I'm not quite sure how to prove this aside from posting a paystub and that's not happening. But yes. This is what I do and it seems none of you know now to get a job. I am here to help.

EDIT: Provided proof to the mods since posting it publicly would cost me my job.

EDIT 2: I'm still answering! You guys are just going faster than I can reply. I didn't expect to get such a response here but I'm glad to help! Gonna try to grab something to eat so it might be slow responding for a while, but I'll be around for a while. It's my day off and I'm home alone, what better to do than reddit!

Final Edit: This seems to be slowing down now, so I'm going to go do other things with my time. Like sleep since I open in the morning! I definitely enjoyed doing this and hope I helped at least some of you guys with your job searches. For more tips, tricks, and what you're doing wrong when applying for retail jobs, you can head over to my blog (ConfessionsFromRetail) where I will be talking all about that in the next post on Thursday.

If anyone has anymore specific questions, feel free to drop them in my inbox and I'll do my best to get back to you tonight/early tomorrow!

Comments: 1419 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

GuyMeetsWall529 karma

Assistant manager here. Pro tip; if you walk in to a place with either the word 'juicy' or 'pink' on your ass you're wasting your time. Sorry folks.

11Petrichor245 karma


Offsets290 karma

I'm 19 and about to look for my first part time job ever. Does it look weird to employers that I'm 19 and have no experience whatsoever?

11Petrichor356 karma

A little, but it's not unusual. Try to fill in work experience with voluntary work if possible.

DreamweaverMirar168 karma

What about being 21 looking for my first job? >.>

11Petrichor341 karma

Try and blame it on focusing on your education? If you're not in college come up with another reason you weren't working that sounds damn good.

Shugbug198683 karma

...What if you don't have any voluntary work? As someone who lives in an area with next to nothing, there is no work here.

11Petrichor156 karma

Clubs, hobbies, something you have achieved in life.

1019CupcakeQueen221 karma

Would you recommend that I call or visit the store I applied to after I submit an application? Some people say it make you seem eager and willing, but I also do not want to seem pushy.

Also, I have some experience working as a Summer School tutor at my high school. Should I include that as job experience?

Also also, I really appreciate you doing this AMA. I could really use some advice about this type of thing.

11Petrichor258 karma

Yes. Chances are you'll get a stock answer when you call, mostly because the person is super busy, but we take note of your name and when going through applications remember that you were actually interested in the status of the application.

And that is definitely work experience. Put it on there and if the manager has questions, they will ask you.

You're welcome! Glad I can help! ____^

UndeadBread10 karma

When is a good time to finally give up, if ever? I called one place every week for a few months and eventually gave up after being discouraged by a couple of friends of mine being hired within a week of applying.

11Petrichor16 karma

2-3 weeks. If you don't have an interview by then, you ain't getting one.

Jcm5185 karma

What's your best advice for someone applying for a job that has never had a job before?

11Petrichor316 karma

Explain why you haven't had a job, and how you've filled your time otherwise in that time. Shows you're not just a lazy spoiled kid.

jebediahjustice257 karma

What if we are though....

11Petrichor284 karma

Better join a sport or a club then. Or just continue to use your parents money honestly. Retail does kind of suck.

jebediahjustice103 karma

Well I'm not exactly spoiled, just a little lazy. And I was under the impression that jobs don't really care if you played football in high school.

11Petrichor217 karma

We don't but we won't even look twice at an empty app.

tehfinalfallen65 karma

Would teaching myself a foreign language look good?

Ich spreche Deutsch.

11Petrichor99 karma

Unless it's a useful language where you are it would probably just be a wash.

atomic_bonanza147 karma

What is the most ridiculous thing someone has worn to an interview with you? I just got back from one where this girl walked in wearing a tube dress that just barely covered her ass.

11Petrichor194 karma

I work in an alternative mall store, you know the one... Someone showed up (A lady who was about 35) in a pants suit. Clearly she had no idea where she was applying/interviewing.

THECapedCaper303 karma

Clearly this is a hot topic for discussion.

Or should we ask Spencer?

