Working during the holidays may bring to mind frustrated and overworked retail staff, but seasonal jobs can actually be a great way to make extra cash, and there are many types of positions you can find.
First, if you are searching for just the right job and have yet to find it, a seasonal position can be ideal for giving you some experience and filling in gaps on the resume while you’re waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along. Most seasonal jobs also offer flexible hours, so for parents, students, and anyone else who needs flexibility, this is an advantage.
[See The 50 Best Careers of 2011.]
These jobs are also handy for anyone looking for a cash boost for the holidays or who needs to save up for something special, since the positions are temporary and can sometimes be worked around an existing job.
Where to Find Seasonal Jobs
Seasonal positions are often available on job boards, but if nothing pops up that appeals to you, consider some different approaches. Networking, both online and off, can be a good way to make connections that can help you land a seasonal job. Register with a local temporary staffing agency who may have exclusivity to some of the local employers seasonal jobs. A temp agency is a good source for seasonal jobs as well as temporary replacements for employees who may take an extended leave over the holiday season.
If you are targeting retail, parks, and hotels, you should start contacting them before their busy season. Many will hire at least a month or two before things take off so they have time to train new employees. Make sure you start knocking on doors at least six weeks in advance.
Be sure to consider the season that you want to work, as well. For example, right now stores are experiencing a holiday rush that usually requires extra help. Bars and restaurants may require extra wait staff for New Year’s and catering companies will be looking, as well. Consider any holiday events that may be happening in your area, as well.
Tips for Success
While your experience and education will help you get your foot in the door, here are a few more tips to help you succeed in your seasonal job search.
Start early. A good rule of thumb is to start looking for a position about six to eight weeks ahead of the busy season. Training takes a few weeks in many cases and companies want to make sure you’re up to speed before things get crazy.
Apply for multiple jobs. There is a lot of competition for seasonal positions, particularly the “fun” ones like theme parks and ski resorts. Applying for several positions will help ensure that you get one of them.
Show enthusiasm. If you work as an accountant the other 11 months of the year, you may have nothing on your resume that speaks to your experience as a ski instructor (other than your passion for skiing). In your cover letter and interview, share any personal information that would show the hiring manager that this isn’t just a way to make extra cash for you, and that you’re actually interested in the work.
Consider moving. Some seasonal jobs will offer employees accommodations. The more likely to provide this extra include camps and ski lodges, as well as some amusement parks. This can help you save money on the cost of housing and if there are no seasonal positions in your area, a temporary move elsewhere could be the best way to pick up a job.
Seasonal jobs are not for everyone, but they can be a good transitional position. When you need to earn some money but still haven’t found the perfect job, then a temporary job can be perfect. It’s also a good opportunity to try something new and to build experience in an area you may not have worked in before—it may even lead to a full-time, permanent position.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.