3 Essential Steps to Landing a Seasonal Job

Written by Miranda Pennington

1. Target the Right Employers

You can start by targeting large, nationwide retailers—Macy’s, Kohls, Walmart, and shipping companies like UPS or FedEx are expected to hire on thousands of extra hands this year. But don’t confine your search to the major retailers. Play to your strengths and apply to specialty groceries, caterers, household shops or nearby stores whose products you know well. Enjoying what you’re selling can partially make up for even the longest double shift!

There’s some promising news this year: temp job hourly rates at e-commerce companies (anything that delivers, from Best Buy to Amazon) will likely leap from the $9-$11 2014 average up to $15 or more, which is good news for the underemployed.

2. Develop Your Technical Skills

As you start filling out applications and creating a perfect retail resume, brush up on your technical skills—bracing for massive holiday crowds, many companies equip retail employees with iPads or other remote tech support devices to meet the needs of customers who mix their in-person and online shopping habits. You don’t want to seem confused if they put a tablet in your hand instead of the usual POS software. Emphasize any customer service experience, as well as organizational or administrative background you’ve had.

3. Practice for Your Interview

If you make it through the initial application process, be ready to wow in your interview. Read articles on different blogs about various interviewing techniques. Remember, employers prioritize reliability (including punctuality—so be early and be prepared), enthusiasm, and a great working attitude. Be flexible about scheduling, willing to take off-hours and pick up extra shifts, and be the best team player you know how to be. Even if they can’t retain you through the regular season, they’ll remember you next fall and you may luck into a recurring seasonal position.

Good luck and happy holiday hiring season!

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.