It's that time of year again. Retailers are hiring a large seasonal workforce in preparation for all holiday shopping season. Retail gets a bad rep for the long hours, poor wages, poor management, and rude customers, but it's one of the few industries where you can get your foot in the door and make some cash with little to no experience while pursuing your dream career.
I started in retail a few years ago at Forever21 at the largest location here in NYC. I had just been fired from my job at a doctor's office and the store had recently opened and was hiring. I figured, “Why not?” At least I could use the discount for Christmas shopping.
I applied and was hired as a sales associate.
I had no intention of being promoted or pursuing a career there. I just planned to be myself and give it my best effort. Soon my manager took note and started molding me to take on a leadership position. In less than a year I received my first promotion to supervisor and another promotion assistant manager before moving on.
Flash forward to now and I’m in charge of the seasonal hiring for an online retailer. As a seasonal team member it’s difficult to standout. From a manager’s perspective, it’s hard to keep track of over a hundred new team members. The only way you truly standout is to be exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. Here are seven tips to help you standout at your seasonal retail job:
1. Always be on time Having your team where they’re supposed to be in a timely manner is a manager’s dream. Lateness is really a nuisance and the excuses for them never seem to be good enough. Of course things happen, but your general reputation should be someone who is always on time and ready to work. Being late for shifts and not showing up for shifts without the proper documentation is also the easiest way to find yourself without a job.
2. Respect company policy & procedures Every company has its own unique set of policy and procedures. Respect them and abide by them closely. By ignoring company policy and procedures you standout for all the wrong reasons. Remember these are here for a reason, usually for your safety, and to protect your overall work experience.
3. Understand company culture Every company has a culture. For some it’s obvious; for others, it may not be. Sometimes it’s way more important to get along with another team member than to tell your manager why they shouldn’t work there. If you fit into the culture of the company, there may be a long-term opportunity for you.
4. Remember the customer This is particularly important if your retail employer is a “brick and mortar.” It’s easy to just focus on keeping your area clean and tidy for customers to shop. But, nothing is more impressive than seeing team members interact well with paying customers.
For online retailers the customer can be easily forgotten, but it’s even more imperative here to take care of customers with a high quality experience.
5. Take the time to connect with management Your first priority should be your job responsibilities but a close second is making connections. This helps set you up for your next opportunity, whether or not it’s at your current job. Managers are busy, but never too busy for team members who approach them to introduce themselves. This helps you stand out because many people will be too intimidated to do the same.
6. Get a clear understanding of what's expected of you With the rush of the holiday season things aren’t always clearly communicated. If you are unsure of what your exact duties are, ask someone who knows. You can’t be excellent if you don’t know what’s expected of you.
7. Be positive
Be nice to people. You’re responsible for the energy you bring. Own that!! The holiday season is a stressful and tense time. It is really important to work together as a team and add something positive, even if it just for the short time that you’re there.