11Petrichor128 karma

I am not at liberty to answer that. >> <<

waterpanda67 karma

that store used to be pretty cool.. but then I remember a few years back all the stores got revamped so that they were organized differently/better lit/now carry Justin Bieber regalia instead of combat boots old

11Petrichor141 karma

sneaky talk: There's promise of it going back to it's roots a bit. Don't lose faith just yet.

Anthonyy15128 karma

Does appearance (i.e. height, weight, attractiveness) affect my chances?

11Petrichor199 karma

At my company? Not a whole lot. As long as you are hygienic and presentable (clean, nice clothes with your hair at least combed into place) we really don't look to much past that when it comes to physical appearance.

braindeadization62 karma


11Petrichor199 karma

Think first date attire. Nice pants but not overly dressy pants (khakis or cargo is okay), not wrinkled, pants NOT sagging, and a button up. And for the love of god NOT jeans.

tightcaboose80 karma

What if jeans are my nices pants.. Like I have shorts pjs and jeans... whenever I go looking/aplying for jobs I will wear my nicest pair and a button up shirt. should I buy some nicer pants?

Edit: Okay guys I get it this is NSFW. Thanks for all the advice though.

11Petrichor203 karma

Most certainly yes.

tophOCMC10 karma

I work in the restaurant business. Jeans are ok. I wear em to work everyday. Retail is different as you won't be wearing jeans ever. Just pointing out a difference for anyone not seeking retail.

I travel seasonally to do what I do. And it's petty lucrative.

11Petrichor36 karma

I wear jeans daily. Just not for an interview.

Niblicks52 karma

I own khakis and a button up for my job now in retail. If I were to walk into your store looking for a job with the appropriate attire, some experience and neat hair but I have visible tattoos, would you hire me? As some added information none of my tattoos (in my opinion) are offensive, I have a skull on the back of my hand, an asterisk on my wrist and two crows and a rose on my neck.

11Petrichor125 karma

My company allows visible tattoos. So yeah no problem. Any other company? You've shot yourself in the foot twice. Possibly three times. The hand is a definite no for most places as well as the neck and the wrist is iffy. I personally have over 30 tattoos but not one of them is visible in "interview" attire. And unfortunately we are discriminated against for tattoos when it comes to getting a job.

basicallydrunk247116 karma

Do i need to be sober or is it enough just to brush your teeth to cover up the booze breath?

11Petrichor90 karma

Sober. Haha

SausageMcMuffin106 karma

Do I just show up with a pulse? It's doesn't seem like you need much qualification to get a summer retail job.

11Petrichor106 karma

No. Definitely not.

lordjedediah97 karma

Do you call applicants who came to interview and didn't get the job? It sucks to be told "We/ll call you and let you know" and never get a call.

11Petrichor122 karma

We do! But I'm pretty sure that's rare.

draw4kicks97 karma

What's the most common thing you see people do wrong when they ask for a job?

11Petrichor211 karma

Come in to my store in the wrong clothes. I mean girls with pajama bottoms and flipflops, with that missy "I just rolled out of bed" bun wrong clothes.

Shanman15063 karma

Argh, I just rode my bike from place to place yesterday. I figured I'd get some of my personal fitness goals done while picking up applications. Not that I had any interviews, but did I just screw my chances at the 6 or so locations that had physical applications which I took home? And... I'm guessing I shouldn't bike back to the places to drop off the apps, should I?

11Petrichor106 karma

If you were all sweaty and gross you probably did. Next time, take a polo to throw over a tank you bike around in (so you don't get it sweaty) and fix your hair/pants/whatever before going in.

Fluffiestjarl87 karma

Do you routinely contact supervisors from a past job?

11Petrichor110 karma

Yes we do.

tophOCMC37 karma

Most companies have a policy on this. Where I work in Florida we can only confirm previous employment. Maybe you could share how that works in retail.

11Petrichor58 karma

We call some but not always all previous employers and references. References we can ask about character, employers we can ask about job performance. Did they show up for their shifts? Dependable? Nothing personal however.

