RETAIL JOB: TIPS ON HOW TO GET ONE

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I can't remember what it's like to be in full-time third level education and not looking for a job or actually working a job on the side. Even if you're someone who don't live that #treatyoself lifestyle, the bare fact that you are in school or college demands a bit of extra income besides considering that of your parents', for helping out on your daily expenses. 

Sure I am no hiring manager and amen't quite eligible to write and coach you "professional advice" on how to land a retail job, but I have experienced going from one retailer to the next over the past few years, so I thought I'd share especially to my fellow students my knowledge on what works - and doesn't work - when looking for a retail job. 

Well Dee, how did you get a part-time job in retail? 

Firstly, I chose to work in retail because I see myself failing (quite miserably) some place else that other students work part-time in, like waitressing; I just don't think I'm able to serve food as well as I consume it.. And, retail bc I love clothes and shoes and pretty things, obviously. Second, I took advantage of my Work Experience period in Transition Year to get a start in retail employment. Sure what employer wouldn't want to take on someone to work a couple of hours for them for as little as no charge, right? I'm not sure students as young as 14 read my blog but if that's you, and you chose to do 4th year in school, I'd definitely recommend getting work experience in retail. This experience, although usually only lasts two weeks, will be your major key to scoring a part-time job when you finish school. And then, I pretty much applied the following guidelines. (I'm not saying you have to, too, and that it's going to be an easy and short process because it won't be, but it worked for me, and I'm hoping it would help you out too!) 

When scouting for a job, be mindful of the location and the journey you're going to have to take, whether it be from home or from college, to save time and money. Picture yourself working in the actual premises - Do you fit in well? Do you feel like you could perform favourably in that environment? Make a list of all the shops you might be interested in working in, or do as I did: schedule dates to hand in resumes in the city centre, door-to-door, from one shopping mall to the next. It's a v exhausting process, sometimes even disheartening when you keep hearing "Sorry we're not taking on anyone at the moment," or "We're looking for someone who can work more flexible hours," over and over but sure if you're not as fortunate as Becky whose Da is best mates with your man who owns the shop you already get discounts in then I'm afraid you're gonna have to do the work! I much preferred going through the hassle of this process than applying online (although some stores increasingly demand strictly online applications,) because it gives you the opportunity to present yourself to the manager firsthand. But before that, let's talk about... 

THE RESUME.
This is obviously going to differ from person to person but the one thing that should remain constant is that it is kept professional and simple (no fancy fonts, use comic sans and die unemployed), and tailored to the requirements of the job you're going for (just like the way, for example, I have a separate resume written up for social media role applications). A basic layout would include: 
  • Personal Details: Name, DOB, address, contact information
  • Education History: Don't bother listing out all your school achievements, employers aren't interested in your poster-making skills.
  • Employment History: Where and when, and outline duties involved.
  • Retail Skills: Include keywords and skills from the job description e.g. if one quality they're seeking for is an "excellent team player", don't be afraid to use that on your CV along w other relevant things, but make sure you are actually able to work v well within a team; literally Google "retail skills" and put down anything you think you might be able to do, even if you haven't done it in a retail situation before, chances are you have developed skills like leadership, being responsible, and outstanding people skills through other experiences e.g. volunteering, babysitting, involvement in clubs. 
  • Personal Skills: punctual, responsible, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, keen interest in fashion, all the things that make you a deadly and sound individual, basically. 
  • Reference: Available upon request (when they ask, give them your school principal's contact details or a previous employer's.) 
Tip: Keep all of this in one front page. Like, reaaaally try.
Extra tip: Have your availability written on the reverse side of every sheet you print out.
Make sure to proof read your CV, spelling and grammar mistakes scream your lack of detail orientation. Some people attach a #selfie on the top right corner of their resume and I would greatly consider this tbh, as much as I find it totally ridiculous it goes without saying that appearance matters in the fashion/retail industry - certain stores might have a particular look they want in who they hire. I've experienced sitting through an interview with the manager holding my cv as a guide, and I can never forget the words written on the back of it staring me out in shock: "well presented pretty girl, stylish" - which brings me to my next point...

HANDING IN YOUR RESUME.
As I said, it may be a good idea to set multiple dates to hand in your CV. This is so so that you can dress appropriately. Why does that matter? It matters because when you go in to speak with the manager, your appearance is the first thing they will notice about you, and they will likely form their opinions of you based on the way you look and present yourself. It might help paint the picture for them of you fitting in the job. The way I did this was by dressing like a Topshop gal on Tuesday, an Abercrombie & Fitch babe on Wednesday, and a Brown Thomas boss on Thursday - get the idea? Impressive appearance does not rely solely on the way you dress, but the way you carry yourself as well. When handing in your resume, come in alone. Never apply in groups, leave the huns/the lads outside. Be confident, walk tall, and ask for the manager - don't just go up to the counter and leave your CV with a sales assistant, she won't be the one hiring you. While waiting to speak with the manager, keep a friendly face on, smile even at the customers around you, that would surely impress the manager (+ it doesn't kill to simply just s m i l e at the people around you even without notions, IT'S NICE TO BE NICE!) Shake the manager's hand and introduce yourself and ask if they are hiring. If they say yes, it's your chance to throw in a quick three-liner to express your interest for this position e.g. "I'd love to leave my CV with you, if I can. I have previous retail experience and they're all stated here, as well as my availability to work. I hope to hear from you. Thank you and have a good day!" First impressions do last, and if you do this right it will show the manager that you're comfortable talking to strangers (that's pretty much what your job will be) and that you're determined to meet them for an interview and get the job! Every time you go into a store to hand a CV, be eager and friendly. You can be trained how to sell, but not to be a good, pleasant person. So smile. Smile loads. 

Assuming you've dazzled them with your resume and charm, let me guide you through

THE INTERVIEW. 
Preparation is key. Practice discussing selling yourself your work experience, what skills you learned and how you can apply them for the role you're going for. Know the company, why you want to work for that company, and what skills you have that would be an asset to them. Be prepared to answer some questions specific to working in retail; situational questions may be asked e.g. "Do you have reliable transportation? How would you handle a rude customer? What languages are you able to speak? Describe a time you provided good customer service." You should also be evaluating if the company is a good fit for you too, so it's good to prepare questions to ask your potential employer e.g. "How many hours a week am I expected to work? What would a typical day be like in this position?" Having questions to ask at the end of the interview shows that you are serious about working at the company.  Know your resume inside and out. Don't tell that you've always wanted to work in retail when your CV states you are studying nursing; you might be asked why you're looking for a job, and it's okay to say that you're doing this to help pay your way through college. Don't dig yourself a hole by saying you just want to work in retail until you get a "proper job". This is a "proper job" and denying that certainly would not impress the manager - would you want to be that privileged child telling them what they do doesn't matter? No. Take this opportunity to show your personality. Be graceful and keep a good posture throughout. Be mindful of little things you might get picked on like fidgeting/tapping your feet/playing with your nails too much. Thank the interviewer for their time, and express that  you look forward to hearing from them. 

Believe in your slay & wait for the much anticipated call back. Go get 'em! #dolladollabillz 

Best of luck, 
DEE
**EDIT!
It might be helpful for me to include some sites you can browse for job listings: