Focus On: Christmas jobs
A seasonal job is a great way of easing the financial demands that Christmas brings. Many of the retailers will take on extra staff as early as September and in the run up to Christmas day to cope with the peak in shopping activity so if you’re looking for a job now is a great time to start and it can also open the door to a new career.
Who is recruiting?
The bigger retailers and high-street names make around 80% of their annual turnover at Christmas time so they’re hungry to recruit staff, quickly. Companies including The Body Shop, retailer of naturally inspired and ethically produced beauty and cosmetics products will take on staff to cope with the extra customer demands. This may involve working in the shops themselves at weekends or during peak periods as well as helping out in customer service or even at head office.
Similarly, Debenhams on the high-street, is preparing for a festive sprint to the tills and will be looking to take on extra staff in the run up to December 25.
Yet it’s not just retailers that will be looking for an extra pair of hands. The Royal Mail sort more than 130 million items – nearly double their normal workload in the run-up to Christmas and there will be a number of jobs up for grabs to help with the hike in postal activity.
The supermarkets will also be looking for seasonal staff, particularly on the tills and for stocking the shelves. Don’t neglect the smaller businesses, however, many start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises will also be hoping to boost profits during the festive season so once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, select your location and start searching as widely as possible.
What are employers looking for?
Employers of seasonal staff are looking for the same qualities as they do for permanent staff. Candidates must be keen, hard-working and able. You will need to settle into a seasonal job quickly, so be prepared to show how you can do this, preferably with examples from any jobs you’ve held in the past. You will also need to be flexible and show that you can adapt to changing demands from one day to the next.
You should prepare for your interview as you would for a full time or regular part time position. A CV may be required so get it up to date and try to tailor it to the job on offer. Have your references to hand and consider your childcare needs in advance of the interview. Many employers will be looking for you to start immediately so you may not have much notice before you start.
If the role on offer is during the daytime then consider after-school clubs or shared childminding perhaps with a local friend or neighbour who may also want to earn some extra money during the holidays. Alternatively ask your family to support you. Many of the seasonal jobs will pay at or just above the minimum wage particularly if they are in-store located, stacking shelves for example or helping out at the tills so it may not make financial sense to pay out for a nursery or a bespoke nanny if your children are very young.
Of course many of the jobs on offer may be at the weekends or during the evenings. Some shops will extend their opening hours into the evening to cope with demand and will therefore be looking for ‘after-hours’ workers. In this case you may be able to work out a childcare swap over with your partner if they work more regular hours.
Be realistic about what’s on offer – the work may be of a manual nature, lifting boxes or shifting stock for example so be sure that you understand what it involves and decide whether you are can match the demands physically.
You may want to apply for more than one position in case the competition is high. Many University students and other types of flexible workers will also be looking for seasonal jobs so try to be as organised as possible, prepare for the interview and explain to the recruiter why you are the best person for the job.
Opening new doors
Of course seasonal work is great for earning extra money but it is also a good way for mum returners to get a taster of going back to work after taking time out to have a family. It will look good on your CV and you may also gain some valuable new skills.
Importantly you will also make new contacts and friends and once you’ve got a foot in the door you can put the word out there that you are looking for a permanent job. The retailer may want to take you on permanently either in a full-time or a part-time capacity, so use the time you’ve got to impress them rather than just as a venture to earn extra cash.