The pumpkins have only just begun to rear their orange heads, but if you’re in the market for a holiday part-time job, it’s not too soon to start looking. Yes, it still might be warm enough outside to wear short-sleeved shirts and shorts, but that shouldn’t stop you from acting now.
Although the holidays may not be on most people’s radars yet, they’re definitely on the minds of employers, who are adding staff in anticipation of the holiday shopping onslaught. So those seeking holiday jobs now enjoy a real advantage when it comes to snagging the best ones. Wait much longer and you might be out of luck.
Here’s some advice on how and where to find a great holiday job.
The best opportunities can be found at large retail chains such as Target, Toys “R” Us, Macy’s and Best Buy. The big box stores in particular need extra help, not only for sales associates, but also for shipping and stocking positions. Cast a wide net. If you try to imagine where shoppers will flock for gifts and supplies, you’re sure to come up with a long list.
Think Like Santa
In an age where a sizable percentage of Christmas shopping is done online, shipping related jobs — either handling packages or working as a seasonal driver — at places such as Fed-Ex or UPS are particularly plentiful. Also in high demand are packaging, shipping and receiving jobs at online retailers’ warehouses and distribution centers.
Check online job boards for warehouse positions or go to an online business’s website directly for local opportunities.
Think Like Yourself
Of course, you can always think outside of the (big) box, and figure out a job that’s best suited to your skills, temperament and interests. Even though larger chain stores offer the biggest bang for your buck, just about every retailer and numerous businesses stand to gain over the holiday season. So start with a list of your interests or special skills and go from there.
For instance, if you’re into computers, you might consider targeting computer and electronics stores. If you’re into cooking, inquire at kitchen supply stores or gourmet food stores. If you’ve got a way with words and would rather deal with people over the phone than in person, you could find a customer service position.
Also, think about the places you frequent. If you could see yourself working there, ask the manager directly if they’ll be hiring additional staff for the season.
Think Like a Host
Of course, the holidays are the season to eat, drink, be merry and travel. So businesses involving any of the aforementioned activities are sure to be hiring. Restaurants, bars, caterers and hotels are all good places to start. But also think about places catering to home entertaining including specialty food stores, wine shops and bakeries.
Think About What You Want
Are you looking for something fun and relatively stress-free where you can meet lots of people and not worry too much about responsibility? Or are you looking for something with more responsibility that will give you valuable skills and experience? Do you have a particular schedule in mind or are you more flexible? Do you have a pay rate in mind? Are you hoping the part time position could turn into a permanent full-time position?
It’s important to know what you want before applying for the position and asking the employer to clarify any questions or concerns you have about the job before you start. That way, they’ll be no surprises when you learn that you’ll need to work until 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
With a little preparation and due diligence, you’ll find there’s plenty of jolly opportunities to make the holiday job season bright. If all else fails and you fit the description, you can always work as Santa Claus.