Michael65976 karma

I just recently graduated college and have been applying to a lot of places. With retail jobs having an extremely high turnover would you hire someone with a degree over someone without a degree? It seems to me that it might be better to just leave the degree off the resume when applying for a retail job.

11Petrichor104 karma

I have two degrees. And I still work in retail because I really like doing it. Our high turn over comes from shitty employees. People who don't actually work when they're at work, miss their shifts, and show up late. If you managed to obtain a degree, chances are you can make change without too much trouble and are not afraid of public speaking in some capacity. And those are pretty key parts of retail.

unnoun74 karma

Would you avoid hiring a person with scars that are obviously from self-harm (even if the person showed no other indication of mental health issues)? I would cover my arms anyway, because I wouldn't want to risk it, but I am very curious.

11Petrichor309 karma

No. Mine are very faded now but I can still see them. I might watch over you like a momma hen as long as you work for me because of genuine concern, but I know how sometimes the smallest things can save you.

juuuulia74 karma

Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro a few months ago and met a few guys who were CEO's and they said that it's a great thing to put on one's resume (shows determination, well-roundedness etc.). Do you agree? Where would I put it on a resume?

11Petrichor105 karma

You could probably put it under a heading of "Personal" where you would list other accolades not relating to that specific job.

bigbulk9458 karma

What are the best references to have when applying for a job?

11Petrichor88 karma

Prior supervisors from your most recent jobs with current contact information. These days that's super easy to keep on top of with Facebook and Linkedin. Teachers/professors, mentors, even people who were in charge of volunteer work you did are good substitutes if you have little to no work history.

2211mg38 karma

What happens if you don't have contact with previous employers? I've only had one job before a few years ago and the store has since shut down. What's the normal reaction to not being able to provide a reference for previous experience? And how would you go about getting round this?

11Petrichor38 karma

Instead of number for the supervisor you can say "Went out of business". And try to explain that when you drop off the app.


You don't have to call us names, that's just mean.

11Petrichor312 karma

Fine. I will just call you POOPING_BUTT_FACE then.

knotlyn53 karma

For the love of God people, do not ask for an application when you have five other applications in your hand! Don't mean to rain on your AMA parade, but that is my biggest pet peeve. I manage a store at an outdoor mall and we get that all the time. When you ask for an app with five others in your hand from other stores, it makes it look like you don't care where you work. Why would I give someone a job who doesn't care if they work at my store, when I get twenty apps a day from people who actually have a passion and desire to work here! Ladies, put those apps in your purse; and gents, put those apps in your pocket or bring a backpack.

11Petrichor31 karma

Preaching to the choir!!!

t-brex43 karma

As a college student home for the summer, I've applied to many, MANY places for a summer job with no luck. I have a very good job at college so I'm not unemployable. How can I find a place that will hire a summer employee like myself?

11Petrichor42 karma

Are you letting them know you're leaving in a few months?

Shortdude161934 karma

Here's my question...should we not tell them we are going back to school in august? What do we say when that ask do you go to college?

11Petrichor36 karma

Depends on how far your school is from where you are in the summer. If it's close enough to commute to your parents on weekends and keep your job, then tell them you're willing to do that. If not, is it a possibility to stay closer to the college during summer?

Shortdude161926 karma

I go to school in a different state, so no. I told the managers that i would be willing to take a LOA and come back and work during breaks, and that it is my last year of school. Also, my hours are very flexible and i am immediately available.

11Petrichor40 karma

That is honestly the best you can do I think. Some of it comes down to the hiring managers more than you, and this is one of those things.

Leonard-neumann43 karma

Do I need a suit to apply for a grocery store?

11Petrichor93 karma

No. But you need better than jeans.

GamingHarry35 karma

As someone who only owns jeans would it be ok if I wore a smart shirt and freshly washed jeans or should I really invest in proper leg wear? If so what's the best looking without going full suit?

11Petrichor78 karma

Get better pants. Khakis or cargo pants will do, even regular black slacks that aren't dresspants. And then a button up and decent shoes. Not your muddy sneakers. Think first date attire.

spideylol9 karma

Decent shoes? i mostly have jogging shoes and black shoes, which should i go for?

