How to Get a Job in Retail: From Applications to Interviews

Having trouble breaking into the world of retail? The following five tips will change your bad luck and have you behind a register in no time.

Look the part.Before you even walk into the store, take a good look at yourself. Do you fit the store’s demographic? Does your attire resemble that of the employees’? If not, you’re seriously throwing your chances away at getting hired. Even if you’re just taking an application, it’s in your best interest to present yourself well. If possible, wear in-season clothing from their store.


Fill out everything. Make sure there are absolutely no blanks. You only have one piece of paper to sell yourself, so make use of every square inch. Most applications will have you list three places of past employment-even if this is your first job, don’t ever leave the space blank. Instead, list volunteer or extracurricular activities that show responsibility and organization. Also, select references that you’re confident will give you a positive review. Out of common courtesy, make sure you inform them that you’ve listed them as a reference on a job application.

Timing is key. To ensure your application gets attention, it is in your best interest to drop it off before a change of season. Employers usually lose their largest amount of associates during the summer to fall transition; consequently, they’ll be hiring. To beat the rush of other applicants, turn in your application about a month before the major season change-even if you aren’t fully available. This way, you won’t get lost in the endless amounts of other prospects. If a manager informs you that the store has a full staff, don’t be discouraged; give her your application and tell her you’ll be available for the holiday season.

Talk to the right person.It’s essential that you speak to the hiring manager when you’re both taking and returning an application. Not only will he be impressed that you asked to talk to him, he’ll give you the clearest answers to your questions. When you’re finished, be sure to find out when he’ll be available to take your completed application.

Prepare for an interview. If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, your chances of getting hired are pretty high. To seal the deal, dress appropriately and show up at least five minutes early. In addition, here is a list of common job interview questions:

Why do you want to work here?
What didn’t you like about your last job?
What are your weaknesses and strengths?
How do you handle stress?
Why should I hire you?

It’s also not uncommon to participate in a role-play scenario. Normally your interview manager will pose as a customer with a dilemma and have you figure out a solution. Generally these are nothing to worry about and usually just involve picking out an outfit.

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