A sales associate is responsible for greeting and interacting with customers within a retail location. An associate needs to have a good knowledge of the store's products and services in order to highlight and explain features and assist customers with purchasing decisions. Their duties don't stop there, as they may be responsible for a number of other tasks, such as dealing with faulty products and customer exchanges and returns, as well as with restocking shelves, taking in shipments, and cleaning the store.

Summary. We reviewed real candidate profiles to learn the best path to become a sales associate. We'll guide you through the education, experiences, and skills hiring managers look for in a sales associate.

  • Common job titles before becoming a sales associate include cashier, customer service representative, and internship.

  • Hiring managers expect a sales associate to have soft skills such as interpersonal skills, math skills, and selling skills.

  • Once you have all the required skills and experience, it takes an average of less than 1 month of job training to become a sales associate.

  • Getting a certification as a Certified Sales Professional (CSP) will help you to earn more as a sales associate.

  • To become a sales associate, you typically do not need formal education.

How to become a Sales Associate in 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Explore sales associate education
  • Step 2: Develop sales associate skills
  • Step 3: Complete relevent training/internship
  • Step 4: Research sales associate duties
  • Step 5: Prepare your resume
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Key Steps To Become a Sales Associate

  1. Explore Sales Associate Education

    If you're interested in becoming a sales associate, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 38.1% of sales associates have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.3% of sales associates have master's degrees. Even though some sales associates have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

    Sales Associate Degrees


    38.1 %

    High School Diploma

    32.5 %


    18.1 %

  2. Develop Sales Associate Skills

    It'll be a good idea to develop sales associate skills before applying for a job. Here are some skills commonly requested in sales associate job descriptions:

  3. Complete Relevent Training/Internship

    Sales associates spend an average of Less than 1 month on post-employment, on-the-job training. During this time, new sales associates learn the skills and techniques required for their specific job and employer. The chart below shows how much time it takes to gain competency as a sales associate based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and data from real sales associate resumes.

    Average Amount Of Time At Training


    Less than 1 month

    1-3 months

    3-6 months

    6-12 months

    1-2 years

  4. Research Sales Associate Duties

    When you decide to become a sales associate, It's important to know what duties and responsibilities are required for this position. Some common responsibilities are a part of most sales associate jobs. Here is a list of the main duties that define the role:

    • Supervise women's department, manage jewelry department, assist customers on finalizing purchases
    • Gain experience with credit cards, mathematics, as well as customer service.
    • Utilize forklift, order picker reach truck, electric ladder, or roll ladders to transfer merchandise to the sales floor.
    • Create Facebook page for Ohco Import/Export division.
    • Increase sales by upselling products and follow up sales calls.
    • Assist customers with the purchase of the perfect piece of jewelry

  5. Prepare Your Resume

    Finally, when you already have checked the skills and responsibilities for this role, you can start creating your resume. Everything that goes into creating a perfect resume can take hours, days, or even weeks. No worries, we created a resume builder to make this process as easy as possible with tips and examples of skills, responsibilities, and a summary.

    Choose From 10+ Customizable Sales Associate Resume templates

    Build a professional Sales Associate resume in minutes. Browse through our resume examples to identify the best way to word your resume. Then choose from 10+ resume templates to create your Sales Associate resume.

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  6. Apply For a Sales Associate Job

    With your ready resume, it's time to start searching for a new job. Consider the tips below for a successful job search:

    1. Browse job boards for relevant postings
    2. Consult your professional network
    3. Reach out to companies you're interested in working for directly
    4. Watch out for job scams

    Sales Associate Jobs

  7. How To Become a Sales Associate
    How To Become a Sales Associate Career Overview

Becoming a Sales Associate FAQs

How To Get Into Sales

To get into sales, you need to gain experience in entry-level sales roles, hone your customer service skills, and get an education. For details on each of these steps and others you can take to get into sales, use this guide:

  • Gain experience in entry-level sales roles. The retail industry has great opportunities to gain experience in sales, and this experience can help prepare you for a career in the field.

Many entry-level sales roles don't require too much education or experience. For many jobs in this field, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent in terms of education.

Also, some sales positions don't even require previous related experience. And in regards to the ones that do, you can try to gain a position underneath the sales role, and work your way up the company's ladder.

There are so many different industries to choose from. Sales jobs in retail clothing, electronics, home goods, and even automobiles, are great entry points to a career in sales where you won't need to meet much in terms of requirements for the positions.

Pick a retail industry you are interested in. Something you won't mind talking about and pitching to customers. It helps to be selling items you are interested in and will improve your work performance.

Having success in sales means you have to be able to communicate well with customers and attend to their needs. This means answering questions about products or services your company offers in a polite and engaging manner.

Remember, you can hone your customer service skills in any job that interfaces with customers, so you don't necessarily need to gain this type of experience and skills from sales positions.

  • Get an education. An education in sales can deepen your understanding of how to best make sales.

Many sales roles don't require a college degree, but gaining one can help you move up the sales ladder faster, depending on what sales industry you are working in.

Many community colleges offer classes on sales, marketing, and sales methods. You can choose to get an associate's degree or just take a few classes that will help improve your sales knowledge and techniques.

You can also educate yourself in this area by reading books and referencing online resources related to sales.

  • Use your personality traits in sales. There are many inherent personality qualities that can assist you in a career in sales.

Having an outgoing personality and good social skills is highly beneficial for sales roles. You may also have other traits that help performance in sales, such as being approachable and friendly or even just having an upbeat attitude.

A genuine smile also goes a long way in the sales field, it encourages customers to want to interact with you.

If some of these qualities don't come naturally to you, try to develop them. These are very important traits for salespeople to have.

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