How to Find a Job in Retail

How to Find a Job in Retail

As the labor shortage continues, retail positions are in abundance. The good thing is, people will never stop wanting and needing to buy products. The other good thing is, the lack of applicants means employers are more willing to hire under-experienced and entry-level workers. Employers are desperate to fill vacancies.

This is the perfect time for someone interested in gaining experience in retail, or for those who have had their eye on a particular company or brand. Here are five important steps to finding a job in retail.

  1. Do your online research

    If you already have an idea of the company you'd like to work for, have a look at their website. Find their careers page and see if they have any job vacancies. Follow the brands you're interested in on social media. If you wear their product, tag them in your posts. When they post about their teams or company culture, leave comments and reactions.

    If you don't know where you'd like to work, check job boards such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Simply search "retail", "sales position", or "customer service". Filter your search by location, full-time or part-time, and type of retail position. You can even search hashtags on social media for job listings, such as #jobopening or #jobvacancy.

  2. Present yourself in person

    Even if a company hasn't listed a vacancy, it's worth taking physical copies of your resumes to any retail store that catches your eye and simply enquiring. This is a great way to make a first impression as it demonstrates eagerness and commitment. Ensure that you're presentable and keep the conversation confident and swift.

    Don't go in on a Saturday when the store is pumping with customers. First of all, the interruption won't be appreciated, and secondly, your resume will probably be lost in the chaos. Choose a quiet weekday morning and ask to speak to the manager. Even if there are no positions available, you will leave a good impression and may get a phone call when the time comes.

  3. Tidy up your resume

    Ensure your resume is updated and has all important contact details, education, employment history, and soft and hard skills. If you haven't had a job or worked in retail before, organize your resume by skills. Employers will expect to see things like:

    • Communication
    • Team-player attitude
    • Multi-tasking
    • Patience
    • Organization and tidiness

    Find keywords in the job description. What are they looking for specifically? Do they stress high conversion rates? Do they care more about the company's vision and passion for fashion? Remember, your resume will probably go through an ATS (application tracking system) screening for specific keywords. These will be repeated or bolded in the listing. Use these exact words on your resume alongside the aforementioned skills.

  4. Tailor a cover letter

    If you're targeting a specific company, a cover letter is the best way to showcase your brand knowledge and how you'd fit in. Use the letter to demonstrate your passion for the company. For example, if they sell vegan, cruelty-free makeup products, use your cover letter to explain how that aligns with your values.

    e.g., "I appreciate that you offer a product on the market that aligns with my vegan lifestyle. I would love the opportunity to convince others who haven't made this lifestyle choice yet."

    If you're less familiar with the company, research their website and again, use the keywords that they mention in your cover letter. Find the connection between their company vision and your talents, hobbies, personal values, and experience.

    A cover letter should be no longer than one A4 page, and it should not be a repeat of your resume. Use it as an opportunity to give the employer a better picture of how you'd fit into their company culture.

  5. Prepare for the interview

    If you are invited for an interview, don't come unprepared. Practice some questions the interviewer could ask you in the mirror, or with a friend. Some obvious questions could include:

    • How do you work in a team?
    • How would you handle a customer that's upset about a faulty product?
    • Describe a positive interaction you had with a customer in the past?

    You should also be prepared for less obvious questions:

    • How would you sell this product to a customer?
    • What upselling technique would you use when someone is only looking for a specific item?
    • What inspires you about our company?

    Your appearance matters, too. Obviously, you need to be dressed appropriately and tidy. But you should also consider where you're interviewing. If it's a clothing brand, wear one of their items. Dress to the style of the brand. If it's a streetwear brand, don't show up in a fancy shirt and skirt.

    Be prepared for the part of the interview where you'll be doing the talking. Interviewers usually expect some questions from you, too.

    • What is a typical day like in this position?
    • Does the company offer training for new recruits to become more familiar with the brand?
    • What is the team dynamic like in the store?

    Before you leave, ask for the interviewer's contact details if you don't already have them. Send a thank you message post-interview and then follow up after a week if you haven't heard back.

In Summary

Sometimes there is a stigma behind retail work. The job isn't as easy as people often expect it to be. A manager doesn't want you to think of the position as any less professional or serious than an office job, for example. On the other hand, if it is your stepping stone into the workforce, that's okay. Have a genuine interest in the position and respect the opportunity. If you follow these steps, you could land a job in retail in no time.

Written by Career Specialist Jan 20, 2023
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