How to find temporary work this holiday season

The holiday season is upon us! It’s a time of togetherness, tradition and family bonding. It’s also often a time of ridiculous spending.

We’ve already discussed how to keep your holiday budget spotless throughout the season, but the holidays are also a prime opportunity to make more money. Whether you need the extra income for gift-giving or to balance your ledgers or simply to bulk up your savings account, right now is the absolute best time to find additional, part time or even full time work.

During the 2012 holiday season, employers nationwide added between 650,000 to 700,000 new jobs. Many of those jobs turned into full-time work when the season was over.

Experts say that the spike in new jobs might not be as sharp this season due to the fact that most major employers are already carrying more employees than they were last year, but the opportunities will still be out there – it’s just a matter of knowing what employers are looking for.

Look beyond retail

Department stores are the most obvious landing spot for people in searching of holiday employment. With good reason – Macy’s alone is planning to hire 83,000 seasonal workers this year.

But your holiday options extend well-beyond the mall. Online retailers like Amazon are hiring nearly as many employees for a variety of positions, including warehouse and phone support jobs. Shipping companies like UPS are always looking for help during the fourth quarter, which opens up a ton of temporary driver and “driver helper” jobs. It’s a busy season for parties – meaning opportunities in catering, waiting, valet parking, etc.

Consider what you know

Presuming you didn’t leave under less-than-stellar circumstances, going to back to places you’ve worked previously will often give you a significant leg-up on the competition. Even simply applying for work in stores where you already shop regularly, and therefore know pretty well, gives you an advantage. Because the sooner you can be out of training and on the floor, the better. 

Be flexible and reliable

When filling out applications or polishing up your resume, remember that a lot of your skills and experience may not be valued in a temporary position. Most season jobs are relatively manual and uncomplicated.

Employers are looking for flexible employees who show up on time and do what they say they’re going to do. You may be tempted to fib about your available hours, but fight that urge. Not being able to come through on your promises doesn’t help them and, ultimately, won’t do you any favors either.

Have patience and a good attitude

For as much cheer and goodwill as consumers may feel throughout the holiday season, they also tend to feel a remarkable amount of agitation and anxiety as well. A good attitude may be the greatest asset you can bring to a seasonal job. Most customers understand that a good portion of the workforce during the lead up to Christmas is newly hired, so you don’t have to know every answer. As long as you treat customers with empathy and enthusiasm, you’ll be doing just fine.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

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