By Caroline McGlaun, Regional Vice President, Accountemps Special for USDR
Holiday hiring is underway and the outlook for those looking to land a seasonal gig is bright. According to a new report from CareerBuilder, 33 percent of employers plan to add seasonal positions in the next three months – that’s up from 26 percent last year. This type of strategic staffing allows companies to adapt to seasonal workloads without assuming the fixed costs associated with hiring full-time staff until there is a sustainable need to do so.
On the flip side, seasonal work can be a great way for job seekers to earn an income while exploring different work environments and learning new skills. Not to mention, many seasonal jobs have the potential to turn in to a full-time position, depending on the company’s needs and the individual’s performance.
However, job seekers don’t have to be in retail to find a seasonal job – year-end projects, budgeting for 2016, and holiday time-off are all driving the demand for additional help. So what can job seekers do to land a seasonal job? Here are some tips:
Think beyond retail. Many professionals assume seasonal opportunities are only available in stores and restaurants. However, many companies hire temporary workers around the holidays to cover for full-time employees who are on vacation or require extra hands to compete year-end projects. The point being, the market for seasonal work may be far larger than you realize, so don’t limit your sights.
Start applying now. In order to secure the best people, many companies start looking for temporary professionals as early as October. And the competition for these jobs can be high, so it’s always best to get an early start.
Put on the polish. Your resume and cover letter should be error-free. You should be well groomed for the interview and wear proper business attire. Do your prep-work before the interview and ask relevant questions to demonstrate your interest in the position and company.
Return to former employers. If you’ve worked for a company on a temporary basis in the past, reach out to your former manager to see if he or she is looking for seasonal help.
Show hiring managers you have what they want. Companies that hire seasonal professionals want workers who are flexible — shifts may start or end at odd hours, for example, and managers often need people who are willing to go beyond the job description. Firms also seek temporary employees who take the job seriously even though the assignment may last only a few weeks. Highlight these qualities in your resume and during the interview.
Register with a staffing agency. Staffing firms have inside knowledge about what companies are hiring and can match your skills with the right position.
Five seasonal jobs outside of retail:
- Customer Service Representative. Needed to help process customer requests and handle questions by phone related to not only retail, but also healthcare/open enrollment projects.
- Accounts Receivable Clerk. A variety of companies hire seasonal workers to help collect outstanding balances and get financials in order at year-end.
- Contracts Administrator. Many contracts expire or need renewal at year-end, so companies will hire contracts administrators to handle the review, abstraction and negotiation of these agreements.
- Office Assistant/Data Entry Specialist. These professionals are needed to help handle the paperwork that results from benefits open enrollment period at year-end.
- Collections Representative. Many companies need additional help at year-end to collect outstanding balances.
If you’re interested in turning your seasonal job in to a full time position, be up front about your intentions. Make sure your employer knows that you ultimately would like to land a full-time job. In addition, don’t treat it like a temporary job. Go the extra mile, and volunteer for projects outside of your job description, as appropriate.
Caroline McGlaun is the regional vice president for Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing company for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals on a temporary basis. Based in Houston, Texas, McGlaun has more than 15 years’ experience in accounting and administrative staffing. For more information, visit www.roberthalf.com/accountemps.