Top tips to find work in Fashion Retail

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How do you get a job on the shop floor in JD Sports, Levis or Nando’s if you’ve never had any experience in that area? What are they looking for and how do you approach them?

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We recently spent a day at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford to find out. We spoke to 17 store managers (including Levis, All Saints, Curry’s and Nando’s) about how they recruit and employ their staff.

Stores will receive 5-10 CVs a day from people walking in asking for a job. However, they told us that CVs only play a small part in getting an interview. We thought we would share what we found out with you, and hopefully help you get your foot in the door.

Top tips

1. Do your homework
Employers want to know why you want to work for them and not the store next door.

  • Choose the stores and places you’d like to work
  • Search online for information about what it’s like to work there.
  • Be prepared to explain your reason for applying to a company in a covering letter or in person.

2. Ask to speak to the manager
… or the person responsible for recruiting. Don’t just hand your CV to the first person you see and walk away. They will never remember you. 

  • Explain why you are there and what you are looking for.
  • Ask what their hiring process is – some stores will only accept applications online.
  • If they accept applications in store then ask if you could talk through your CV and your experiences at a suitable time.
  • Be prepared to be interviewed on the spot. If they like you then they will want to find out more about you!

3. “First impressions are last impressions”
Store managers told us that the biggest influence on their decision to invite someone for an interview was how someone walked up and handed them a CV rather than what was on the CV itself. This means that their first impression of you really counts and is what they will remember you by. If you can make a good first impression then they will make a note on your CV.

  • Smile and be friendly remember this is a customer facing role you are applying for.
  • They are looking at your body language, how you speak to them, how you introduce yourself.
  • They’re looking for confidence, politeness and appropriate behaviour.

4. Opportunities often aren’t advertised so approach them anyway
Many stores don’t need to advertise but will accept applications from people walking in.

  • Ask about their hiring process and how often they recruit – it shows you’re interested and keen.
  • More and more larger companies are moving to online applications so take a pen and paper to copy down web addresses.

5. Apply on your own
This isn’t a social outing or a group application so you shouldn’t be walking in with your friends or family. Having a bit of support is fine and sometimes a good help, but make sure they wait for you outside.

What you can do next

If you want to present yourself better and show employers your hidden talent, then sign up to try Represent. You can register your interest here to be one of the first people to try it when we launch.