Searching for that Holiday Job

By Joe Stein

By now, most of you have probably read the news reports on the economic forecasts this holiday season. The National Retail Federation is estimating that holiday retail spending will increase by only 2.2% this year, a much lower forecast than in past years. The good news is that there will be holiday jobs out there for people to snap up this season; the bad news is that there may be fewer of them and more competition for those that are open.

If you are seeking a job this holiday season, then you should have already started your search, or be ready to begin it immediately. So, let’s not waste any more time and dive right into what you need to do and consider this holiday job season.

There are many reasons to consider a job for the holidays:

 - Offset holiday spending and provide relief for the subsequent credit card bills  
- Supplement everyday income while the jobs are available  
- Pay down already existing bills.
 
- Pick-up an associate discount at a retailer you love to shop at either for yourself or gifts for others. This is a great way to further enhance your paycheck by saving money on items that you would have purchased anyway. Most retailers will provide a 10-40% discount on their merchandise.

As you can see, whatever your reason, a holiday job can be a great way to earn some additional money. Among the positions to consider for a holiday job are a combination of your traditional and perhaps some that you have not considered.
 
Retail – Positions in retail may include cashiers, in-store demonstrators, assemblers, receivers, and stocking positions. If you look the part, you may even have a spot as a Santa waiting for you.
 
Distribution/Shipping – Especially any company that ships to stores or directly to customers is a candidate for holiday job openings.
 
Restaurants/Catering – November and December will find holiday parties, fundraisers, and luncheons keeping these companies busy.
 
Delivery – This category includes package delivery to customers’ homes or offices.
 
Loss Prevention/Security – With the holidays come both more and larger crowds. Many places such as stores, malls, entertainment facilities, etc. hire additional Loss Prevention/Security.
Basic rules of job searching apply:
 
Dress Accordingly – Not just for any interview, but also when you enter the facility to apply. In most situations, formal business attire is not necessary, just a neat and clean appearance.
 
Prepare – Be able to explain why you should be hired rather than someone else. Since the holiday season is a finite period of time, reliability is crucial. Stress how diligent you are about coming to work and being on-time.
 
Show Product Knowledge – If you are a shopper of that retailer then express this to the Interviewer. You will have an advantage, since you will already know the store layout and the products carried.
 
Display Customer Service Desire – Most holiday jobs deal directly with customers. Show your desire to work with customers in the interview.
 
Search online for posted opportunities while also going the “old fashioned” route and applying in-person. Most companies do not advertise their holiday openings in traditional Sunday print advertising due to the cost of running the ads.
 
With the competition that is out there for this year’s holiday jobs, do not limit yourself to just one or two companies. Make a list of all the companies you would consider working for and submit applications for them.
Things to consider:
 
Be Flexible – The regular staff will likely receive the best schedules and hours. Be ready to work whenever you are called to duty.
 
If your holiday gig is your 2nd job make sure it does not interfere with your primary one. Most primary employers will not be flexible with someone due to their holiday job.
 
Consider focusing on what you have experience doing. The less training you need and the quicker you will be productive will make you more valuable to an employer.
 
Don’t just focus on the big-box retailers. Although they will most likely have the larger quantity of openings, sometimes a smaller store will allow you to speak directly with the owner and cement your hiring.

For many of us in Western New York, finding a holiday job is an annual ritual. Although the economic indicators reflect this will be a more challenging season for job hunting, a savvy Job Seeker is sure to find that holiday job that they desire.

As always, best of luck in your job search.