?

Average Yearly Salary
$35,000
Show Salaries
$17,000
Min 10%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
AllianceBernstein
Highest Paying City
Madison, MS
Highest Paying State
Mississippi
Avg Experience Level
1.6 years
How much does a Sales Associate make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Sales Associate in the United States is $35,560 per year or $17 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $17,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $71,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Sales Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate-Sales Goldman Sachs & Co. Oct 08, 2016 $159,141
Pre-Sales Director (Associate Vice President) Zensar Technologies Inc. Sep 07, 2016 $148,824 -
$168,824
Associate-Sales Goldman, Sachs & Co. Mar 31, 2015 $139,506 -
$400,000
Sales Strategy Associate Google Inc. Aug 19, 2013 $135,200
Equity Research Sales Associate Merrill Lynch Oct 01, 2015 $130,000 -
$150,000
Latin America FX & Derivatives Corporate Sales Associate MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Aug 13, 2016 $125,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. May 23, 2013 $125,000
Associate-Sales Goldman, Sachs & Co. Jul 17, 2015 $125,000 -
$130,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. Sep 04, 2014 $125,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. Aug 01, 2014 $124,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. May 23, 2013 $120,000
Sales Strategy Associate Google Inc. Dec 10, 2014 $120,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. Sep 15, 2013 $120,000
Associate-Sales Goldman Sachs & Co. Oct 27, 2016 $112,029
Sales Associate Sector & Sovereign Research LLC Sep 29, 2014 $76,773
Investment Sales Associate Skybridge Capital II, LLC Sep 19, 2014 $75,000
Associate, Institutional Debt Sales Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. Jan 04, 2016 $70,000
Over The Counter Derivative Sales Associate Cargill, Incorporated Nov 21, 2016 $69,368 -
$72,500
International Market Sales Associate Bemis Company, Inc. Dec 19, 2014 $69,056
Bnef Sales Associate Bloomberg, LP Jan 04, 2016 $66,000
Associate, Asia Institutional Equity Sales Enclave Capital LLC Sep 15, 2015 $65,000
Sales Associate, Institutional Equity Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Aug 16, 2016 $64,938 -
$70,000
Sales Associate Dooley Enterprises LLC Sep 12, 2014 $49,442
Export Sales Associate Topwin Corporation Jan 12, 2015 $48,006
Sales Associate Cyagen Biosciences, Inc. Jun 20, 2014 $47,000
Equity Sales & Trading Associate App Group International LLC Dec 19, 2016 $47,000
Institutional Sales Associate RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc. Sep 09, 2015 $46,176
Sales Associate Crosslink Life Sciences, LLC Sep 15, 2016 $40,768
Sales Associate Kellwood Company Sep 09, 2014 $40,000
Sales Associate (Fabric and Textile) Basica Inc. Oct 01, 2013 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Sales Associate

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Sales Floor
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided excellent customer service by assisting customers in purchasing prescriptions, over counter medications, and other health related merchandise.
  • Processed new merchandise and re-allocates stock as necessary and processed damages, return-to-vendor merchandise and clearance.
  • Assisted in execution of merchandising and operational functions to company standards within sales floor areas where assigned
  • Worked individually and collaboratively with management on projects aimed at meeting and exceeding sales goals.
  • Ensured customers received outstanding service by actively engaging with customers, providing solid product knowledge, and maintaining excellent company standards.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Sales Associates

  1. Mississippi
  2. South Carolina
  3. West Virginia
  4. Louisiana
  5. Maine
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Florida
  8. Kansas
  9. Tennessee
  10. Alabama
  • (1,187 jobs)
  • (2,663 jobs)
  • (850 jobs)
  • (2,119 jobs)
  • (688 jobs)
  • (1,238 jobs)
  • (10,519 jobs)
  • (1,523 jobs)
  • (3,302 jobs)
  • (2,347 jobs)

Sales 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 1,569,687 Sales 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 Sales Associate Resume

View Resume Examples

Sales Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

57.8%

Male

38.0%

Unknown

4.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.6%

Hispanic or Latino

18.6%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.5%

French

8.6%

German

2.6%

Portuguese

2.2%

Italian

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Mandarin

2.0%

Japanese

1.9%

Russian

1.7%

Hindi

1.4%

Korean

1.2%

Cantonese

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Tagalog

0.9%

Urdu

0.8%

Polish

0.7%

Greek

0.4%

Hmong

0.4%

Swedish

0.4%
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Sales Associate Education

Schools

Miami Dade College

7.9%

Arizona State University

6.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

6.0%

University of Central Florida

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.5%

Florida State University

5.5%

Texas State University

5.3%

Georgia State University

5.0%

Valencia College

4.9%

Florida International University

4.7%

Kaplan University

4.5%

University of Houston

4.5%

University of North Texas

4.4%

Kent State University

4.3%

University of South Florida

4.3%

Ashford University

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Broward College

4.0%

Nassau Community College

3.9%
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Majors

Business

20.8%

Psychology

8.9%

Criminal Justice

7.4%

Nursing

6.0%

General Studies

5.8%

Medical Assisting Services

5.6%

Communication

5.2%

Liberal Arts

4.2%

Health Care Administration

3.9%

Marketing

3.9%

Accounting

3.9%

Biology

3.7%

Graphic Design

3.5%

Cosmetology

3.0%

Management

2.7%

English

2.6%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Computer Science

2.3%

Political Science

2.1%

Education

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.0%

High School Diploma

32.3%

Associate

17.9%

Certificate

5.3%

Diploma

4.9%

Masters

2.6%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Updated May 18, 2020