5 Tips for Finding Seasonal Work in Retail

Seasonal Work is great for earning extra cash, getting experience within a new industry, or getting your foot in the door at a new company for future opportunities. During the holidays or other major shopping times, retailers are in need of extra staff to accommodate the large amounts of traffic. In fact, in 2012 retailers planned on filling over 700,000 positions for seasonal employment and this year should be no different. 


Seasonal work is not just for students either. Many people look for seasonal work to get extra cash for holiday shopping, or just to take advantage of the extra work available. Others use seasonal work as an opportunity to get in the door at a retailer, and others still sign on for the employee discounts to use during the holiday season. Whatever reason you're looking for holiday work, here are the top five ways to secure seasonal work at a retail store.



Start Online


shopping center

Image via Flickr by Charlie Brewer



Your first step should be to start your search online. Searching online is quick and easy, and many jobs allow you to apply online without having to fill out the application by hand. Many job search sites offer seasonal and temporary employment as part of the search so you don't have to wade through all the full-time employment.


If you have a specific store in mind, head to its website and check out the careers page to see if the store is hiring for seasonal employment. You should ideally start your search a few months in advance. Many stores begin posting jobs months ahead of time to get properly prepared for the holiday season. You should check back, however, once the holidays are in full swing as some stores underestimate the amount of staff needed, and do a last-minute hiring as well.



Head to the Mall


Although not all retail stores are located in the mall, it is a good way to check out a lot of stores in a short amount of time. Check out stores you are interested in obtaining employment and ask to speak to the manager on duty to see if they are hiring. Try to plan it out specifically to speak to managers on a day that you are free and aren't just there shopping. Your outfit and attitude should show that you are professional and serious and not just popping in on a whim.


If there aren't any malls in your area, there are plenty of other retail opportunities available as well. If your city has a downtown area, try going into some of the smaller boutiques or shops in the area to ask about seasonal employment. These stores may be hiring as well and may be a bit less stressful than the mall or big retail stores.



Network and Reach Out


When you begin your search for seasonal employment, make sure your friends and family know that you are looking for work. It's also not a bad idea to put the message out on your social networking sites to see if any of your connections has any leads. Not only can friends and families offer information about working within certain companies, they may also be able to give you a referral to help you secure an interview with a company. Having someone vouch for you can make a huge difference in your job search. Many hiring managers use referrals during the hiring process to help find the best fit for the job and the company. 



Treat the Process like Full-Time Employment


A big mistake many job seekers make is not taking the process as seriously as they would if they were applying for a full-time job. Even though it's only seasonal work, you are still competing against many other applicants and a hiring manager wants to know that you will still be professional and work hard. Dress the part if you fill out applications in person.

Although filling out multiple applications can be tedious and sometimes even annoying, it's important to take your time and watch for errors and grammar. Even though you may be filling out a lot of applications, the hiring manager is only seeing the one you give to him or her and sloppy handwriting or half-filled out forms will not impress anyone.


Once you are called for that coveted interview, make sure you prepare like you would for a full-time job. Research the company and practice your answers with a friend. Being prepared helps to get rid of any jitters, and will let the interviewer know that you are serious about the job. With the high turnover in seasonal employment, employers want to know that you are serious and committed, and being ready and professional will help to convey that.



Be Professional and Work Hard


In some cases, companies will hire full-time employees from their seasonal employees. If you are interested in obtaining full-time employment, then make sure you standout and work hard during your employment to encourage a manager to consider you for full-time employment. Let the manager know that you are interested if the opportunity were to come up. Even if you're not looking for full-time work, it's important to take the job seriously, be on time, and work hard during your employment. You may need to use this employer as a reference for future employment opportunities, or want to work with the company again in the future.


Although job hunting can be stressful and time-consuming, the work that you put into it will pay off once you are hired on as a seasonal employee. It's important to take the process very seriously if you are serious about trying to get a job. From the first day until the end of the season, be professional and work hard to impress your coworkers and your managers. Job networking is a crucial part of many hiring processes, and you never know what kind of future opportunities may be given to you based on the impression you make during your seasonal employment. 



Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans



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