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Sales assistant Shop assistant, sales person, store assistant, retail assistant, retail sales assistant

Sales assistants sell products and help customers.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £11,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but it will help if you:

  • are confident about selling
  • have a positive, helpful attitude
  • can get on well with a wide range of customers

To get experience, you could:

  • take a temporary job in a store at Christmas
  • take a weekend job
  • volunteer in a charity shop

Some stores, like mobile phone or DIY shops, may expect you to have good knowledge of their products before you apply.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent customer service and communication skills
  • sales skills
  • ability to handle cash and change

3. What you'll do

You might work in a supermarket, a department store, a garden centre, a small independent shop or one that's part of a chain. You'll be:

  • serving and advising customers
  • arranging goods in displays and on shelves
  • rotating and replacing stock
  • promoting extra products
  • taking cash and card payments and making sure the till balances
  • dealing with returns
  • meeting sales targets

4. Salary

Starter: £11,000 to £14,000

Experienced: £16,000 to £20,000

Highly Experienced: up to £25,000 (manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work up to 40 hours a week. This is likely to include early opening and late closing times, weekends and bank holidays. Some stores operate night shifts.

Seasonal work is common.

You may need a driving licence due to your working hours and location.

You'll spend most of your time on the shop floor, but may have some duties in the stock room.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a retail manager or departmental manager.

You could specialise in customer services or buying merchandise.

You could also set up and run your own independent shop or stall.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017