How to write a retail CV

It is almost impossible to consider starting your retail job search without creating an accurate, up-to-date CV fit for the retail industry.


In retail recruitment, agencies don’t just attract candidates using job postings; they also actively search for themselves using the growing number of online CV databases. They are also even developing their own CV databases of potential candidates for future jobs.

The moral of the story? You cannot afford to get your CV wrong. It is the first touch point between you and a recruiter/employer meaning it must be presented well and highlight the key skills and experiences that retailers are looking for.

When creating the perfect CV, you need to consider the following points:

  • Style and layout

If you didn’t know already, retail is a labour intensive industry. Managers can spend a lot of time sourcing CVs and application forms from potential candidates in a bid to fill vacancies. It is your aim to make it easy for potential employers to place your CV in the ‘in’ pile rather than the ‘bin’ pile!

Be mindful, some recruiters like to receive CVs in a specific format so make sure to always keep an eye out when you are reading the job advertisement for any information on this.

We would always recommend creating your CV in a Microsoft word document – Some systems won’t be able to access your CV if it is in a PDF format.

  • Information to include

Personal details: name, address and telephone numbers are enough. Nationality is important in retail because employers want to be certain you are eligible to work for them. Reminder; you do not need to mention your age or include a photo – it’s not a modelling application!

Education: Older, more experienced job hunters should keep this section brief and put it in after your employment history. If you graduated from university, it’s always worth saying what, where and when you studied, as well as the qualification you got at the end of it.

However, if you’re a first or second time job hunter, you should list your education before your work experience. It is worth listing academic qualifications from GCSE onwards and any professional qualifications you have achieved – If you have any grades to be proud of, always include them in your CV.

Don’t forget to include any other professional or skills training you’ve had. Retailers are keen on staff development – yes, some qualifications won’t get you a job but it does show the recruiters that you take your personal development seriously.

Work experience: Begin to list this in reverse order with your most recent or current job first. It’s important to include a brief description of your responsibilities, this could be a list of 4/5 bullet points to make it easier for the recruiter. Recruiters will want to know what you achieved during your time here to give them an incline into what you could do for them.

It is especially important if you have experience in the retail industry to consider what transferable skills you have acquired. Don’t underestimate the power of these skills in the retail world, so be sure to highlight them!

Keywords: e-Recruiters use a range of keywords to search for a raft of CVs for potential candidates. These will be a range of words or short phrases that highlight the skills and experience they need the ideal candidate to possess. Examples of these could be customer service, team work, communication and flexibility.

For management vacancies, these keywords will vary.  They could include team building, driving profitability or influencing others.

Other skills: it is worth including other skills you’ve gained over time, such as holding a driving licence or being able to speak another language. These skills show the recruiter you are a well rounded person. Although they may not be completely relevant to the job, they may tip the balance in your favour!

Hobbies: This section is optional on your CV – they are just there to help the interviewer break the ice by discussing something a little more personal with you. Whatever you do, DO NOT make them up!

We hope this post helps you well on your way to creating an outstanding CV that will secure you an interview for your dream job in the retail sector.

Why not also have a read of our previous post on what you should know before you meet with a recruiter. Another article that may help with your job hunt is our previous post asking, is your phone costing you potential jobs?

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