Looking to make some extra cash this holiday season? Or perhaps get your foot in the door for a chance at permanent employment or fabulous career?Over 700,000 seasonal jobs are expected to be added to the nation’s payrolls during the 2013 holiday season, Chicago-outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas projects.
Macy's, Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Target have announced their plans to hire tens of thousands of workers for the upcoming holiday season. The bulk of those hiring decisions will be made in October.
Holiday job seekers should start their searches NOW by contacting friends already working in establishments that could need holiday workers.
Target establishments of which you are frequent customer.
If there is a particular retail business where you’d like to work, go in when business is slow and try to make a connection with a manager or assistant manager. “The key is separating yourself from the pile of other applicants between now and Halloween,” says John A Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
Don’t limit yourself to sales floor positions. Big-box retailers, in particular, also need extra workers in their shipping facilities and overnight stocking positions. Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and caterers and catering companies may also need extra holiday help.
Whether you’re going in for an interview or merely showing up to fill out the online application at the in-store kiosk, dress appropriately. It’s a good idea not to wear denim.
Be on time, show enthusiasm and follow up. Make sure you leave with the hiring manager’s business card or email address so you can thank him/her for the interview as well as make a final pitch why you’re the perfect person for the job.
The biggest mistake holiday job seekers can make is demanding a specific schedule from prospective employers. “Temporary workers must be prepared to be flexible, whether it is hours or type of work. Either can vary as the holiday season progresses,” Challenger says.
Expect to spend 30-45 minutes filling out online job applications on most of the major retailers’ websites or at their in-store hiring kiosks. Line your ducks up in a row before you begin the application process by having your resume, employment history (up to 10 years) and references handy. Also provide your scheduling/availability and note any special skills and qualifications, and if you’re bilingual.
Depending on the type of position you’re applying for, expect background and/or credit checks, and drug screening.
Some retailers also require job applicants to take a pre-assessment test to determine your suitability for employment. According to about.com, Wal-Mart, for example, administers a 65-question pre-assessment test, that includes the usual criminal background questions. It also presents hypotheticals, such as how you’d deal with an angry customer or difficult co-worker. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Wal-Mart's pre-assessment in case other prospective employers ask similar questions.
When searching online for seasonal jobs or on job sites, keep in mind these advanced search terms or keywords to generate local job leads: seasonal retail, seasonal associate, seasonal retail, seasonal distribution, seasonal fulfillment, holiday help, part-time, “work at home,” night shift, etc.
“There is a constant churn in the retail industry,” Challenger said. “It has some of the highest turnover rates of any industry.”