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OSP Occupational Profile

OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 6421 Occupation: Retail Sales Associates
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
This profile was developed as part of an occupational standard. The NOC group to which it relates is "Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks." Retail salespersons and sales clerks sell or rent a range of goods and services in stores and other retail businesses and in wholesale businesses that sell on a retail basis to the general public. This profile was developed as part of an occupational standard. The NOC group to which it relates is "Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks." Retail salespersons and sales clerks sell or rent a range of goods and services in stores and other retail businesses and in wholesale businesses that sell on a retail basis to the general public.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Scan instructions in checklists for correct procedures to complete tasks, e.g. scan checklists for housekeeping, stocking merchandise and creating displays. (1)
  • Read logbook entries and short notes from co-workers and supervisors, e.g. read comments in daily log books about outstanding work, special orders, supply deliveries and items set aside for customer pick-up. (1)
  • Read product knowledge pamphlets, articles and newsletters provided by employers and suppliers to enhance your knowledge about product lines and enable you to answer customers' questions. (2)
  • Read brief memos and email messages from supervisors, co-workers and colleagues, e.g. read email messages from supervisors to learn about new procedures, upcoming health and safety inspections and featured sale items. (2)
  • Read descriptions and preparation instructions for items, such as gift baskets and balloon arrangements. (2)
  • Read a variety of company procedures, e.g. read procedures to learn about store opening and closing procedures, acceptable dress codes and proper conduct. (2)
  • Read brief reports about store and department performance, e.g. read safety and mystery shopper summary reports to learn about sales performance and areas for customer service and sales improvements. (2)
  • Read memos and bulletins, e.g. read memos to understand storage, labeling and packaging procedures for chemicals, food and dangerous goods. (2)
  • Read product warranties and related notices concerning limitations to manufacturer liability. (3)
  • Read employers' policy and procedure manuals, e.g. read cashier manuals to understand cash register functions, such as price reductions, and read manuals relating to operations, suppliers and computer programs. (3)
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Writing
  • Write brief notes, e.g. write comments in daily logbook to record customer comments about products, note items put aside for customers, list outstanding tasks and note low inventory. (1)
  • Write email messages to co-workers, supervisors and customers, e.g. write email to answer customer questions about products and to provide updates on back-ordered and shipped items. (2)
  • Write entries in a variety of forms, e.g. describe customer details and preferences, such as wrapping and gift basket instructions, on order forms. (2)
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Document Use
  • Use icons on computerized cash register screens to complete sales transactions. (1)
  • Enter data into label templates, e.g. complete product labels and signs by entering prices and product data. (1)
  • Scan daily and weekly job schedules to locate your work shifts. (1)
  • Review weekly flyers and featured sales items lists to learn about weekly specials and verify that prices displayed on cash registers match list prices. (1)
  • Scan brief text entries on labels and signs, e.g. locate prices, codes, model numbers, product descriptions and care instructions on product labels. (1)
  • Complete order, tracking and quality control forms, e.g. complete return and repair forms by entering dates, reasons, product codes and descriptions. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and tables, e.g. locate stock quantities, descriptions and the Universal Product Code (UPC) in supplier invoices and inventory sheets. (2)
  • Locate data in forms, e.g. locate customer delivery due dates, product quantities, codes and descriptions, payment details and special instructions in invoices and customer rental and order forms. (2)
  • Locate merchandising and arrangement data and details in diagrams that show how display areas are to be set up, including dimensions and set-up descriptions. (3)
  • Scan a variety of graphical displays, e.g. locate daily, weekly and monthly data for categories, such as customer complaints and compliments, personal sales, department sales and safety incidences. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Operate hand-held devices, such as laser radio terminals to scan bar codes, enter information using small keyboards and transmit data to online databases. (1)
  • Use computerized cash registers to scan items, enter amounts and codes, and process electronic payments, such as debits and credit card transactions. (2)
  • Use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by suppliers, employers and trainers. (2)
  • Use the Internet, e.g. search for information on suppliers' websites about products their stores carry. (2)
  • Use word processing software to write letters or prepare quotations to customers. (2)
  • Use communication software, e.g. send and receive email and attachments using intranets and the Internet. (2)
  • Use database software, e.g. enter data to update customer and supplier records and to run queries to locate customer names, addresses and product information. (2)
  • Use databases to retrieve data, such as inventory levels, product numbers, descriptions and prices. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss work tasks with co-workers, e.g. speak with co-workers to discuss job assignments and integrate tasks. (1)
  • Speak with co-workers, supervisors and supplier representatives to enquire about products with which you are unfamiliar. (2)
