5 Tips for Snagging a Seasonal or Part-Time Holiday Job

When October draws to an end, the holiday season officially kicks off.  While people are gearing up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's--running errands, shopping, planning vacations, and constantly being on the go--you might consider making a few extra bucks by working a seasonal (i.e., temporary) or part-time job in the retail or restaurant industries. Since there is a huge influx of shoppers and vacationers at this time of year, there is an increased demand for servers, customer service representatives, and sales assistants in a variety of fields.

Seasonal jobs typically aren't easy. From getting the job to performing the duties, you have to go in with a can-do attitude and an ability to navigate the holiday chaos. Here are a few tips for finding work and getting yourself motivated to stay on-track for your (hopefully-not-so) temporary gig:

  1. Start looking early.
    To get a seasonal or part-time job at the holidays, you've got to know where to start. Online job boards like Snagajob.com specialize in temporary and holiday roles, and many retail stores put up postings in shop windows and on their websites. Make sure you begin searching as soon as possible! Most openings get filled up by the end of October/beginning of November, so the sooner you apply, the better. 
  1. Cater your job application to a particular industry.
    Pay attention to industry-specific requirements and needs. If you're seeking a fast food service or waiter/waitress job, highlight any experiences you have working at a restaurant or cafeteria on your resume, and talk up the necessary skills needed for succeeding (for example, great people/customer service skills, and a love of working with the public). If you're thinking about a customer service gig at a travel agency or website, don't hesitate to emphasize your sales and customer service skills. Need help putting a resume and cover letter together? You might need to submit both documents, even for a job waiting tables. Seek out
    cover letter examples and resume formatting help to ensure your application is in tip-top shape. And if you snag an interview, make sure you maintain a professional demeanor. Dress nicely and go in with a distinct elevator pitch to explain why you should be hired.
  1. Know what to expect.
    Sure, you'll have some extra cash in your pocket with your seasonal or part-time holiday job, but at the same time, you'll likely have to work long hours and deal with a lot of demanding customers. Seasonal jobs can conflict with holiday parties and holiday travel plans, so make sure you understand what's expected before taking the job. Get a handle on the level of commitment involved.
    The holiday rush will no doubt make work more hectic, but on the flip side, you may end up with larger tips, an employee discount, or additional shifts or overtime work (which means more money for you). Again, just be sure that you're willing to take on the responsibilities of the role, and that there are no major conflicts with your schedule.
  1. Bonus: Turn your seasonal job into a full-time career.
    If you're looking for long-term opportunities from your seasonal or part-time holiday job, make sure you put your best foot forward. Don't be late for a shift. Work efficiently (and with a smile). Go above and beyond what's expected, and never lose your cool (with either a boss or a customer). These tips are especially important to keep in mind if you're hoping to transition to a full-time job once January 2nd rolls around. Take the time to get to know your supervisor or manager, and inquire about full-time prospects during down time or during a one-on-one meeting.
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