‘Tis the season for holiday bargain shoppers to come out of the woodwork in search of that ‘perfect’ gift. That means retailers and big box stores need more hands on deck to serve their customers. That's good news, but as more and more people seek multiple part-time jobs to replace income from a lost full-time job, the competition is particularly fierce for temporary jobs over the next few weeks. The promise of flexible schedules and store discounts make these positions extra appealing to a wide array of job seekers. So how can you stand out in the sea of applicants and snag one of the best seasonal jobs around?
First, even though job fairs are great places to meet face-to-face with potential employers, experts recommend not waiting for these events to begin your seasonal job search. Instead, personally visit the retailers you would like to work for and ask to speak briefly with the manager on duty. Have not only the store’s job application completely (and neatly) filled out, but have a resume as well. Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and show your enthusiasm and energy (just don’t overdo it). Ask for a convenient time to follow up on your application (and be sure to put that date in your calendar and do it!).
Once you land an interview, or at a job fair, Matthew Ferree, lead technical sourcer for netPolarity, recommends using that time “to show how collected and calm you can be. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for retail and big-box outlets. Things will be crazy, so by demonstrating you can handle that type of situation, you will give yourself a leg-up on the competition.”
“Due to the nature of customer service, many positions require strong communication skills,” notes Amit De, CEO and co-founder of Careerleaf. “A job seeker can use experiences in previous positions, organizations, or even from volunteering to better position themselves as a strong communicator.”
Last, but certainly not least, Elliot Lasson, Executive Director of Joblink of Maryland, Inc., recommends searching your own network for friends or colleagues who have worked (seasonally or otherwise) for the company you’re targeting. Personal referrals carry the valuable quality of ‘instant credibility’—plus there may be a bonus in it for your friend, too, as many employers offer referral or finder’s fees.
About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.