Also for the pants. Are black jeans ok?

11Petrichor41 karma


If you have nothing else and can not get to even a thrift shop for some second hand good pants, then they better be neat, clean, not ripped or stained.

seclouth42 karma

I have a cold and an interview soon, should I still go or ask for a another date?

11Petrichor71 karma

Depends on how sick you are. If you can fix it with dayquil, don't reschedule. If you are vomiting sick, call and explain and see if you can push it back a day or two. But that is a last option.

Ziinka45 karma

I've always wondered, if I'm sick do I still shake their hand or just inform them that they probably don't want to?

11Petrichor77 karma

The latter.

daconley1232 karma

Are there any interview questions that may seem like no brainers but people continuously screw up?

11Petrichor60 karma

All of them. People either get so nervous searching for the perfect answer that they can't think straight OR they have rehearsed "perfect" answers that we know are bullshit and stop them from getting the job. Don't be so nervous, we're not trying to back you into a corner, just trying to feel out if you're a good fit for our team.

Solareclipsed28 karma

If I have no previous experience, how should I convince an employer to hire me even though they ask for someone with it?

11Petrichor52 karma

Sometimes you can't. And that's when you work in retail and get a job with awesome people like me.

lavitzzz26 karma

Do you look at an applicants Facebook, and things of that nature?

11Petrichor37 karma

At this job we do not. But at my last job we most certainly did.

Atreyu199514 karma

What specific things did you look for on Facebook?

  • Their attitude
  • How frequently they post incase they might be distracted while working
  • Things that you might find in the 'About' section
  • Other (please elaborate)

11Petrichor43 karma

Really just them in general. It was a small store for computer repair and I was the sales girl/receptionist/small time tech. The only other person there was my boss and we were expanding. We made sure their resume sort of lined up to the about section (location, school, etc.), did they bitch about work a lot, were they overly political in either direction, did they come off as a creep/asshole. I was going to be left alone with this person a lot and my boss was very much looking out for my well being.

GanasbinTagap21 karma

What should I say whenever they ask where do I see myself in 5 years?

11Petrichor35 karma

You should be honest. Do you see yourself still at an entry level position? Why? In the field you are studying as a professional? Do you intend on working through school with this company at least?

ATalkingCat20 karma

Several questions:

As a girl, what should I wear? Knee length skirt? Long skirt? Dressy pants? Or what?

Does having a GED (which is what I have) vs having a diploma matter to an employer?

Does the fact I'm going to college make a difference?

What are the most common interview questions and the best answers for said questions?

Should I apply online or at the store?

Is it possible to be too nice/friendly/eager/optimistic?

Thanks in advance!

11Petrichor12 karma

Dressy pants but not dress pants, know what I mean?

Not really when it comes to retail.

If it affects you being available when we need you (ie nights and weekends) then it does matter. Otherwise no.

We ask different questions of everyone. Really what we're looking for are honest answers and to get a feel for your personality. If you don't fit personality-wise with our current team, doesn't matter how qualified you are we won't sacrifice our current happy employees for a new one and have everyone be miserable.

wertnix19 karma

I'm 26 and have been unemployed for 4 years due to a bad combo of laziness and depression. I had 4 jobs 2 internships before the end of 2009. Since then nothing. I'm completely stuck and clueless on how to recover. When out on job hunts I get asked why I haven't worked in 4 years. What am I supposed to say?

11Petrichor24 karma

Depression. It's a lot more common than you think and just explain how crippling it was for you.

Nvjds16 karma

I'm turning 14 in 2 weeks, and I'm thinking about getting a job for summer (my family isnt nearly poor but I have like no money at all). Any tips on how to get a job? Preferably one that doesnt steal the job of someone who needs it?

11Petrichor119 karma

My company doesn't hire under 16. And I feel like a lot of places don't. You probably could find work as a bagger at a grocery store, or babysitting, but all states have a LOT of laws about minors working, and generally places don't allow minors to run a register so the jobs are limited. Also be prepared for not a lot of hours since we can only give minors limited hours.

