How to Land a Seasonal Job – and Make It Permanent

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It's the holiday season, and employers have too many customers and orders to handle. That's where you come in, and — if you prove yourself — where you just might stay.

If you’re job-hunting, don’t pass up seasonal work – it just might land you a permanent position, according to a new survey of employers released by CareerBuilder.

The study found that about 40 percent of companies are planning to keep at least some of their seasonal workers. That’s about 10 percent more than they were willing to hire permanently last year. But while your chances may be up, you have to know where to look. has put out a list of more than 20 companies currently hiring for the holidays.

If none of those are near you or are hiring locally, here are the top five businesses employers are looking for seasonal help in:

  • Retail (33 percent)
  • Customer service (31 percent)
  • Clerical support (17 percent)
  • Shipping and delivery (12 percent)
  • Hospitality (10 percent)

Chances are you can find somewhere close by in one of those categories. You could also check out our stories 4 Ways You Might Fall Into a Good Seasonal Job and 5 Best Temporary Jobs for more ideas.

But getting one of those jobs isn’t going to be easy: There are a lot of people out of work. To have the best chances at landing one, make sure you do the following:

  1. Apply ASAP. Almost half of employers aren’t accepting applicants after Halloween, and 80 percent won’t take any more applications after Thanksgiving. If you want to work, don’t wait.
  2. Be enthusiastic. Don’t look a gift-time horse in the mouth. A lot of seasonal workers make the mistake of taking temporary work less seriously than a permanent job. Showing indifference in an interview will annoy an already stressed employer, and if you’re lucky enough to get hired, bringing that attitude to work hurts your chances of keeping the position permanently.
  3. Dress appropriately. Retailers don’t like it when you show up for an interview wearing their competitor’s latest fashion. If you’re interviewing at a clothing store, try to wear their brand – and always dress professionally. Casual work doesn’t mean casual interview attire.
  4. Do your research. This goes for any job. Don’t walk in and ask for a position with a place you’ve never heard of. Look up the company, see what they’re known for, how they operate, and whether they’re in the news recently. If you don’t invest time in the company, why would they invest time in you?
  5. Be ready to explain yourself. Employers are extra skeptical when hiring temporary help – they’re looking to weed out applicants who might be unreliable and unable to get work, just want the employee discount for the holidays, or those who might take the work less seriously than a “real job.” Convince them otherwise by being professional, committed, and quick-witted. Those qualities will also raise your chance of keeping the job permanently.

If you do land the job, congrats! Be sure to tell your new boss you’re interested in a permanent position, and demonstrate an interest in the company by volunteering for extra responsibility and asking questions. If things don’t work out, take a look at our story 4 Places for Free Job Training so you can get pick up some new skills and try again somewhere else.

Stacy Johnson

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