Author, speaker and columnist Vicki Salemi gave Studio 512 her professional advice on snagging a seasonal retail job for the 2021 holiday season.
When should we apply for seasonal work?
“Apply immediately. Even though we’re in the middle of October, companies are definitely hiring right now. Typically, Amazon, UPS, Target and Walmart make announcements about their hiring goals for seasonal part-time work, but they’re not the only places hiring.”
How should we set our expectations?
“Determine what you want to get out of it. For many people, it’s the paycheck first and foremost, for others it’s also the perks like a store discount. Other people want to develop new skills to potentially switch career paths. Be strategic when you’re pursuing a seasonal job. If you really want a discount for significant savings, then apply to jobs at stores where you’d be most likely to make the most significant purchases.”
If we’re just looking for a Christmas discount, how seriously should we take these jobs?
“Treat the process like you’re applying for your dream full-time job. Take it seriously. The process is the same: resume, interview, etc. Always send a thank you note afterward. There aren’t any shortcuts to the process, however the interview and job offer may be expedited since there’s a time frame to get people hired and trained to start working.”
Can you get hired without any prior experience?
“If you don’t have any prior retail experience, there’s a catch-22: it’s challenging to find a job without relevant experience, yet you often can’t get the experience without landing the job. So highlight your transferable skills. Review the job description, focus on skills they’re seeking and then tie it back to your resume to emphasize those same skills you already possess like customer service and being detail-oriented. Also, other seasonal jobs are available that are related to retail, like warehousing and logistics. If you aren’t a customer service person, check those, too!”
What will make us successful during the season?
“When you land the job, remember there’s no substitute for hard work. Demonstrate a hard work ethic, be punctual, be pleasant, and treat this like it’s your forever job, not a job that you may plan on only working in the next few weeks. That said, also enjoy it! It could be completely out of your comfort zone from your daily 9 to 5, you’ll meet new people and sport some new skills.
You never know — it may end up being a new career path! Be respectful of your bosses and colleagues, network while you’re there, ask for references when it’s done, and if you want to continue working there beyond the holidays or for seasonal work again in 2022, definitely communicate that to your boss and stay in touch.”
Vicki Salemi is a nationally recognized career expert for Monster. She’s an author, career coach, speaker, columnist, spokesperson and consultant. Vicki gives insight from her 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and human resources, and she is passionate about empowering people in their careers. Learn more about the resources and tips Vicki offers at VickiSalemi.com.