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Kip Tips

7 Tips for Finding a Seasonal Job

Use these strategies to increase your chances of being hired to work during the holidays.

A seasonal job is a good way to earn extra cash for the holidays, but also it can be a great stepping stone to full-time employment. Nearly half of the employers that are hiring seasonal workers this year plan to transition some into permanent positions, according to a CareerBuilder survey of 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

SEE ALSO: How Sharp Are Your Job-Hunting Skills?

Although several businesses started hiring seasonal workers in October, many still will be looking to bring on extra employees this month and next to handle the holiday rush. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 27% of employers will do their seasonal hiring in November, and 10% will be filling jobs in December. So it’s not too late to find a position.

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Plus, the market for seasonal jobs is better this year than the past two years, according to CareerBuilder. Thirty-nine percent of retail hiring managers reported that they plan to hire seasonal workers this year, up from 36% last year and 29% in 2011. And about half of the hiring managers surveyed said they plan to pay wages of $10 or more per hour.

But don’t assume that getting seasonal work will be a cinch. There will be lots of competition from the long-term unemployed, says Michael Erwin, a senior career adviser with CareerBuilder. So job seekers need to use several strategies to increase their chances of getting hired.


Start your search online. Check the Web sites of the companies for which you’d like to work to see if they’ve listed openings for seasonal positions. Visit job-search sites, such as CareerBuilder and Monster, and look for job postings on Craigslist. Erwin also recommends using social media to aid your search (see 7 Ways to Use Social Networking to Land Your Next Job). But he says job hunters shouldn’t limit their search to the Web. They should visit businesses in person to see if they’re hiring, and let friends and family know they’re looking for work.

Look beyond retail. People tend to associate seasonal work with retail positions, Erwin says. The bulk of seasonal hiring will be in this sector. For example, Target plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers (see its careers page for openings); Macy’s expects to hire 83,000 (see macysjobs.com); and Toys R Us plans to hire 45,000 workers (see Ruscareers.com for a list of openings). But many of these jobs are in the company’s call centers, distribution centers and positions other than the actual stores.

FedEx and UPS also will be adding to their workforces to handle an increase in shipments over the holiday season. FedEx expects to increase its workforce with tens of thousands of seasonal employees to handle a surge in holiday shipments, according to a company press release. And UPS will hire 55,000 seasonal employees.

Erwin also recommends looking for positions in the hospitality sector including restaurants and hotels, which get a boost in business during the holidays. Other popular positions companies will be recruiting for this holiday season include administrative, accounting and marketing, according to the CareerBuilder survey.


Act as if you’re applying for a full-time job. Even if you’re just looking for a short-term position to pick up extra cash for the holidays, treat the application process as serious as you would for a full-time, permanent position to improve your chances of being hired, Erwin says. That includes following up an interview with a thank-you note or e-mail. And if you are looking for a job that will turn into a full-time position, let the hiring manager know this. If you’re hired, offer ideas and take on as much responsibility as possible to show your worth so you will be hired full-time.

Come to your interview prepared. The more research you do on a company, the better your chances of getting a job are, Erwin says. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 33% of employers tend to dismiss candidates who know nothing about their company or products. So check the company’s Web site and recent news announcements before an interview. And be sure not to wear a competing store’s brand if you’re applying for a retail position.

Be flexible. Most companies hiring seasonal employees are looking for people who can work hours when their full-time staff cannot – often on weekends or at night. Erwin says that the more flexible you are, the more likely you’ll get the job.

Don’t focus on the company’s employee discount. Even if you’re primarily interested in a job at a particular store because it offers an employee discount, don’t announce this to the hiring manager. CareerBuilder found that 39% of employers are turned off by candidates who seem more interested in the discount than the job opportunity.


Be persistent. Even if a hiring manager tells you that all positions are filled, check back in a few weeks to see if the business has any new openings. Erwin says that some companies will find that they need to hire more workers once the holiday season gets into full swing. Just don’t be a pest, he says. Send one or two e-mails at most.