Flexible scheduling, employee discounts, a fun work environment–these are just some of the things retail establishments typically offer their workers, so it’s no wonder retail is one of the most popular industries around.
Whether you’re heading off to college and need some cash for supplies (including a new back-to-school wardrobe) or you just need to fund weekend activities like movie tickets and dining out with friends, it’s important to be prepared before you head to your first interview.
Here are a few tips on how to stand out in a crowd and impress retail hiring managers:
1. Highlight previous experience.
When you’re filling out your application, be sure to mention any skills you have that would be relevant to the job at hand. Retail jobs require great customer service and focus, even on Christmas Eve when shoppers are in a frenzy. Draw attention to past jobs that taught you skills like these and let the employer know why you’d be great for the position.
2. Maintain a flexible schedule.
Retail is a great place to look if you want to find student jobs. Even if you’re in school with a million and one things going on, hiring managers in the retail industry are looking for people who are available, especially on nights, weekends and holidays, when business is really booming. Let them know you’re willing to work around your schedule and make time for the job, even if you have to skip some Friday nights out with friends.
3. Show some interest in the job.
If you’re applying for a job at a clothing store, tell the employer why you’re so interested in fashion. This doesn’t mean admitting Paris Hilton to be your hero, but maybe how you love the way new clothes make you feel, or how dressing up gives you a boost of self-confidence. If you want to be a stocker in a grocery store, maybe explain that you’re very organized and grew up with your mom’s motto, “Everything has its place.” Find a job you can excel at and one that really interests you–when you have passion for what you do, others will notice it.
4. Showcase your people skills.
Retail jobs involve constant interaction with the public, so if your communication skills aren’t that great or you just don’t really like talking to people, you may be better suited for a position elsewhere. However, if you love meeting new people and have a helpful personality, let it shine through in your application and during your interview. Keep a smile on your face and let the employer see just how outgoing you really are. Also, draw attention to other part-time jobs you may have had where working with people was one of the main responsibilities.
Employees in this industry represent the products they’re selling. Whether you want a job selling jewelry or trendy shoes, you need to show pride in your appearance and look clean and put-together. The employer’s first impression of you may be your application, but if you show up to the interview looking less than presentable, it will most likely cost you the job.