Looking for Seasonal Work? How to Land a Job for the Holidays.
For many industries, the holiday season is the busiest, most important time of the year, so employers seek temp staff to see them through. It’s an excellent opportunity to bolster your resume and try something new or earn some extra cash.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the seasonal job hunt.
What companies hire for the holidays?
Obviously, the big holiday push comes from the retail sector. Brick-and-mortar stores will need supplemental cashiers, stockers, cleaners, and sales representatives to offset the deluge of customers.
Major chains like H&M, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Target reliably require seasonal workers. Consider smaller chains and local companies, too. They also need extra hands for lighter work—though their needs vary from year to year.
But it isn’t just retail that needs seasonal workers. Shipping companies such as UPS and Fed Ex will be gearing up for their busiest quarter. Same goes for e-commerce companies like Amazon. Other industries that will see a transactional uptick include catering, event planners, food manufactures, and supply-chain services.
Where can you find seasonal job postings?
Start with an online job board. Their advanced search features allow you to easily find seasonal job postings, and you can winnow the results further to specific industries or job types. If you’re looking at a specific company, check their website directly.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with inquiring in person, so you can put a friendly face to a potential application.
Not sure what you’re looking for? Visit an online review website to get a peek inside holiday employers. Glassdoor, for example, recently analyzed rankings for the largest holiday hirers to discover which employers were favored by seasonal workers.
When should you apply for seasonal jobs?
Don’t wait until the halls are decked with holly and Christmas jingles play relentlessly on the radio. By then it’s too late.
Some companies post seasonal jobs as early as August, and most ramp up their efforts come October. This schedule ensures they have the time to train employees and acclimate them with a few weeks of on-the-job practice.
Given this, it’s best to begin your job hunt in early fall. Starting early offers more in the way of choices and time for training and practice, so you can conquer that learning curve in advance of the holiday rush.
How should you prepare?
You should prepare for a holiday job search the same way you search for any other job. Best practices will include:
- Scouring the job posting for keywords and tailoring your resume to match
- Personalizing your cover letter to show where your qualifications overlap the employer’s needs
- Rehearsing your responses to common interview questions
- Networking to find opportunities and potential references
Will you be working a seasonal job in addition to your full-time gig? Then you’ll need to prepare for that overload.
Working two jobs risks stress, exhaustion, and mental fatigue, and your busy schedule will leave you little free time to rejuvenate. Talk with your family and ensure they’ll support you. Then plan to get regular sleep and downtime to clear your mind of that anxiety-inducing gunk.
The joys (and humbugs) of seasonal work
Seasonal work has its ups and downs. On the downside, you won’t get extensive training, the work can be hectic, your free time will evaporate, and the wages won’t be great. However, those earnings can put a dent in holiday expenses or build a nest egg for 2020. These jobs also provide the opportunity to invest in new skills and may even evolve into a permanent position.
If you want to get the most out of your seasonal work, don’t just prepare to land the job. Prepare to succeed when you get there.