Not sure if this is okay to do, because I'm not sure if it's okay to just walk-in to any store, and submit an app, regardless whether or not there's a job opening.

To clarify, there are no listed job opening in the local classified or online. Just curious if I can just walk-in and give them an application.

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    That's fine. What are they going to do? Not hire you? It doesn't hurt to try. – chh Jul 31 '13 at 17:37
  • When you say "store" - are you referring to part time work? Or more traditional full-time jobs? – enderland Jul 31 '13 at 18:01
  • @enderland Part-time work, definitely. I'm going to attend college to get some GEs out, so going full-time isn't an option – yuritsuki Jul 31 '13 at 18:06
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    Just anecdotal, but my wife did this very thing - walked into a store to leave a resume. The owner hired her on the spot. She literally started that day. – John Oglesby Jul 31 '13 at 20:14

This situation is unique because you are looking for part-time work (not a full-time job like the other answers seem to assume).

Some things to consider:

  • These types of stores may have a lot higher turnover and somewhat more flexibility in number of employees
  • If you make a good impression, a manager might decide they want to hire you even if they do not "need" someone
  • Smaller places might not have a good process for posting openings or there might be considerable delay between needs/posting (this is true of all jobs..)
  • The worst they can do is say no. You probably don't care even if you got blacklisted somehow, since it's unlikely you are aiming for a career at these stores (you won't get blacklisted anyways)

submit an app, regardless whether or not there's a job opening?

Sure. It might be considerably more beneficial to do the following, however:

  1. Walk in and ask to speak with the manager
  2. Present your situation, wanting to work part-time, going to college at XX for YY, hoping to work some to pay your way through rather than taking student loans, etc
  3. After this, ask if the manager has any openings for part-time work and what the process to apply is
  4. If the answer is "no, not right now" leave some sort of contact information and find when that manager is working so you know how to do next step (hopefully by this point in the conversation you've convinced the manager they would want to hire you if there was an opening)
  5. If "no," then after about two weeks, stop back and check-in (preferable to see the same manager, see previous step). Otherwise you can probably fill out an application right then.

edit - you are also an undergrad in software dev, you should be setting your sights a lot higher than working part-time in retail! Find something in software dev.

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The simple answer is, it doesn't hurt to try.

If the store is an independent, then it's likely that hiring decisions are made by someone in the store and they can take your resume and act on it.

If the store is part of a larger chain, they may do one of many things:

  1. Require that you leave and submit your resume and application online.
  2. Ask you to submit an application through an in-store kiosk.
  3. Ask you to take a test at an in-store kiosk. Based on your score, the store manager may talk to you.

The bottom line is that it doesn't hurt to go inside and ask.

Do keep in mind that you are making your first impression immediately, so be dressed and groomed appropriately for one of their retail associates.

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You can walk into any store and ask if they are hiring or accepting applications. It is up to them to decide what if they will accept them, and what they will do with them. If they say no, there is nothing lost by asking.

Regarding submitting a resume/CV via electronic means is trickier. It will depend on the system the company uses. Some require that you submit your application or resume to a specific position. They may or may not automatically include your information against other related openings. My experience is that most don't, unless they use a generic posting to fill low level positions as needed.

For some companies it might be possible to submit a resume or CV to HR, but you have no guarantee that it will ever be considered for a position. they might delete it after a few months because it is considered stale.

You will have better luck if you know somebody within the company. They can see postings earlier, they can see which ones have a bonus if the person that is hired was recommended by an employee. They may also be able to see the name of the hiring manager.

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I think this could depend on the specific employer. Depending on the type of position, properly phrasing your question about openings could give you your appropriate answer. Instead of asking "Are you hiring?" you could ask "Are you hiring now or taking applications for future openings?". Its a subtle difference but it is an important one.

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Looking at your profile, I notice you're in Buffalo, NY - one of the most depressed areas of the country. I also see interest in software, so you and I are one the same page.

First, in general, what you're describing is the 'flying fling at a rolling donut' (the original saying uses a different word). Retail locations have no idea what to do with resumes, unless you're a tire changer at the tire store. They will not, for instance, fax it to HR in another city assuming someone there will add it to their file. Most likely, it's next destination is the shredder.

The cardinal rule is 'know your market'. Therefore, you need to become aware of what the demand is for the various skills you're offering. In some cities such demand is nearly absent. I have family living in Melbourne, FL - pickings there are slim. However, across the state in Tampa there's loads of work.

Just a little hint - one of the most heavily trafficked 'Software/QA/DBA' sites on CL is in a city about 100 miles from where you are. However, it isn't in the US.

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  • 4
    How does this attempt to answer the question of it being appropriate or not? – Michael Grubey Aug 1 '13 at 8:55
  • @MichaelGrubey - Does the phrase 'retail locations have no idea what to do with resumes' answer the question '...I'm not sure if it's okay to just walk-in to any store, and submit an app, regardless whether or not there's a job opening...'. When looking at the context of the user, the question appears to be 'can I walk into a hamburger joint and apply for a programming position at the central headquarters?' since he is finishing software courses. One wonders why anyone would try that, unless one realizes that in that city there's little left in the way of big business. – Meredith Poor Aug 1 '13 at 12:08

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