Target, Macy's, Walmart: More Than Four Applicants for Every Holiday Opening

Great news, right: retailers are adding 550,000 to 650,00 jobs this holiday season. The news you need to know, though, is that for each of those openings, there are about 4.7 applicants, estimates Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute.

So, how do you make sure you are the one among those 4.7 folks who gets the job at Target, Macy's or Walmart? Here is the short version of guerrilla job hunting:

1. Make your resume and cover letter easy for employers to speed read.

Remember, no one can afford to pay too much attention. List or highlight only those skills and experience which relate to the specific job you're applying for. The resume serves the purpose of showing employers you're 1) qualified and 2) the best qualified. If you're applying for sales, stock room, and gift wrapping, it's best to create a separate resume, cover letter, and interview pitch for each category of employment. Generic doesn't get you a job.

2. Ditch insecurity and worry about qualifications.

In 'What Color is Your Parachute?' Richard Bolles hammers that the people who get the jobs are those best at presenting themselves for the job. It's rarely the most talented. Put your energy into how you're applying.

3. Create an edge.

This sets you apart from the competition. For example, say you're available to work all shifts, will learn the software without the meter running, and/or understand the competition's weaknesses and how this employer can exploit them.

4. Follow up, after the initial contact, without being a pest.

No harm swinging by the store in person when you know the hiring manager is working.

5. Continue to apply until you have a job.

You don't have a job until you have a job.

Yes, keep improving how you apply for a job. But why employers hire one person and not the other is idiosyncratic. Many can turn you down for reasons that have nothing to do with you or how you presented yourself. Don't read too much into it.

Next: Hiring for Christmas: 600,000 Holiday Jobs & Where To Look >>

Jane Genova


Jane Genova began focusing on transitions when the academic market collapsed as she was writing her dissertation in linguistics and literature at the University of Michigan.  After re-establishing herself in the public relations industry, she gradually published on the subject.  Her first piece was on The Professional Woman in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Since then, she co-authored the book THE CRITICAL 14 YEARS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE and myriad e-books and articles on career subjects ranging from emotional intelligence to aging.  In the 1980s she attempted another change by attending Harvard Law School.  She didn’t complete the degree but channeled that experience into maintaining a legal blog [] housed at the Library of Congress.

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What difference does any of it make these days when everybody is using online applications. . .seems like it goes into a black hole! The macys one is so long that they should be handing out Macys discountsas a thank you for completing

October 11 2010 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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