Top Five Tips to Find a Retail Job in a Rough Economy

job seeking, retailI am very excited to be invited to participate  in the upcoming HR roundtable discussion organized by InnovateCV.com, the first one on will be streamed live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/socialjobs or  www.facebook.com/innovatecv.

Thank you Adam Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Innovate CV for sharing these great tips.
In today’s economy almost 7 applicants compete for every job opening. Contrast this with the figures from when the recession began: only 1.7 jobseekers applied for each position in December 2007.  This drastic increase in competition isn’t limited to the numbers alone—the quality of applicants is also at an all-time high. More and more successful corporate executives find themselves competing for entry-level jobs in manufacturing, food services and retail after a layoff. And at a time when the number of jobseekers in the market is at a record high, hiring has dipped to a record low. Data from 2011 revealed that hiring levels were 17 percent lower than even the lowest point of the previous economic slowdown in 2001-2002.

With such touch competition, it’s hard for jobseekers to find a job opening—let alone land the job—and retail is no longer an easy fallback option. So how can applicants get a head start on competitors and find a retail job in a rough economy?

  • Be Flexible Scheduling is a headache all too familiar to most retailers. Set yourself apart from other applicants by emphasizing your flexibility and willingness to work any schedule you are offered. Let the manager know how you’ll help in a pinch by stressing your availability, and that you are happy to pitch in whenever you are needed, even on short notice.
  • Seek Out Seasonal Opportunities More than half the retailers hiring seasonal staff typically plan to retain at least some of the new hires. Plan early to land a seasonal position, and start applying as early as possible. If you’re lucky enough to get a foot in the door, make the most of the opportunity to demonstrate why you would be an asset to the company. Showcase your exceptional attendance and reliability, and don’t miss an opportunity to help out a coworker: with the relatively high rate of turnover in retail, you never know who might be in a position to help you in the future.
  • Emphasize Experience Score some extra points by returning to a retailer you previously worked for—assuming, of course, that you left on good terms—or even applying to competitors of your former company. That way you can emphasize your expertise regarding the products, your knowledge of policy and procedure, and your familiarity with the suppliers. Your prior experience will mean you can start contributing effectively as soon as you are hired, and the company won’t need to spend much time, effort or money on your training.
  • Scout Smaller Stores The more recognizable, large-scale retailers aren’t just the first place customers think of—it’s the first stop for jobseekers too. Avoid the crowd of competitors by identifying smaller, local retailers to approach. Remain on the lookout for opportunities—when you’re walking through your local mall or strip mall, check store windows for “help wanted” signs and be ready to walk in and fill out applications on the spot. Talk to cashiers as you check out to find out if the store is accepting resumes.
  • Focus on First Impressions First impressions count. If you’re hoping to score a job in the customer-oriented retail industry, being rude to a cashier or overly pushy at the information desk won’t score you any points. If you’re job hunting in the retail industry, every trip to the store represents a possible opportunity: even your weekly grocery shop could be the first step to finding a new job. Make sure you’re friendly, respectful and dressed appropriately in all your interactions—you never know when you might have the chance to complete an application.


Finding a job opening is just the first step—you’ll still need to ace the interview to land your ideal retail job. But following these tips to get your foot in the door can help you ensure that when you sit down for the final interview you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.



Learn from the HR Experts exactly what employers are looking for in a retail candidate. Whether you’re new to retail, or looking to climb further up the ladder, don’t miss your chance to ask your questions to the recruiting experts.

Monday, April 30

7:15pm – 8:00pm EST

Watch live via:

www.facebook.com/socialjobs or


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