How to Become a Retail Representative?

Are you thinking of becoming a Retail Representative or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Retail Representative, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Retail Representative job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Retail Representative

If you're looking to start a career as a retail representative or transition your career to a similar job, discover how to plan your career path. Start your journey in 5 steps:

Get your education in a retail-related field.

Most retail representatives hold a high school diploma or equivalent, though some jobs are open to people who don't have a high school diploma. Hiring managers typically don't require certifications, but on-the-job retail certifications can help your resume stand out.

Many retail representatives have college degrees. Marketing and merchandising courses will boost your retail knowledge and will look good on your resume. A college degree can be helpful for those who want to move into retail management roles.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Retail Representative?

63% of people working as a Retail Representative earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Retail Representative?

  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Interpersonal and Communication
  • Spanish Speaking
  • Strong WORK Ethic
  • Outlook
  • Bilingual
  • Written Communication
  • Powerpoint
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Retail Representative in the United States.

Gain retail work experience.

Make your application stand out by accumulating different skills. Getting hired as a cashier will give you customer service, money management, and other skills that employers look for in retail representatives. Shelf stocker positions will give you product and inventory knowledge. Look for other roles that will teach you customer service and sales techniques, like receptionist, barista, or restaurant host.

When you're starting your retail career, apply for retail representative jobs that offer on-the-job training and don't require previous experience. They're more likely to hire someone new to the field, and what you learn at your first retail job will offer experience levels that will open up more jobs to you.


Explore retail work environments.

As a retail representative, you can work in a wide variety of stores. You may be attracted to large department stores, small local stores, or specialty stores like auto parts or technology. Consider whether you would prefer earning commission, what kind of products you want to sell, and how busy of an environment you tolerate.

Try a few places to see what situation is best for you. Pay attention to benefits offered, work culture, and competitiveness among the employees as well. They don't directly affect your job duties, but they can affect your workplace enjoyment.


Learn about products.

If you want to work in a specific retail field or with a particular brand, familiarize yourself with what they sell. Get experience working in a store that sells similar products to boost your industry knowledge.

Start out working in an inventory role. You'll get valuable knowledge about how the stock room works, which will help you manage when you move into retail. Once you have a position at the company you want to work for, look into how to move internally into a retail representative position.


Continue to develop your skills.

Challenge yourself to take on new sales roles at work and continue to develop your communication and customer service skills. You might find that you want to move into management or transition to a different type of store. Keeping your skills updated and fresh will assist you as you change your retail career trajectory.

Retail Representative Career Path

Retail Representative

2 - 4Years of Experience
$40K - $60K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Retail Representative

2 - 4Years of Experience
$46K - $73K /yrMost Likely Range
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Retail Representative IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$43K - $64K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Retail Representative Career Path

Entry Level Retail Representative
Retail Representative
Assistant Manager of Retail
Senior Retail Representative
Retail Representative Manager
Retail Representative IV
Senior Manager of Retail Sales
Senior Lead Retail Representative
Director of Retail
Senior Director of Retail Sales
Vice President of Retail Sales
Executive Retail Representative

Related Careers in the Retail & Food Services Industry

Interested in other Retail & Food Services careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Retail Representative skills. Discover some of the most common Retail Representative career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Team Member
25% skills overlap
18% transitioned to Team Member