Also, get off reddit now. You're still young.

ChisaiKyoku3 karma

Just out of curiousity, why couldn't responsible 14 year olds apply?

Is there a particular reason for it to be illegal?

11Petrichor27 karma

Labor laws. And 14 year olds can't run a register so they can't cover breaks and are therefore pretty useless in my line of work, no offense.

ChisaiKyoku4 karma

I'm actually not a 14 year old. Like I said, merely curious.

Why are they unable to run a cash register? They cannot be trained?

(I don't mean to sound rude btw :) )

11Petrichor16 karma

Company policy. You really can't expect your average 14 year old to be capable of keeping track of over $1500 cash in a day with short change artists and deal with the assholes we all deal with. I get yelled at more than 10 times a day for bullshit I have nothing to do with. I'd feel like I should be charged with child abuse if I let a kid get on register and deal with that.

jewzeejew15 karma

So, what if you're 19 and only ever worked at a summer camp?

11Petrichor37 karma

Put it down!

IbrahimT1314 karma

Who looks at resum├ęs, and what parts are the most important? I'm 17 and I haven't had a job before, so this is all new to me.

11Petrichor20 karma

You probably won't need an actual resume until you graduate college and have had a few jobs/an internship. That being said, the hiring manager(s) read it and it is ALL important.

littlekidlover201312 karma

are contacts actually contacted for one of these bs jobs?

11Petrichor16 karma

Yes. Not always all of them, and sometimes randomly, but yes.

rebelfan9111 karma

Not to detract from any of OPs advice but I myself have been a manager in a retail store in a mall for the better part of 5 years. Lots of what OP says rings true, and I agree that many people don't know how to properly apply/interview for a job. But I wi say that most of what OP is saying is related to his line of work. Applying/getting a job in a mall setting is WAAAAYYY different than a corporate office job for example. But like I said all of OPs info is pretty spot on. But this isn't exactly blanket advice for all professions.

Be clean, write neatly on the application, wear decent looking clothes, act genuinely interested in the job, ask questions...those are just a few things that I would suggest. Be friendly and cooperative and things will move along much smoother

11Petrichor22 karma

Yeah that's why I put summer job in the title. Firgured it would imply I'm not talking about the corporate world. Haha

Faith3210 karma

Would you consider someone who already has a job? I work part-time (weekends only) and they won't give me anymore shifts, so I need a second job to survive this summer. If I go in and tell them I can't work on weekends because of my other job, does that make me undesirable in the eyes of an employer? And how should I go about mentioning my other job to the interviewer?

11Petrichor19 karma

We do hire people with other jobs and have one employee that got a second job. If you can make your availability work with both, we will work with you. Be upfront about your first job and what you are willing to do for your second to make it work.

BadGramarGuy9 karma


11Petrichor27 karma

Explain? Under the table so to speak? Or selling Meth?

BadGramarGuy11 karma


11Petrichor28 karma

Not illegal. It i your responsibility to report your full wages to the IRS and pay into your taxes and that is between you and the IRS, but can be totally listed on a job app.

Shortdude16197 karma

I posted this as a response to an answers, but ill post it here again:

Should we tell and employer that we go to university, and will be leaving at the end of august? Do we not tell them we go to school at all? What if they ask?

Thanks for the ama!

11Petrichor8 karma

Replied to you over there!

aliceINchainz6 karma

I've never had a job before, what can I put on my resume or say at an interview that would make up for that? I'm a fast learner, but I have no experience. Is it required that I speak a second language? This may sound weird, but would it be weird if I only wear long sleeves to work? Is it crazy to ask for weekends off?

11Petrichor20 karma

If you want all weekends off you will get zero hours. Trust me.

And if you're not comfortable showing your arms, don't. they can't fire you for that unless you were like a stripper or something.

shifrit3 karma

What if your reasons are virtually unavoidable, such as daycare? This is something I've been struggling with for awhile now.