  • Discuss orders and share information with suppliers, e.g. interact with suppliers to order products, discuss damaged goods or errors in shipments and share information about products. (2)
  • Receive instruction from co-workers and supervisors about completing tasks, such as floor displays and packaging products. (2)
  • Participate in staff meetings, e.g. participate in staff meetings to learn about new products, receive instructions for implementing new procedures, discuss how to improve customer service and practice "up-selling" techniques. (2)
  • Chat with customers to build rapport and provide service to make sales and build repeat business. (2)
  • Discuss job assignments with supervisors, e.g. discuss product deliveries to determine where and how to create space and set up displays. (2)
  • Discuss purchases with customers, e.g. discourage customers from purchasing items that are not appropriate for them using tact and good listening and communication skills. (3)
  • Interact with customers who are unhappy with products. Ensure customer satisfaction by listening to complaints and finding appropriate solutions, such as providing refunds, exchanges and credits. (3)
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Money Math
  • Prepare customer invoices and complete cash sales. Total customers' bills for products, calculate taxes, take payments and give change. In addition, calculate discounts and currency exchange. (2)
  • Calculate the total cost for multiple items in a purchase, such as a variety of building products, by calculating quantities of items and totaling costs. (2)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure products, such as pieces of plywood, yards of material or dimensions. (1)
  • Calculate quantities, such as quantities of drapery material required to cover windows of specific dimensions, taking into account drapery fullness required by customers. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Analyze sales data in order to examine purchasing trends and make purchasing recommendations, e.g. calculate average daily, weekly and seasonal sales. Use the data to identify popular items. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times required to prepare orders to plan daily schedules and provide customers with shipping or pick-up dates. Depend on past experience with similar tasks and typical customer volumes to schedule activities and estimate delivery dates. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Retail sales associates respond to customers' enquires and orders while completing daily housekeeping and merchandising tasks. Changing priorities, such as requests for deliveries, arrival of stock and lack of space, sometimes complicates their daily job task planning. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Choose whether to reject damaged products from suppliers. Consider the extent and type of damage. (1)
  • Choose discount amounts, e.g. choose to give customers discounts for end-of-line and damaged products. Decisions must balance pleasing the customer while making the sale without too great a discount. (2)
  • Choose to make refunds and offer exchanges. Consider whether customers have original receipts and other factors, such as reason for the return, visible wear, damage and date of purchase. (2)
  • Choose which items to feature in displays. Consider display plans but also take into account amount of stock, purchasing trends and time needed to prepare displays. Review past sales statistics to identify similarities with previous best sellers and recall customer comments about displays used in the past. (2)
  • Select the order of tasks. Notes and instructions from supervisors guide you but customer volumes and order deadlines are critical factors. (2)
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Problem Solving
  • Encounter customers who are unhappy about products purchased and not satisfied with options, such as refunds, replacements and future discounts offered. Refer customers to your supervisor. (1)
  • Face product shortages, e.g. advertised specials do not arrive. Inform supervisors about the shortage. Phone suppliers to discuss delivery dates for products. Inform customers about shortages, dates when items will be available and offer rain check coupons. (1)
  • Find there are not enough supplies to complete orders. Call suppliers and other stores to locate and order items. Offer alternative products if unable to get supplies when needed. (2)
  • Observe suspicious behaviour by a customer. Either call loss-prevention personnel or stay close to shoppers to prevent thefts from taking place. (2)
  • Receive complaints about products from customers. Ask questions to understand problems. Ask how products were used, cleaned and handled. Offer replacements or discounts on future purchases and provide care instructions to prevent future problems. (2)
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Finding Information
  • Locate information about benefits, pay and overtime by reading union agreements, information pamphlets and by speaking with human resources staff and shop stewards. (2)
  • Find information about products by scanning technical books, manufacturer brochures, supplier catalogues, speaking with co-workers and supervisors and reading fact sheets and articles. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the quality of products when receiving shipments and maintaining in-store stock. Visually inspect them for signs of damage, defects and missing parts. Evaluate what to report as defective or damaged. (1)
  • Evaluate the suitability of products to stock. Consider the number of requests, volume of sales for other similar items, reviews of latest products and design trends. Use these evaluations to make product recommendations to supervisors and managers. (2)
  • Evaluate the visual appeal of merchandising displays. Use aesthetic criteria, such as colour blends, shape and form, to judge the appeal of display racks and shelves. (2)
  • Evaluate the suitability of products to make recommendations to customers. Use your technical knowledge to assess quality and how colours and textures combine to enhance each other. Use other criteria, such as customers' specifications, budget and preferences. (2)
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