How Do I Become a Sales Clerk?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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To become a sales clerk, you will typically have to be hired by a retail store for the position of clerk. As a general rule, there are no formal training programs offered at schools for becoming a sales clerk, although having an an educational background related to the product or service that you sell can help you get hired as a sales clerk and perform well at your job. Small retail stores may expect you to learn to become a sales clerk on the job, while larger establishments may have a formal training program for all newly hired clerks.

In many retail stores, the position of sales clerk is considered an entry-level one. While different retail stores each have their own criteria for hiring sales clerks, many stores do not require applicants to have a history of working in retail sales, nor do they require that job candidates have a college degree, though some may expect you to have a high school diploma. Some high-end retail stores or shops that sell specialized products may require sales clerks to have job experience or some type of educational or training credential. For example, shops that sell very expensive clothing may hire only clerks who have a history of successfully selling high-end clothing lines. Some shops that sell cosmetics and skincare products may require their sales clerks to hold professional certification or licensure in aesthetics, makeup artistry, or cosmetology.


If you wish to become a sales clerk, your best bet is to select a store that sells products that interest you and that you would feel comfortable selling. Many retail stores experience high employee turnover, so you may be able to simply approach the store manager and ask for an application. After your application is approved and you are hired, you may be given an employee manual and started on a program of employee training. Employee training programs for sales clerks vary, but may require you to work in different departments of the store on a rotating basis, work alongside more experienced employees, or complete customer service training sessions.

In some cases, retail stores have a policy of promoting managers and executives from within the company. If you become a sales clerk for such a company, performing well on your job may provide you with opportunities for promotion into management positions. Although a promotion to management is not for everyone, it can represent a significant increase in your compensation as well as your professional standing. If your career goals include working in retail management, becoming a sales clerk can be a logical first step in that direction.


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Post 2

My daughter worked in the appliance section of a department store, and the company decided to change to a commission sales model. She still got a small base salary, but she had to earn the rest of her money through sales. Some sales clerks are hourly employees, which means their income is steadier, but it doesn't matter if they sell a five dollar clock or a $500 refrigerator.

Post 1

I have noticed lately that the position we all used to call "sales clerk" doesn't always go by that name. Some stores now prefer to use the titles "sales associate" or "team member" or "customer assistant", but it's essentially the same job. I worked at a shoe store one summer, and my official title was "footwear advisor". I guess they thought it sounded more important than "shoe store clerk".

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