I just read an article in which employers prefer job seekers who are currently employed over those that are unemployed. This isn't a new concept. But, this still makes it difficult for job seekers to get a grasp in the labor market, by attracting employers' interest.
All because you are not currently working, does not mean there is something wrong with you! You could be unemployed for any number of reasons that doesn't include having been fired. So try telling employers this! And you will, in your job interview (to an extent, of course). But what gets you to the interview is your resume. (And how you go about your job search too, of course.)
That article, and my experience as an Employment Counselor, prompted me to discuss the broader ramifications of getting involved in secret shopping, by applying for jobs as a Secret Shopper. Maybe you don't plan to have an employer anytime soon, 'cause being your own boss is working for you. You have what you need in terms of finances, and that's awesome. However, for many of us, working at home is also combined with a job out of the house. Or the need for more hours. Even if this means getting back out there in the job market.
Some of us may be feeling daunted 'cause we have been out of the job market for some time. Maybe you have been unemployed, or working odd jobs for yourself. And that's the thing. Do not discount casual hours in your job search! Any employment you get working for yourself, or working for someone else, should go on your resume. Not if you got fired, or if things ended badly, of course. But for most of us, this is what we want on our resume to boost it up. It gives a current month and year on the resume to appease the employers' concerns. The same goes with also putting any volunteer or training gigs you've partaken in.
Any Mystery shopper positions you get should go on your resume under your Work Experience (I'm not too fond of calling it 'Employment History') section. So what if you've only done it once? So what if you're working from home? So what if you haven't gotten paid for it yet? You treated it like a 'real' job, 'cause it is. It is legitimate. You are reporting to superiors. You acted professionally and got the work down. You were and are a Mystery (or Secret) Shopper! You can use this job title on your resume, or you can use Market Researcher.
Have confidence in your experience, and let it show in an interview. Highlight what you did in your job role that was of benefit to the mystery shopping company and the client they needed the shop done for. This shows the employer that you are able to be innovative when it comes to finding ideas to stay employed. That is appealing. They think you will be just as savvy on the job. So don't discount your casual employment opportunities, including your Mystery Shopper positions. Who knows, you may just be paving the way for that great career!
P.S. Please leave your comments at anytime. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Although it does sound too good to be true to many, secret shopping IS a legitimate job. As discussed previously, you can definitely put the Secret Shopper positions you've done on your resume. Why not? All because you are working for yourself from home, it doesn't discount your valuable experience.
If you ask what the role of a Secret Shopper is, most people would think it to be an aim to get people fired. But this common misconception couldn't be further from the truth. It wouldn't take the services of secret shopping for a Manager to figure out if someone is not worthy of being with the company any longer.
Your role as a Secret Shopper, aka Mystery Shopper, is to see what the company is doing right, and how they can improve. You are not out to "get" any particular employee. You remain an objective observer that points out the facts. Your biases don't come into play, nor do your opinions on how you think they should have done things.
The honest reporting of your experience goes on to help the business build better customer service relations, increase employee satisfaction, and improve productivity within the workplace. Employers are actually seeking to reward their employees, not punish them!
So how do you become a Secret Shopper anyway?
What's important to know, before you even start looking for secret shopping jobs is that individual companies do not hire Secret Shoppers. It wouldn't really make sense for a company to hire its own staff to do the secret shopping. Everyone would recognize their coworker coming into the store! Even if the management hired someone from outside of the company to come in, they would have to be sneaky not to reveal the identity of the Secret Shopper. Kind of hard if that person were to show up for an interview. ;)
Companies look for Secret Shoppers by contacting an external company, such as a secret shopping agency. Or secret shopping companies contact hotels, restaurants, stores, etc. to see if they would like to hire their market research firm, specializing in secret shopping services. Thus, if you are looking to get involved in secret shopping, you need to know who hires Secret Shoppers.
You have two choices for where to go to get secret shopping work.
1. You can contact an individual mystery shopping company, by either checking out their website or contacting them by phone. You would register with them, and they would contact you for assignments in your area. Or, you would check your email and their website to select which shops you are available for and interested in doing
2. You sign-up with a mystery shopping agency which provides you with a whole database of companies that are looking for Secret Shoppers. This way when secret shopping opportunities arise, you are not just limited to one company. You have the privilege of being registered with a variety of different companies which means more work for you.
Whether you choose to do option 1 or option 2 is up to you. I would recommend doing both. In the world of mystery shopping, the more companies that know you are available for assignments, the better. You don't have to keep it a secret that you are working with more than one mystery shopping company. Companies understand that you have to make ends meet financially, and it's completely okay to have several options on the go.
What stands out for me in writing this is that you have to be organized. You should carry around a personal organizer with you whether it's a book, or on a Smart phone. This way you won't miss assignments, or double-book yourself. You will also be more efficient this way 'cause you can then schedule yourself for multiple assignments in one day.
Again, remember, you do not have to pay to get an assignment handed to you, nor should you ever cash in any checks. Bethany, aka The Queen of the Random Job, does a great job of helping you avoid job scams. Also, all the opportunities I post on my blog and site are legitimate.
Know of any friends who would want to become a Secret Shopper themselves? Feel free to share this post with them on your Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.
Til next time!
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Welcome to my blog on the information and advice you need to know to get started as a Secret Shopper! I love this work and would like to share my experience with you. :)