Never just say I worked part-time in a retail store!

Never meekly say you “worked in a shop” and sound jealous and less confident than others that seem to have had cooler, more exciting experiences. Employers are looking for your transferable skills. Don’t overlook any of the skills you’ve gained from retail work. Employers are looking for specific examples – to show you’ve got what it takes. Here are a few ideas to getting you thinking

Communication and customer service skills

  • Providing friendly and polite service and putting the customer first
  • Building rapport with colleagues and customers from a range of different backgrounds
  • Creating a welcoming atmosphere to make customers feel at ease
  • Dealing with customer complaints and queries by listening, asking questions and taking action
  • Helping customers with buying decisions
  • Business know-how and commercial awareness
  • Understanding how the business operates and how commercial decisions are made
  • Coming up with ideas to make the business operate more efficiently or more successfully.
  • Looking for ways to continually improve things

Positive attitude

  • Having a smile on your face – even when working under pressure
  • Being helpful with colleagues and customers
  •  Focusing on what you can do – instead of what you can’t do
  • Making other people smile
  • Taking initiative without being asked

Digital skills

  • Using a variety of systems e.g., electronic point of sale, stock report systems, management information systems, etc.
  • Using computer software applications e.g., Word, Excel, PPT, etc.
  • Uploading/posting material e.g., blogs, Facebook, Twitter


  • Dealing with customer complaints and queries
  • Coming up with ideas to solve typical customer problems
  • Managing queues during busy periods


  • Developing excellent working relationships
  • Taking the initiative to help others – especially during busy times
  • Contributing in team meetings
  • Working together to achieve goals
  • Supporting and trusting other colleagues


  • Working the till and giving customers the correct change
  • Helping with stock control or ordering materials in
  • Using Excel spreadsheets
  • Forecasting budgets


  • Fitting in work job with other commitments – e.g., school, exams, sports, etc.
  • Being punctual – always showing up to work on time
  • Completing task without being asked/supervised

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