11Petrichor6 karma

Then retail is not the field for you. Our busy times are weekends and that's when we schedule sales associates. We often only schedule them then because that is when we need coverage and have a set amount of available hours for the week. If you can't work then, we have nothing for you. Try finding receptionist work in a local 9-5 office.

11Petrichor8 karma

Sorry, hit submit on accident. Like I've said before, use volunteer work and extra curricular activities to fill in that space if you can. Show you have work ethic and dedication.

braindeadization5 karma


11Petrichor14 karma

I'd love to say I would, but I'd be lying. Not for my particular store. If I had a position that I could put you in I definitely would. I mean, if you had a KICK ASS application and personality I'd set up an interview and see where you're at but that's really tough to give an answer on.

Starklet4 karma

Advice on applying to jobs out of town where I can't visit? Also if they are huge companies and probably get a lot of resumes a day, how can I make my application stand out?

11Petrichor5 karma

Highlight what puts you ahead of the rest. Even if it's a small thing as long as it relates to the job. Make it memorable. Catchy.

kamikaze214 karma

Is there a specific format of resume that you like? I see many different kinds and I am unsure of how a professional resume should look.

11Petrichor7 karma

Look up sample resumes for your field. One of my degrees is in graphic design so my actual resume would not get me any standard job, but it lands me plenty of freelance because it shows my skills. For office/retail I want to see clean and to the point resumes that highlight your skills and goals.

diepthinking3 karma

What is a common mistake that interviewees often make?

11Petrichor8 karma

Being dicks. I gave a girl an app cuz I thought she'd be a great fit for our open management position and set her up interviews. When it comes time to interview with our DM, the first words out of her mouth were "What are you gonna pay me because Competitor offered me X". She then proceeded to LIE about every employee in our store, claim no one ever talked to her when she went in, etc. and then threw my DMs previous company under the bus for 5 minutes. I was mortified and apologized profusely for giving her an app cuz I had no idea she was such an asshole.

cooking_with_malice3 karma

Part 1:If I were to have an interview set at 1PM and the person interviewing me is running late how long should I wait for them? I know I should show up 10-15min early maximum but i'm not sure how late i should stay 10min? 15? a hour? I've heard different things from different people but nothing concrete.

Part 2: Also assuming that after waiting the appropriate amount of time I do leave should I go up to his/her assistant and say something along the lines of "Hi my name is Cooking_with_malice and I was here for a 1PM interview however it would appear that Mr./Miss.X is running late could you please have them call me to re-schedule?" or should I just leave let the secretary do their work and call them back in a day or two?

11Petrichor6 karma

Give them 15 minutes. Sometimes emergencies happen. Sometimes it's out of their control. After that 15, go back to the receptionist and say something along the lines of you are willing to wait, but also to come back at a later time/date if that would be better for Mr./Miss X. Then follow whatever the secretary suggests.

Cinual3 karma

Well, i have a bench warrant for throwing a snowball, can't get a job to travel back to take care of it, cant take care of it cause i cant get a job.
Whats in your jurisdiction to say you wont hire me for my legal troubles even though theyre as mundane as almost dying because some jackasses decided to try and beat this jack ass up for hitting their truck with a snowball.

11Petrichor22 karma

I have no idea what your asking but if that is how you form sentences when you talk to people, your legal issues are not the reason you're unemployed.

zeebas3 karma

I'm 20 and the only work experience I have is the past three summers being an assistant/secretary at my family's law firm. I work extremely hard at that job and feel the work required is much harder than retail but have not been able to find another job because all I have on my resume is a family name and have no good references since my father is my boss. How do I get employers to look past the family name and take my experience seriously?

11Petrichor8 karma

Make an EXCELLENT first impression when asking for an app and handing it in. Also explain WHY you're looking to leave that job and not follow your family's footsteps. The employers may feel they're preventing you from a better career path by hiring you when you have it pretty good right now.

DDownageXD1 karma

Ok you're telling us what the wrong clothes are, but what are the correct clothes...?

11Petrichor2 karma

As I've said several times, think "first date" attire. A position higher than you are interviewing for. And try to match the style of the store you are applying at.