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How to Apply for Jobs at the Mall

Updated on May 16, 2013
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 8 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

Get a Job

Whether you are still in high school or a someone just looking for a career change, you could at some point in your life decide you want to work at the mall. The reasons can certainly vary depending on the person. You may need a second job to support yourself. Perhaps you simply enjoy working with customers, but you've never worked at the mall. You could also be a student and you want some extra cash. No matter the reason, working at the mall can be a rewarding experience. Also, there are always stores hiring at the mall. Having had many mall jobs myself, I would be happy to give you some tips on how to apply for jobs at the mall.

Check Out Your Options

Before going to the mall to get your applications, you may want to go on the mall's website and print out a directory. Really seriously consider which stores you like at the mall. Also, think about if you would enjoy working at those stores. Circle the stores on your list that you definitely want to walk into to get applications. You can also have a second list of "Maybes" as well.

If you don't print out a directory, but you know the mall pretty well, it is a good idea to walk on each level. You can collect applications from the stores you really like as you go along and kind of get a feel if you want to work there. Sometimes you may like a store, but if the sales associates are unpleasant when you ask for an application, you might want to cross that store off your list. Just because you like to shop there doesn't mean you'd like to work there.

Don't Take Along a Crew

When you go to pick up your applications at the mall, you want to present yourself in the best way possible. Yes, managers do sometimes notice you even when you pick up an application. If a manager is hiring, it is likely he or she will have a conversation with you when you pick up the application. Right at that moment, the manager will get a sense on how enthusiastic you are about working there and if you are outgoing. First impressions definitely count in retail since you will be dealing with customers. With that said, do not take a crew of people with you.

I've worked a lot in retail. I even briefly managed a store, although I was not in charge of directly hiring anyone. I can tell you right now, you do not make a great impression if you walk in with a group of friends and ask for an application. It makes it seem as if you are either A) not independent, or B) not serious about applying. The manager may think you've just dropped by to get the application while on a fun shopping trip with your friends.

I've also seen situations in which a group comes by and everyone wants applications. That situation is awkward, at best. Chances are, at least one or two people in the group is only asking for the applications just because that is what the group is doing. The problem is, the managers have no way of knowing who is really serious about working at the store. Therefore, everyone pretty much gets ruled out unless you show up by yourself to turn in the application.

Furthermore, and I cannot stress this enough for ANY job, do not take your mother with you. It might be OK if you ask her to stand outside the store, but it still looks pretty bad. No one wants to deal with your mom if you get hired. If you are old enough to work, you are old enough to not have your mom follow you around. A really scary addition to this advice - I've heard of adults doing this when applying or interviewing for office jobs, too. Needless to say, they never get the job. Please leave your mom at home, or at the very least, ask her to hang out in the food court.

Dress for Success

Managers and sales associates do notice how you are dressed when you apply for a job at a store. Make sure to wear something nice, especially if you are applying at a clothing store. Managers always notice what you are wearing when you apply for jobs at a clothing store. I once worked at a clothing store with a co-worker who was hired because the manager really liked her boots. If your look meshes well with the store, you might even get the job on the spot.

Even if you are not applying for a clothing store, you should still dress nicely to pick up or turn in applications. Also, if you are applying at a conservative store, take out the nose ring or put off coloring your hair pink. Unless you are applying for a job at Hot Topic or some super trendy clothing store, that look is not going to work out for you.

Filling Out the Applications

Some people will tell you to never take an application, fill it out at the mall, and then turn it in the same day. I am not sure why some people claim this is a rule; I say if you fill out the application properly, you can do it. As I said before, a few years ago I helped manage a store at the mall, and although I was not in charge of hiring, my input weighed heavily on which applicants were called in for interviews. I always felt the applicants that returned the paperwork that day showed enthusiasm. Many other managers have agreed with me on this issue. So, if you have the time and the necessary documents, by all means fill out the applications at the mall and return them that day.

