How to Apply for a Job In-Person

There are many types of jobs, especially in retail and hospitality, where candidates are expected to apply in-person. Before you apply for a job in person, it's important to know what you need to bring when you apply, what you should wear, the information you'll need to complete a job application, how to prepare for an on-the spot-interview, and the best way to follow up after you have applied for jobs.

This step-by-step guide will provide all the information you need to apply for jobs in person, make a terrific impression, ace an interview, and successfully get hired.

Check Out Who's Hiring

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Before you apply for jobs in person, it's important to check out who is hiring. Take the time to research potential employers prior to applying for jobs. It will be easier to apply if you have a list of businesses that have open positions.

Start by checking Craigslist and your local newspaper's online help wanted ads. If your city or town has a Chamber of Commerce website with job listings, check that, too. Use the job search engines to find jobs in your town by searching by zip code.

Also, take the time to walk around town or the mall to see which stores and businesses have "now hiring" or "help wanted" signs in the window. You may be able to get hired right away if the employer has an immediate need.

Download a Sample Job Application Form

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When you apply for a position, you will need to provide all the details of your prior work history. You'll need your resume or, if you don't have one, a list of your educational and employment history to make sure that you're listing the correct dates of employment, job titles, and education on the job application.

One way to be sure you have all the information you need to apply is to download a sample job application form and complete it prior to applying for jobs. Print and fill it out so you know exactly what information you will need to complete an in-person job application.

Bring it with you and use the completed sample job application as a guide when you're completing your own job applications.

What to Wear to Apply for Jobs In-Person

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When you are applying for a job in person, business casual attire is usually appropriate. It is always important to be neat, tidy, and well-groomed and to present a positive image to the employer.

Don't wear jeans or shorts, tank tops, crop tops, or anything especially low cut (shirt or pants) or too short (skirt). Make sure your hair and fingernails are well groomed. Wear moderate shoes. Don't wear spike heels, platforms, flip flops, or your favorite pair of old ratty sneakers.

Remember, this isn't just filling out an application. You may get the chance to meet the manager and interview for the job, and you will want your first impression to be a great one.

What to Bring to Apply for Jobs In-Person

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When you apply for jobs, bring a copy of the sample job application you downloaded complete with all your personal information, employment, and educational history. You'll need to know:

  • Schools and dates attended.
  • Names and addresses of previous employers, if you have worked before.
  • Dates of employment for each employer.
  • A list of three references.
  • Your resume if you have one.
  • Your schedule - know what days and hours you are available to work.

Also, bring a notepad to keep track of where you have applied, a pen to complete job applications, and, if you have one, a nice portfolio to hold all your job application materials. Here's a list of what to bring with you.

Be Prepared to Complete a Job Application

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When you apply for a job in person you may be asked to complete a paper application or you may apply via a hiring kiosk. For example, many retail stores, like Target and Walmart, having hiring kiosks where you complete an electronic version of a job application, rather than a paper application form.

In either case, carefully read the instructions for applying for employment - before you click the Submit button or turn in your application. The company will regard applications that are submitted correctly and accurately in a much better light than those from candidates who don't follow the instructions.

Be Prepared for an On-The-Spot Interview

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When you are applying for jobs in-person, it's important to be prepared for a quick interview to take place as soon as you hand in your application.

Be prepared to answer interview questions about your employment history and education, including questions about why you want to work at the company and why you are qualified for the job. Also know when you're available to work in case you're offered the position, and the hiring manager wants to know when you can start.

Follow Up After Applying for a Job In-Person

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When you apply for jobs in person, see if you can get a business card from the store manager or hiring manager. Then follow up with a thank you note or email message thanking them for considering your application.

If you were able to interview when you applied, say thank you for the interview, as well.

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