November 1, 2007

The Top 5 ... Tips for job searching in the mall

Okay, so my last post was about all the glory of working in retail. And since that's been my background for quite some time, I thought I'd share some more in-depth tips about searching for a job.

And so here are my Top 5:

1) Check out the mall website to see if they list which stores are hiring. More and more mall management companies are offering this service to stores. Instead of having the typical sign in the window, stores will post their openings on the website along with the person to contact for more information and/or to apply.

2) If you prefer to visit a store and ask if they are hiring, do so during the day, preferably mid-week. If you go at night, or on the weekend, you're most likely going to be bothering the manager. Plus, they might not even be there. But if you go too early (like when they just open) the manager might be busy trying to open the store while you want to talk about getting a job. Use your best judgement and if the store has just opened, come back in about 15-20 minutes.

3) Ask the sales associate to get the manager. Don't just take their word that the store is or isn't hiring. People that already work at the store might try and deceive you so that their friends/family can get the job instead of you. And besides, when you visit the store during the day, you're more likely to find the store manager actually working out on the floor. If the sales associate maintains that the "manager is busy" tell them that the manager is expecting them - that usually alerts sales associates that you're serious about wanting to work in the store.

4) Go prepared with a resume, cover letter, and a reference list just in case. Most people think that job searching is simply asking "Are you hiring?" But it can be so much more, especially if you get a manager who really wants to hire someone and you walk in with confidence. I myself always travel with a resume and cover letter, as I've just visited a store to see if they were hiring and been offered an on-the-spot interview.

5) Don't just ask "Are you hiring?" When I worked in one particular store, people would come in, ask that question, and when the manager said that the store wasn't hiring, the people just left. Don't do that - you could be walking away from an opportunity. If the store isn't currently hiring, ask the manager when they anticipate they will need staff. Or ask the manager what types of skills and experiences an ideal candidate should have. I've done this and managers have still taken my resume and kept it on file - even calling me for an interview 4 months after my initial conversation. You can easily turn a negative (rejection) into a positive (more information or the manager remembering your name at a later date).

But if you don't feel like venturing out into the mall, check out - it's a great website with tons of job listings that are perfect for students!

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