Tuesday, 26 August 2014

How to get a job in retail

If you read my last post then you will know I recently got a new job. I know how hard it can be to get a job at the minute, particularly in retail where there can be close to 200 applications for every job opening, but I've picked up a few tips that may help you out.

how to get a job in retail - square graphic

Be organised

Be organised and save all of your CVs and cover letters separately. When applying for jobs you will end up with slightly different versions of CVs to suit the job you're applying for, but if you save them then it will save time when you're applying for similar jobs. With cover letters, have a template save every one you write as well so you can alter them when applying for a similar job and this will save you so much time.


If you're applying for a big company, have a look on their recruitment pages and see what they're looking for in candidates. Research what the company is doing, why they're successful, what the role you're applying for involves. Know as much as you can and it will show in your application and especially in your interviews. It will definitely impress!

What relevant experience do you have? 

If you've already worked in retail, you do have a head start. If you don't, this doesn't mean you can't get a job, everyone starts somewhere right? Think about what transferable skills you have. Played in a sports team? This shows you can work well in a team. Maybe you run a blog alongside studying? This shows you can manage your time effectively and you're organised. If you've had no customer service experience, it may be an idea to do some work experience or volunteer at a charity shop to get some customer facing experience. It could make all the difference!

Be flexible and open minded 

Working in retail you'll need to be flexible with work hours, you will almost definitely be asked to work weekends, bank holidays and depending on where you work sometimes Christmas Eve and Boxing Day too. These are the busiest times for shops and so this is what most companies will want in their employees - flexibility. Also, I just got my job even though I'm still living 3 hours away. I move back in to my student house next week, but I still have 2 8 hour shifts to work before I pick up my keys. I still accepted this job because it wouldn't wait for me, so I've booked a couple of hotels and am driving back and forth until I move. It's not ideal, but it does mean I have a job and my wages are covering the costs. So go into job hunting with an open minded attitude and you may have more luck!

Be prepared

If you get an interview, well done! You've obviously already stood out to them and this is your chance to shine, so be confident! I've had a couple of terrible interviews (don't worry - learn from your mistakes), but being as prepared as you possibly can will help loads. Practice. Get family or friends to interview you. Look up common questions and prepare answers (and by this I don't mean learn off by heart, just have a few ideas ready). Search the interview process in google (The Student Room usually have threads about application processes for many retailers). Be confident!

I hope this helps. My biggest tip would be don't give up! My first job in retail took about 30 applications before finally getting a job, my most recent job took 10 applications, but I've heard of people doing much more than that! Don't take it personally when you don't get job offers. I found this really hard to deal with at first and it can be hard to not let it knock your confidence, but keep your head up and you'll get a job sooner or later! Good luck xxxx

If there's any specific part of job hunting you would like some tips for, I would be happy to help. Let me know.

What tips have you picked up for getting a job in retail?

Hannah Lane

P.S You can check out my Pinterest board of tips for careers and jobs here

1 comment :

  1. Also, dress to impress. I've seen so many people show up to interviews in jeans and hoody because it's just a minimum wage entry level job. Regardless of how nice your application is, if you don't dress at least business casual, your application will get thrown out and you won't be getting a call back.