Retail jobs: Top 10 skills you need

Getting a job in the retail sector can be a gateway to an interesting and successful career. The opportunities are diverse and varied, and often very flexible in hours. But what’s the secret to landing a good retail job, and what are employers looking for?

Shoppers walking along a busy high street


Top skills for retail jobs

When you do a search for ‘retail jobs near me’ there will likely be many roles on offer – but they are usually popular with candidates and will attract many applications.

The secret to being successfully chosen at the application stage is to highlight your skills and how they match the requirements of the role. Be careful to align your experience and abilities with the job description.

There are many skills that are common to retail jobs, so make sure you focus on your strengths in these top 10 areas…

Customer service 

In retail jobs, you are the face of the retailer’s brand, so you need to create a good impression. Convey that you are a friendly, capable person who will make sure that every customer has a positive experience in the store.

Communication skills

Being a good communicator is important when you’re dealing with the public. Whether it’s giving people a friendly greeting, explaining products or offers or managing a complaint, you will need to get the message across well.

Time management

Lateness is a big no-no in retail jobs – shifts are carefully planned to meet customer demand, and everyone needs to be on time to make the store work smoothly. Bring out your punctuality in the job application.

Technology skills

All retailers use technology to manage their operations – from tills to stock management systems and online ordering. Demonstrate that you have a good understanding of technology and give examples of systems you have used in the past.


This is another critical skill for jobs in retail. Having a good sense of numbers will help you calculate prices and discounts, give change to clients, assess stock and more. Include any maths qualifications you have and previous roles that included working with figures.


Being responsible, reliable and trustworthy is crucial in getting and retaining a retail job.

Show that you can be trusted to get the job done and that you will go above and beyond your role to support your colleagues and customers.

Sales ability

Skills in sales aren’t needed for every retail role, but if you can show an understanding of how the sales process works and what customers expect, you will stand out from the crowd.


Employers love applicants that look beyond the specifics of their role for other ways to add value. Highlight ways that you have used your initiative in prior jobs or situations to make improvements or simplify a process.

Team working

In most retail jobs you’ll be part of a team, where it pays for everyone to collaborate and work together. Aim to demonstrate your team skills and appetite to support your colleagues at work.

Working under pressure

As with any job, there will be challenging times – perhaps the store is very busy, it is understaffed or a customer is unhappy. Being able to stay calm under pressure and continue to do your job effectively is very valuable in retail jobs. Aim to demonstrate your skills and experience in this area.

Exploring jobs in retail and landing a good opportunity can be the first step in a successful career. Just take a look at the retail jobs on to see the range of opportunities at different levels of seniority. The key is to get through to the interview stage and make a great impression. Check out some of our interview tips articles for ideas.

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