April 29, 2011

This week I began my search for a summer job. I knew I wanted to continue with fashion so I chose to apply for jobs at my local clothing stores. I didn’t know who was hiring but I thought it best to just ask for an application from as many shops as possible, so I began on one side of town and went from there. Seeing as I’ve never applied for a real job before I had no clue what to expect. First, I was worried about how to dress because clothing stores often want you to be dressed in the latest fashions and with particular ‘look’ of the store. So no black slacks and a silk blouse, but then again I didn’t want to come off like I didn’t care about how a looked; there is a thin line that I had to make sure I stayed on. Second was that I didn’t know how to ask for any application. There were probably going to be lines so should I wait in them like a customer and then just spring the question? Or go around on the side and wait to talk to someone?
I decided on a chic sweater and dark wash jeans--cute and updated but still refined and professional. I don’t know why, however, I fretted over it so much considering I was just getting an application. Anyways, my mom suggested I just ask anyone working on the side near the counter for the application but that looking confident was really the most important thing. Feeling like I was ready to go, I walked into the first store.
There was no one inside the store. Seriously no one at all. Considering it was in the afternoon on a Tuesday, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised. So I started to browse like a customer hoping someone in some back office would notice me and come out. It worked because right away someone came out and greeted me. I asked if they were hiring for the summer and they excitedly exclaimed ‘yes’ and handed me an application. I thanked them and walked out. Wait, whoa, that was so easy! And that woman was so nice and looked like she might actually want to work with me! I walked into the next store confident and ready for the day and the woman at the front desk handed me an application and I was once again on my way. If only getting the job was as easy as getting the application… As I entered the last store, I went and ask the woman behind the counter for an application same as I had done before. As I ask, I got an unfamiliar sneer from the woman along with the question “and how much retail experience do you have?” Well, I really didn’t have any at all so I replied with “None. But I am a quick learner and really good with people”. Apparently that’s not good enough because she was quick to fire back with “Ya, I’m just going to save you some time and us some paper and you can come back after you get some experience.” Great way to end the day, huh?
Well, I had already collected 5 applications, so I decided not to worry about the last incident and get to work filling the applications out. Job applications really make you feel unqualified for anything. Considering I couldn’t even check that I was a high school graduate, I felt a little overwhelmed within the first couple of lines of the application. My past jobs included working with Danielle (which was really the only thing I had going for me) and then I put ‘child care services’, i.e. babysitting. The most surprising thing about the applications were the opinion questions they asked. Of course there were the ‘why do you want to work for our store?’ and ‘how will you provide quality service to customers’ but then I ran into several ‘who are your favorite musical artists’, ‘describe your favorite outfit’, and ‘who is your favorite celebrity and why? As far as the musical questions I knew I had to stay completely true to myself whether they agreed with my tastes or not, but concerning outfits and celebrities? My favorite outfit changes with my mood and I really have no interest in celebrities so what was I supposed to write about?! So I took to the Internet (once again). My favorite outfit was now the one on the cover of that stores most recent catalog and my favorite celebrity was the one recently spotted wearing their clothing. I took a little time getting to know these outfits and celebrities just in case I was asked in an interview, but all-in-all I think my answers will give me an extra little push when it comes down to it.
            On Thursday I returned all the applications but only one said they would call me to set up an interview. I really have no clue what will happen or if anyone will even want me with my lack of experience in retail. I really believe that my personality will be my biggest asset in the end, so I have to make sure that is seen in my interviews. For now I am jobless, but I will continue to collect and submit applications and maybe my professional career will begin this summer!

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