Discover your career path

Sales Associate

Help your customers chose which products to buy in kiosks and stores.

What does a Sales Associate do?

You see sales associates every day—ringing up sales at the shoe store, stocking books at Barnes & Noble, and setting up displays at the clothing store. A sales associate provides service to customers, mostly at a retail level. This is a great position if you’re a student looking for your first job, if you’re seeking part-time work, if you have another job and are looking to supplement your income, or if you enjoy working with the public.

A typical day in the life of a sales associate is anything but typical. You have a vast array of responsibilities, but the most important is to take care of the customers’ needs. Yours is usually the first smiling face the customer sees upon entering the store. Your job is to pleasantly greet them, offer to answer any questions, and provide information.

Once you know what they’re looking for, you guide them to the correct area in the store and explain any product information. Whether they’re looking for a collared shirt or a kayak, you help them find the right item. That might mean looking through catalogs, searching a computer database, making phone calls to other stores, or asking other employees.

Sporting goods, clothing, shoe, automotive, kitchen supply, book, department, and office supply stores are just a fraction of the retail opportunities for a sales associate. Regardless of where you work, you need some basic computer and cash register knowledge to ring up sales and returns, process refunds, and keep track of inventory.