Christmas may still feel comfortably far away, but retail and customer service managers are hiring now for their Christmas holiday work force.
Christmas may still feel comfortably far away, but retail and customer service managers are hiring now for their Christmas holiday work force. In fact, many big box retailers break the season into Holiday I, Holiday II and Holiday III zones, and the first of those marketing zones starts next week. Retail managers want their holiday staff trained and ready to go long before Black Friday.
So if you need a little extra cash this holiday season, now is the time to be aggressively applying and interviewing for those holiday jobs. Most of these jobs are temporary and will end by mid-January. However, if you decide you enjoy the job, and prove yourself well during the holiday season, you have a good chance of being hired on-staff permanently.
Follow these tips to find the best holiday job to fit your skills and needs.
1. Consider the perks. Let's face it. Holiday retail is pretty much rock bottom. Customers are never more rude and condescending than during the holiday shopping rush. After really bad days, even the paycheck may seem too small to be worth it. Choose a job with perks that will make your job fun or at least make the hassle worthwhile. If you are technology junkie, consider working at a big box chain like Best Buy or Circuit City.
The discount is usually a percentage above cost, which means you can rack up with sweet discounts on accessories like cables, memory cards, cases, and blank media. Because these stores actually make very little revenue on the core products (TVs, cameras, gaming systems, etc.) the discount will be very small. But, still, the extra $100 of a $1000 HD TV or $5 off new-release DVDs may thrill you enough to make the closing duties worthwhile.
Service based jobs have other perks. Outback employees get 50 percent off their bill up to two people at any Outback. Many other restaurants offer similar discounts, so you and your date can eat well wherever you are. Day spas offer discounts and sometimes even free services to employees.
2. Make the training work for you. Look at the job requirements and training you will receive, even in a temporary job. Pick up some extra hours at a local recording studio and learn what you can. Sign on as a short-order cook and learn your favorite restaurants recipes. Apply as an assistant at a local photography studio and learn lighting during all those holiday portrait shoots.
Another example, take a look at big box technology stores. If you are chosen for a certain department's sales, you will receive extensive training in that department's technology. Pick a store that sells products for an industry you are interested in.
Considering photography? Train to sell cameras at Best Buy and you'll receive tons of knowledge and training on equipment. You'll also be exposed to the newest technology as it is released and get a chance to play with it when there are fewer customers.
Need to know more about computers or home theater installation? Train in one of those departments. Make your part-time job work for your future. Take advantage of the knowledge of your supervisors and ask questions about the technology. At the end of the holiday season you will be more empowered to make consumer choices about these confusing technologies than before.
3. Network, network, network. When you're in your late teens and early 20s, look for a part-time job with a later pay-off, to supplement that minimum wage check. Use your contact with the public to make connections that could benefit your future. Pick a job in an industry that you need connections in and then network like crazy. Talk to everyone. Learn as much as you can and ask questions.
Even if you are just working simple customer service at a retail store or fast food place, take advantage of every contact with the customers to get to know different people. I hand out examples of my photography work at the camera store I work in part-time. This has already helped booked me several portrait sessions which pay considerably more than my hourly wage. You never know who will walk through those doors and who might hire you into a better position later down the road.