As far as filling out the applications, fill out the ENTIRE application. I was once told by a manager I was hired for a position because I was the only person that actually completely filled out the application. It was just as simple as that. Even if the application is painfully long, fill it out front and back. Make sure to date it and sign it. However, I personally no longer include social security numbers on applications. If it asks for one, I write, "Will provide if interviewed." You have no idea where they are sitting your application and who will look at it. Don't take your chances.

If you have a resume, go ahead and staple it to each application. Even if you are filling out the applications at the mall, you can still do that. I have been known to collect applications, then sit in a quiet spot in the food court and piece together everything. Make sure to bring a list of references, and a list with all previous employers and employers' contact information. That way you can fully fill out every application. Make sure to bring a mini-stapler while you are at it for resumes. Don't forget pens either. Sometimes we forget the silliest, most obvious items.

You might be concerned if you do not have a lot of experience to include in the application. Don't worry too much about that. If you don't have work experience, try to include volunteer experience or even include extracurricular activities. If you don't have anything to use in the experience section, you can put "student" in that section. If there is a skill section in the application, add some skills to make you stand out. Store managers love things like:

  • Swift learner
  • Computer skills
  • People skills
  • Bilingual
  • Hard worker
  • Flexibility

You will find that some managers are still willing to give you a chance even if it is your first job. If you are having a tough time, don't forget to try some of the restaurants at the mall, too. You might think you don't want to work at the food court, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere. Some of the food court restaurants pay very well, especially Chick-fil-A. It is also awesome to get free food or seriously discounted food in addition to your paycheck, so never rule it out.

Turn Them In

Finally, after filling out all the applications and stapling resumes, it is time to turn everything in. Personally, I have found it best to have a small, plain tote bag for this entire process. If you walk into a store with 30 applications in your hand, the manager is going to think you are looking for a job anywhere and everywhere, and he or she won't be as inclined to call you back. Keep all evidence of other applications hidden in a tote bag.

While we are on the subject of the manager, always ask to speak to the manager if possible when turning in the application. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression and show your interest in the job. You can also get a quick assessment of the manager, as well. If the manager seems like a total grump, keep that in mind. You might not want to work at that store after all.

Remember, first impressions mean a lot in retail. So try to appear as enthusiastic as possible, even if this is only something you are doing because you must. Furthermore, never tell the manager that while speaking to him or her. Yes, I have personally seen people dig their own graves that way. Just act interested in that store and be as outgoing as possible. You might just be on your way to landing your first mall job!

Copyright ©2011 Jeannieinabottle


Submit a Comment
  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks! I am glad you found the hub helpful.

  • annanee profile image


    5 years ago from USA

    Your article is timeless! Same applies in the current job market.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thank you so much! I hope it is useful since this is the perfect time for job seekers to look for jobs at the mall. Many stores hire in September and October. I hope this hub helps out some folks. Thanks for the comment and the vote up.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    9 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Great hub Jeannie! I'm going to share this info because it's truly useful. Job seekers could always use good tips which you supplied! Voted UP!!!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    A mall job is a good opportunity for many folks not to starve next year. A food court position is good, but a cupcake food court position might not be such a healthy option. I worked at a cupcake cart for a few months when I was desperate and even though I got lots of free cupcakes, I was a bit overweight after the experience. Thanks for the comment and the votes!

  • ThoughtSandwiches profile image


    9 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Hi original fear was that this was a joke...then I found out it was real. Yeah!! I've read my stuff...a Mall job may be my best opportunity to not starve next year...especially if I nab that coveted food-court position... I gave you every vote I could find.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Nah... no joke with this one. I've worked at several jobs at the mall and thought a lot of college students are probably trying to get new jobs right now. I thought of writing this while eating at the mall and looking at different people filling out applications. Thanks for reading and for the comment!

  • RealHousewife profile image

    Kelly Umphenour 

    9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    This was great - I thought it might be a joke but this is actually great info for anyone who is applying for a job at the mall. And I agree - if you go for a job - leave your mom at home;) lol


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