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If you’re looking for extra cash for the holidays, a seasonal job is the obvious choice. Seasonal job opportunities pop up a few times a year, and one of those times is here now. Because winter is right around the corner, I thought I’d share a few jobs that are commonly (and currently, as of the day I wrote this) available:
Brick/Mortar Retail – clerks and cashiers, personal shoppers, Santa or his elves, customer service, delivery, receiving
Online Retail – telesales, customer service, delivery
Warehouse – inventory, shipping, receiving, assembling, delivery
Catering/Banquet halls – servers, sales, event photographer
Call Centers – outbound sales, inbound tech support and customer service
Ski/Winter Resorts – hospitality, sales, housekeeping
Kids’ Winter Camps – counselor, housekeeping, food service
Office – phone reps, mail/marketing fulfillment, sales
Side Gigs (usually freelance/self-employed) – House cleaning, personal gift shopper, holiday decoration installer, driver, tutor
Employers start interviewing for these positions in the fall, so there’s no time to lose. The search for a seasonal job is much different than finding permanent employment, in that employers generally hire their seasonal staff during or right after a first interview. Keep an eye out for job fairs at distribution centers, warehouses and office complexes in your area in October and November.
Sometimes, these seasonal jobs can turn into longer-term roles or even become permanent! If you want to try to make that happen, here are three ways to do that:
1) Stand out for the right reasons: Let your boss see you going the extra mile. Pick up that overlooked, crumpled litter that was meant for the trash can, instead of stepping over it like everyone else. Smile and greet every customer, and offer to help even if it isn’t your department. Help other employees when you have extra time. Approach your work with a positive, whatever-it-takes attitude.
2) Think about the company’s needs after the season is over: Think like a permanent employee, not someone who will be gone in a few weeks. Are there problems you can solve, or have you caught wind of long-term projects that might be well-suited to your skills? Offer your experience in ways that expand your usefulness to the company.
3) Let Your Intentions Be Known: A week or two into this new job (not on your first day!), talk to your boss. Let her know that you enjoy the company and the work, and that if a permanent role opens, you’d like to apply. Your boss isn’t a mind-reader, and she’s extra busy during holiday seasons. She may see you as a great short-term employee without even thinking about the long game. It’s your job to plant that seed.
If you need help ‘right-sizing’ your resume for a seasonal job, get in touch with the experts at ResuMAYDAY. Remember, these jobs go quickly so you don’t have a moment to lose!
Here’s short video on how a good reference can go bad, and what to do if that happens…
I recently spoke with writer, Michele Vrouvas, about job interviews. We discussed insider tips and secrets, things that HR people look for in candidates and some of the ‘unwritten rules’. Our chat became the foundation of this article for Study.com, a site that provides high level learningtools for students and teachers~
Abner J. Mikva, notable Chicagoan, is credited with telling the following story about his introduction into politics:
“On the way home from law school one night in 1948, I stopped by the ward headquarters in the ward where I lived. There was a street-front, and the name Timothy O’Sullivan, Ward Committeeman, was painted on the front window. I walked in and I said, “I’d like to volunteer to work for [Adlai] Stevenson and [Paul] Douglas.” This quintessential Chicago ward committeeman took the cigar out of his mouth and glared at me and said, “Who sent you?” I said, “Nobody sent me.” He put the cigar back in his mouth and he said, “We don’t want nobody that nobody sent.” This was the beginning of my political career in Chicago.”
Often job hunting feels like politics. Doors won’t open unless you know the right people. Employers are looking for people who are the “right fit” for their organization, as well as have the right credentials and skills. It’s not uncommon that in some companies, coworkers spend more time with each other than their own families, so employers have good reason to consider how a new employee will fit in. When a potential employee is referred by a current employee, there is a presumption that “birds of a feather flock together.” And, on a more practical note, recruiting costs are much lower for a new employee hired through referral over one hired through traditional recruiting methods.
So, how do you overcome the “We don’t want nobody that nobody sent” mentality? First, don’t overcome it…work with it. Set a goal to meet two or three new people every week through traditional and non-traditional ways. Put your ego on hold for a while and be willing to ask for help. Understand that 99 out of 100 people enjoy helping other people. It makes them happy to do a good deed. Also understand that 99 out of 100 people cannot hire you. So, you’re not asking for a job at this point, you’re asking for information, advice, resources and support: ask if they can share job leads, refer you to career experts and recruiters, ask for a second pair of eyes to review your resume, ask for introductions to influential people and for any pearls of wisdom that would help keep your job search moving forward.
The first move is yours. The best way to let people help you is to make it easy on them. Be clear in your messaging. Don’t say, “I can do anything,” when someone asks what type of job you’re seeking. Succinctly explain the skills and experience you have, what type of work you are looking for, and specific employers (or types of employers) where you want to work. (If you’re having trouble with this messaging, make an appointment with me. We can quickly come up with a great elevator pitch crafted specifically for you.)
Assuming your intro message or elevator pitch is ready for prime time, here’s how to make it work for you:
Becoming the somebody that somebody sent will work for you as it did for Abner J. Mikva, who enjoyed a career as a Chicago politician, a judge, a federal judge and a U.S. representative. (In 2014, President Obama awarded Mikva the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.)
And as your career evolves, you can pay it back by becoming the somebody who in turn helps the new pack of ‘emerging’ somebodies.