Now Is the Time to Get Hired for the Holidays: 11 Tips

Whether it’s extra spending money you want or a leg up into a permanent job, new seasonal jobs are open and employers are hiring right now.


If you are wondering where you’ll find the money to make the holidays bright, one solution is to take on a part-time seasonal job. Some retail jobs provide not only extra income but also employee discounts you can use when shopping for gifts.

The perks

Seasonal work also is a great way to get a foot in the door with an employer if you are unemployed. A survey for jobs site Snagajob, which queried 1,000 people responsible for hiring hourly workers, found that 88 percent of employers hope to keep holiday workers on after the season is over.

Employee discounts are another perk. Christmas shopping is so much more fun when you pay a lower price.

With the job market tight this year, employers will be eager to hire, giving job-seekers an advantage. Here’s a peek at the big picture:

  • Unemployment is 5.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Unemployment is now lower than it’s been in seven years, the BLS says.
  • The average hourly wage is $10.55, according to Trading Economics.
  • Hourly wages and benefits are just 11 percent more (taking inflation into account) than in 1973, says the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank.
  • Employers are paying an average hourly wage of $9.33 for food service jobs, $9.68 for retail work and $10.97 in the hospitality industry, Snagajob says.

Who’s hiring

According to the Snagajob holiday hiring survey, 82 percent of employers (a third of those polled were in the retail, hospitality and restaurant trades) plan to hire seasonal workers for an average of 23 hours a week. Here are the numbers of holiday hires planned by:

UPS 90,000-95,000
Kohl’s 69,000
Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s 85,000
Walmart 60,000
Toys”R”Us 40,000
FedEx 55,000
Target 70,000
GameStop 28,000
JC Penny 30,000
Kroger 20,000

Here are 11 tips to help you find work:

1. Start applying right now

Employers told Snagajob that they hoped to fill nearly three-quarters of their seasonal jobs in October, so if you’re interested, don’t waste another minute.

2. Get off the Internet

Job boards are great, but applications submitted online often get bogged down by slow processing. Submit applications online, by all means. But then get out into the street and start asking employers if they are hiring. Start by making a list of the 10 places you think would be the most fun to work. Visit each in person to ask about holiday hiring and how to apply.

3. Look fantastic

Look in the mirror before you go out the door for a job interview. Would you hire yourself based on looks alone? Because, shallow as it is, most people make decisions about someone based on appearance, especially if they’ll be in a role meeting the public.

4. Start telling the world

Let everyone you know that you’re in the market for work. The best job leads often come from someone you know.

5. Apply where you shop

Pick a slow time of the day and talk with the managers at businesses where you shop. “Knowing you’re a loyal fan of the business can make it easier for a manager to add you to the team,” says AARP.

7. Be ready to commit

Your willingness to stick with a seasonal job until the holidays are over will make a big difference in your favor, employers told pollsters.

8. Be available

Availability — or at least schedule flexibility — can be tough if you’re already working another job (or two) or are juggling a busy family schedule. Still, your ability to work when called is something employers say is important to them.

9. Say thanks

After you’ve applied, remember to follow up by checking in with the person who interviewed you to say thank you. “If there’s not an immediate opening, don’t be a pest, but try to keep tabs on hiring plans,” AARP says. You want to be top-of-mind if they are hiring later.

10. Beware holiday job scams

It’s sad but true that con artists work overtime on the holidays. Don’t fall for “jobs” that require you to pay an application fee or a training fee or some other fee in order to get hired. (Read Don’t Get Scrooged by These 20 Holiday Scams.)

11. Give it all you’ve got

Attitude is everything. Whether you are looking to be hired on permanently and want to impress the boss or just making some extra money for the short term, your willingness to jump in and give yourself to the work will score you points and make the job more fun. You never know where it could lead — a stellar recommendation to post on your LinkedIn page, perhaps. Or the offer of a better job down the road.

Do you have experience working seasonal jobs? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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