Before you start searching for holiday jobs or seasonal jobs, it's important to know where to look and what skills you might need to land the perfect position. Whether you just need some extra bucks for holiday shopping or you want to try out job that interests you, we've got a few tips on how to begin your seasonal job search.
When to look for seasonal jobs
If you're shopping for a part-time holiday gig without any leads or connections, then the sooner you start looking, the better. That is, unless you can make a decent living off of snow-plowing your neighbors’ driveways and taste-testing fruitcake all season. And even if you can, who would want to?
To beat the rush, start (and hopefully finish) your job search before November 1. Remember, if you're a high school student, hungry college students will be arriving home to snatch up all the student jobs for winter break. And if you're a college student who's nervous that high school students will grab all the good jobs before you get to them, it's best to rely on your connections. This advice actually works for everybody: Check in with some of your previous summer job and part-time employers to see if they can squeeze you into the schedule. Since you've previously worked there, they won't have to spend time and money on training, making you more attractive than a newbie employee.
The skills you'll need
Now that you know when to get your job search on, you should also know that while many employers are in a hiring frenzy around the holidays, the job market is still a competitive place, and you need to stand out among other applicants. Here are a few skills hiring managers are looking for in potential new employees:
- Knowledge. Employers want applicants who know their products and services well, and can sell them to customers. If you shop at a certain store all the time, you probably know more than you think about their merchandise. This will make you attractive to employers because they won’t have to spend as much time and money training you.
- Availability. Holiday hiring managers are drawn to candidates with a flexible schedule, and those who are responsible and on time. When a store is slammed with customers, your coworkers probably won’t appreciate the old “I slept through my alarm” excuse for showing up late.
- Patience. This is one virtue that's important for holiday workers to display, because every store will see a frantic mom with a mile-long list, desperately seeking everything from cardigans to jeans to gift cards. Show the employer that whether you have customer service experience or not, you can handle even the most difficult shoppers with respect and a helpful attitude.
Now you've got everything you need to fill yourself up with holiday cheer and get your job search started. Don't forget to start early so you can beat the rush and secure your spot in your new position.
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