Make the most of a seasonal job
By Matt Lowney

As the holiday season approaches many people are considering full or part time jobs. While these positions can provide extra money to buy gifts, they can also provide workers with the opportunity to learn new skills, make contact with future employment opportunities, and explore alternative career paths. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your seasonal job.

Learn new skills. While most seasonal during the holiday season are in retail many other employers are hiring to cover for holiday vacations by full time employees and for a myriad of other reasons. These positions may be a little bit more difficult to locate, but they can really provide the best opportunity for growing your career. Even if the seasonal position you accept is in retail, the skills you learn are very relatable to other fields. For example, retail requires great customer service and sales skills, which transfer to almost every field.

Future employment opportunities. Most employers look at their seasonal and part time work force as a ready source of trained employees when new positions open up. For this reason, you should focus on employers that may interest you for full time positions down the road when looking at seasonal opportunities. As a candidate you also have the opportunity to network with hiring managers and decision makers at your seasonal employer—a distinct advantage when new opportunities become available. You are able to show potential employers that you are an excellent employee. You should consider your seasonal job as on the job training.

Explore alternative career paths. Employers have a difficult time finding qualified candidates to fill their season opportunities. For this reason, they are much more willing to train employees during these times of labor shortage. As a result, you can learn new skills or apply old skills. If you are truly interested in breaking into a new field with a seasonal job you may have to do a lot of hunting or take an entry-level position.

Where to look for seasonal jobs? While most retailers and other companies that have a strong holiday demand aggressively recruit when they have needs, other employers may rely on internal employee referrals for their needs. So, like looking for a full time job, you should continually network to find new and interesting opportunities. Some companies even have a policy of hiring only internal referrals to fill seasonal needs. For example, car manufacturers have long looked at family and friends of line workers to fill in during summer vacation time.


Matt Lowney is a Nashville, Tenn., based corporate recruiter and career consultant specializing in the areas healthcare and information technology. If you would like any additional information, please send an e-mail to: [email protected]

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