Some people get seasonal jobs to add a little more holiday cheer to their bank account, but many look at holiday jobs as a means to an end. If you find yourself in the second group this holiday season, you've got a competitive road ahead. Many companies only keep on around 10-percent of their seasonal employees after January. Those are tough, but not impossible, odds.
Check out these five tips to help you turn your seasonal job into a permanent position.
From around October to January, many retail stores double the number of employees on their payroll to gear up for and weather the holiday storm. This huge increase in staffing can make it easy for employees with permanent positions to watch their seasonal counterparts in the revolving door of employment without taking much notice. Don't let them. Befriend the more seasoned (no pun intended) employees. Ask them for pointers and advice; just don't be obnoxious about it. No one wants to feel like they have to hand-hold at work, but a little flattery never hurt anyone. When it comes time for managers to make the call about who stays and who goes, they'll look to their permanent full-time and part-time employees for their opinions, because they've had the opportunity to see how you work up-close and personal. You want to be sure they can give a positive report on your behalf.
In a very short period of time it's difficult to learn one job well, much less multiple jobs. But we never said this would be easy. Getting a permanent position means making yourself stand out, and what better way to do that than making yourself versatile in the workplace. The best place to start is an area of the store in close proximity to where you already are. It's important you don't neglect your job for someone else's. You can start by answering simple questions for customers, and following up with other employees in that department for additional training. Expanding your horizons will demonstrate your ability to learn new skills quickly and provide another tool for your arsenal come decision time.
Be up front
From your interview you should be honest with your potential employer about your desire to move into a regular job. You definitely don't want to position it as an ultimatum ("I won't take this job unless it's full time"), but saying you'd definitely be interested in a seasonal position that could lead to a regular part-time job will work in your favor. This lets the employer know up front that you're going to be highly motivated and do well at any task. It also sets the expectation from the beginning that you'd like to be considered for anything that might come up.
During the holidays scheduling flexibility isn't a huge deal. Employers have students off on winter break to fill in the gaps, but when everyone goes back to school, weekday shifts still need to be filled. If you can help them fill those gaps, it will put you at an advantage. Do a realistic evaluation of your schedule before and after the holidays, and try to make it as open as possible. Most hourly jobs will require you to work nights, weekends and holidays, but day-time availability will definitely make you stand out in the crowd.
Have a back-up plan
It would be nice if everything in life worked out perfectly, but unfortunately that's not the case. It's important that you've got something stashed up your sleeve in case all your effort toward a non-seasonal job doesn't pay off. On the bright side, you've definitely expanded your resume, and hopefully if you make friends in your new job and cross train in different departments, you will have made valuable business contacts and acquired new job skills. Be sure you don't burn any bridges. You want to leave on a good note with your seasonal employer and ask to be considered for any positions that may come up in the future. To be proactive, you can periodically check back with the friends you've made and your managers to see if anything opens up , and if that doesn't work you can check other locations and competitors nearby.