As the holiday season and winter break quickly approach, many college students are searching for a holiday job in order to fill their free time and make some money. Just walk through any mall or shopping center and you will find hundreds of jobs; malls are filled with retailers desperate to find help. Along with retailers, shipping companies like UPS and FedEx are in search for extra help during the holiday gift-sending season, and offer great hourly wages.
The key to finding a seasonal job is timing. The best way to get a quick hire is to fill out the application on the spot and ask to meet with the manager. “Being in the right place, wearing presentable clothes, smiling, and demonstrating a positive attitude and good people skills are all key in getting hired quickly for a seasonal job,” said Chantelle Lessard-Chaudoin, a West Chester student who was hired on the spot at Holiday Spirit in Exton Mall.
According to the National Retail Federation, $435.6 billion was spent during the 2005 holiday season and this year’s total holiday retail sales are expected to increase 5 percent over last year’s levels, bringing holiday spending to $457.4 billion. With the expected increased sales come an increase in demand for seasonal retail employees.
Most retailers begin their search for seasonal workers in mid-October, and most of the new hires are expected to begin working by Thanksgiving.
How many seasonal employees do most retailers hire in preparation for the hectic holiday season? According to a recent survey by the NRF, 28 percent of hiring managers expect to hire fewer than 10 seasonal workers, 15 percent plan to hire more than 50 workers, and nearly one-in-10 plan to hire over 100 workers.
There are many options for seasonal employment, including customer service, cashier, loss prevention, merchandising, and stock. According to a Target store spokeswoman, because employers are facing higher demand for workers, potential employees withhold the ability to choose the type of job duties they would like to take on.
Along with the job options, there are many other numerous perks to taking a seasonal job. First off, you’ll make money, which can be saved for the upcoming semester, but will also come in handy for the holiday shopping season.
Seasonal jobs will offer generous wages, too. According to the NRF, seasonal employees earn more per hour than regular retail workers, although, as with any job, pay rate is decided in correspondence with amount of experience, job type and area of the country. According to a 2005 survey, 33 percent of hiring managers expect to pay $10 or more per hour and 12 percent expect to pay $15 or more per hour, while 36 percent of hiring managers plan to pay between $6 and $8 per hour and 22 percent expect to pay between $8 and $10.
Most retailers also offer store discounts to employees, which can sometimes be for up to 40 or 50 percent.
Along with these financial benefits, seasonal employees also benefit from the experience of meeting new people, and the possibility of resume building and networking.
Also, if a seasonal employee enjoys his or her job, and shows interest, stability and responsibility, most employers give the opportunity to turn a short term holiday job into a full-time position. In fact, according to the NRF, many retailers use the holiday hiring season as a way to find new, talented employees who will stay long after the holiday season has come to an end.
Of course seasonal employment also has its downfalls. Seasonal employees are expected to have the flexibility to work both early and late hours, along with weekends, Black Friday, and often Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. However, if you plan to go away for the holidays, you may want to reconsider applying for a job during the holiday season. Not being able to work on the most important shopping days during the holiday season, could hurt your chances of landing a seasonal job.