Jobs for the Holidays – and 7 Tips to Get Hired

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Halloween is the official beginning of the holiday season – and the holiday hiring season. So here’s some holiday cheer: “Hourly hiring managers foresee a steady increase in holiday, seasonal hires this year over the last three seasons, edging ever closer to pre-recessionary hiring levels.”

That’s the forecast from Snagajob.com, an employment agency solely for hourly workers. The agency polled more than 1,000 employers to determine how many hourly workers they’ll hire for the holidays. The results were encouraging…

51 percent will do so this year – up 8 points since 2008. Each hiring manager, on average, expects to hire 4.1 seasonal workers – a 5 percent increase over last year’s 3.9 workers and a 32 percent improvement from a low point in 2009.

“We’re definitely seeing incremental improvements in the holiday, seasonal job market, even if we haven’t yet returned to pre-recessionary levels,” Snagajob CEO Shawn Boyer says. “What’s encouraging is that we have the same percentage of hourly hiring managers expecting to make seasonal hires as before the recession, and we are trending toward hiring the same number of workers as 2007 levels, about three-quarters of the way there.”

But if you want one of these holiday jobs, don’t wait until the holidays to apply. Says the Snagajob survey…

Among those hiring this year, 18 percent already started in August or earlier, while 27 percent started this month and 33 percent will begin in October. Secondly, returning holiday workers will make up a significant portion of the seasonal workforce: Among managers making seasonal hires this year, they report that 53 percent of their workforce will be returning workers, up 8 points from last year.

So if you want a holiday job, apply now. For example, Shutterfly, an online photo-sharing service, announced last week that it’s looking for 1,300 seasonal employees for $9 to $12 an hour. And Toys R Us is looking for a whopping 40,000.

Other tips for making holiday money instead of just spending it…

  1. Whenever possible, apply in person. Most holiday jobs are all about customer service. So walk in with a smile as well as your resume.
  2. Also walk in well-dressed. If you’re interviewing at a clothing store, wear that brand.
  3. Full-time holiday work is rare, so many seasonal veterans cobble together two or even three part-time positions, working different shifts on different days.
  4. The more flexible your work schedule, the more you can earn. That means weekends and evenings – and holidays themselves.
  5. Don’t just look online. Drive around your city. Many mom-and-pop shops don’t pay for help-wanted ads for holiday workers – they just put a sign in their window.
  6. While the job is only temporary, don’t treat it that way. Some companies consider short-term holiday work as a tryout. When they need to hire a full-timer, they turn to the folks who worked hard for them before.

And if the increase in holiday hiring is a sign that full-time hiring may soon follow, this could be your ticket out of unemployment or underemployment. Now that would be a wonderful Christmas present.

For more on the topic, check out 4 Ways You Might Fall into a Seasonal Job.

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