How to Get a Job at the Mall (and How Not To)

Let's assume you are looking for a part time job at the mall or any retail store in general. Seems simple right? Generally speaking that is true, as you do not necessarily need experience or credentials for these kinds of positions. Unfortunately, in my years of managing various retail stores I have seen some pretty poor attempts. So I am going to give you a list of do's and don'ts that should help. These are not meant to be all inclusive, but are just what jumps out at me, I may be adding more as I go!

Getting and Turning in the Application

This may seem unimportant but trust me, impressions start the minute you walk in the door.


1. Dress nicely, if you come in asking for an application or dropping one off looking a mess I will remember you and it is a point against.

2. Be polite when asking for an application. You do not need to get it from a manager, but be prepared if the manager wants to speak with you. "Could I please have an application?" works well, "Y'all hirin' ?" not so much.

3. Smile and be friendly. Smile if they make you wait, the customers are the priority and when you show you understand that it goes a long way.

4. Have somewhere to put the application, a folder or something if possible, it makes you look more serious and prepared.

5. Thank whoever gives you the application, and ask if there is a best time to turn it in. Be prepared to fill it out on site, some managers require this. Bring your own pen just in case.

6. Fill out and sign the application. I sometimes received up to 30 applications a day to look through, if it is not signed, dated, or filled out completely you are not getting the job. "See resume" does not count.

7. Attach a resume with a paper clip if possible, even if it just has things you have achieved at school.

8. Keep your days and times available to work as open as possible. If you can't work weekends you are not getting the job.


1. Come in asking for an application on a busy weekend, if the employees are running around like chickens trying to help customers, or there is a long line come back another time.

2. Interrupt while an employee is helping a customer. If you can't treat customers well now, why would you later?

3. Expect me to supply you with a pen, a place to fill out the application, a clipboard etc. Some stores have a place to fill out applications; if there is one they will let you know. Most stores in the mall are not set up for this, though. If you borrow a pen from me and stand at the cash register to fill out your application, you will not get the job. The exception to this is if someone offers you a pen or a place to fill it out; this is good, it generally means they are interested.

4. Ask if we get a discount as employees and then ask for an application. It will make us question your motives and how long you will stick around if hired.

5. Insist on speaking with the manager, I have had applicants stand at the front of the store for ten minutes waiting for me to finish with a customer and then just hand me the application and leave, what a waste of time for both of us. When you go to turn it in let the staff know you would like to turn in an application and ask who you should give it to. If you do give it to a manager, introduce yourself, let her know you appreciate her time, and are excited about the prospect of working for her.

6. Ask for an application and then add it to a giant stack of applications you already have. You want to make the impression that you want to work for that specific store, not just any job you can get.

7. Fold up the application, spill stuff on it, tear it. It should look like the business document it is when you turn it in.

8. Come in with a group of friends when picking up or dropping off an application.

9. Be rude with employees in any way, even as a customer; we will remember and you will not get a job. I have actually had customers be nasty to one of my employees and 30 seconds later ask for an application: not gonna happen.

10. Call to "check on the status of my application." What does that mean? I have actually asked people and they have no clue. Instead, if you really want to follow up, do it in a meaningful way. For instance, "May I speak with the hiring manager?", and then "Hello my name is...Do you have a moment? I put in an application with your store a few days ago and I just wanted to let you know I am excited about the position and look forward to speaking with you in person" If the manager says she has no positions open or it is filled, thank her for her time and let her know you would be interested if something opens in the future. Honestly, I would probably schedule you an interview based on this alone. You are showing professionalism and confidence.

The Interview

Okay, so you managed to land an interview! Now what?


1. Dress up, and do not be afraid to ask what you should wear. Fashion stores often want to see you in the clothing they sell. Otherwise, think Sunday best.

2. Bring a fresh copy of your resume if you have one. Bring your Social Security Card and License or ID card. Many retailers hire on the spot.

3. Research the company and store. It gives you great background and talking points for the interview, plus shows you are serious.

4. Be on time!

5. Smile and be yourself, if you try too hard to fill a role in your head it will backfire.

6. Show a willingness to learn. If you do not know an answer or get stumped do not panic, ask questions to clarify.

7. Come up with some questions to ask when they give you an opportunity, which they almost always will.

8. Be specific in your answers. When possible use specific examples from previous jobs or from school.

9. Thank the interviewer for her time.


1. Be late

2. Bring a friend

3. Complain about an old job

4. Answer any question with "I just need a job" or anything about your baby daddy.

5. Get an attitude if the manager is running late helping a customer or finishing another interview.

6. Be pushy about when you will know if you got the job.

7. Act like a fool in the mall after the interview, before, or anytime in the process. It will get back to the manager.

8. Lie—about your references, your experience, anything.

Comments 7 comments

learntosail profile image

learntosail 5 years ago

Good points. Well done!

maila mecompal 4 years ago

it helps me a lot...thanks for the tips

Diana 16 months ago

ThankThanks! This reallyyy helped me!

Jessica 13 months ago

Talk about your baby daddy, ha ha. Good pointers!

...... 12 months ago

Do we need any degree or something like that

thank you

Sarah 5 months ago

Some points:

Why is it so bad to say “I need a job”? It's the truth is it not? It is also the most realistic and important reason for looking for one. So much for “be honest”.

You say be yourself then you tell us how not to be ourselves.

LJN 5 months ago

This just sounds like you ranting about things people have done, not a serious article

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