By Kathryn Cousseillant
First and Foremost: The Application Process:
When applying for a job in retail it is important to apply everywhere! Don’t be afraid to ask whether or not a store is hiring because you can only prosper from the question. So go grab a handful of applications and a coffee and fill them out at a local snack spot. Be sure to have all of your references’ information on hand; this includes a phone number, address, and email address for all. If you have never had a formal job before, you can use contacts from babysitting jobs or even teachers that know you well and can give an employer a good idea of who you are. Whenever possible, turn in an application to the hiring manager. That way you can create a face to face connection rather than just an application in a pile of others.
Getting an Interview:
One way to set your application apart from the stack of applications is to make a follow up call. a follow up call can be made 3-4 days after you submit the application; it shows that you are interested in the position and shows initiative. If things are going well and you are being considered for the position, you should get a call for an interview within the next 1-2 weeks.
To get everything started on a good note, show up ON TIME, if not early. The employer is taking time to consider you for their open position, so don’t waste their time by being late. Someone once said dress for the job you want; this is good advice to follow. By dressing in what you would wear working for them it’s easier to picture you working there. Approach the interview as a conversation; you need to appear calm and composed because your employer will use your interview to gauge how you would interact with customers. Be knowledgeableabout the company you are applying to. It shows interest in the company and makes them more likely to hire you. Be prepared to talk about yourself. This can sometimes be the hardest thing in an interview because you don’t want to feel like you’re boasting but you have to remember your interviewer is just trying to figure out who you are which includes asking you about your life. Lastly make sure you ask questions. That way the interview isn’t completely one sided and you can see if it is the right fit for you.
Congrats, you got the job! Now what?
So if you did well at your interview, you should get a call from your new employer asking you whether or not you’re still interested in the position. If so, then you’ve got the job! During your first few shifts you will go through a training period in which you learn the ins and out of the job including ringing, folding, sizing and how to close the store. When accepting the job in retail you have to wary about the time commitment; meaning you will get your shifts a week in advance and they aren’t necessarily consistent. Also in retail you need to be available 2-3 days during the week and at least 1 day on the weekend (meaning you might have to make some social sacrifices, but hey at least you’re getting paid!). Remember that in retail you will be dealing with people and although it doesn’t always ring true “the customer is always right” so you have to be calm and delightful in some of the most stressful of situations.
When looking for jobs in retail remember to apply everywhere, don’t get stuck on one place and feel defeated if it doesn’t work out. Look at the interview as a conversation to learn more about the company, and, if nothing else, use it as an experience to get more comfortable with the interview process. You have nothing to lose by interviewing. Be knowledgeable about the company both in the interview and when talking to customers (there’s nothing worse than talking to a sales associate that has no idea what they’re talking about, their role basically becomes useless). And as a general rule of thumb be pleasant and on time. Finally, do not to bring personal drama into the work space. But most importantly have fun; enjoy your in-store discount and MAKE SOME MONEY!