Christmas time is always near. Why not take a job in retail for a few months? This is a chance for out of work or part-time professionals to make some money, increase your people skills, and show employers that you are willing to do “whatever it takes.” If you get a commission job at an electronics store you could easily make over $3,000 in December. The following are my tips on how to get a job in retailing. I’ve done this, and it has worked every time I tried it. I’ve also had three years of experience in retail management, so I can tell you that this is what they look for when they are recruiting, or even when they aren’t. 1. SCOUTING – You should pick several stores that you would like to work at. Don’t worry about if they say they are hiring or not, they are always looking for good people, especially the bigger chain stores.
Don’t depend on the want ads. Choose some stores that you think you might enjoy working at. Now go there, but dress casual, as if you were a customer. Look at some merchandise and talk to the salesperson. Ask how they like working there and get the manager’s name. Then leave. 2. DRESS – Wear a coat and tie, men, or a dress, ladies. Yes!, even if it is a sport shoe store where they wear shorts and polos.
The way you dress says, “I am serious” and makes the first impression, which is all important in the short hiring process for retailing. 3. REFERENCES – Make a list of past employers for the past ten years. Include schooling and volunteering. Also make sure that you have at least three personal references. Have addresses and phone numbers for both professional and personal references. 4. GO GET A JOB – Go to the store in the morning, about fifteen minutes after opening on Tuesday through Thursday is ideal. Do NOT go on Friday afternoon or Saturday unless you have to. Do NOT go on Sunday or Monday ever. Most retail managers have Sunday and Monday off and their assistants do not make the decisions. These are good scouting days though. Remember the name of the manager. (If you don’t know, you didn’t do step #1 correctly.)
Ask to speak to the manager, by name. When the manager appears SMILE! and say, “Sally, hello. My name is Joe Smith and I wanted to talk to you about (part-time or full-time) (seasonal) employment here.” You should extend your hand for a handshake at this point while looking the person in the eye. The name, smile, handshake, and eye contact is much more important that the words you use here. They will probably ask you to fill out an application. If it is a big store with an out of the way corner – fill it out there. If not go to your car and fill it out. Make an interview right NOW. “Thank you. I will fill this out and then come talk to you in about fifteen minutes. Would that be alright with you?” Start momentum now. If you sell yourself to the manager, you will be able to sell products to customers.
If you can’t you won’t get the chance to find out. 5. BE ASSERTIVE and EXUDE CONFIDENCE – This is incredibly important. You have to show them that you can do the job. In retail this means one thing – confidence in dealing with people. You will inevitably be asked “What can you do for us?” or “Why should I hire YOU?”. The correct answer is simply, “Because I will sell things and make money for you.” You will also be asked, “Why do you want to work HERE?” The correct answer will again be short, but will include the following ideas. “I like working with different people who present different challenges and different needs throughout the day” and “I think it would be fun to work here.” This does not mean you want to have fun at work, but that you would find this work, or these particular products, enjoyable to sell. That’s it. You’ll get the job. Go to a few different places because you want to compare the offers you get, but they will come. Let me know what your experiences are with this method.