The Seasonal Hiring Forecast, Plus Where to Find a Holiday Job

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CareerBuilder released its annual Seasonal Hiring Forecast this morning, and though it’s barely Halloween, many employers are already thinking well beyond Thanksgiving and are planning for their holiday hiring needs. Which means that if you’re planning to pad your pocket with some extra cash this holiday season, now is the time to start your job search.

“Job seekers looking for seasonal work should prepare their resumes and look into open positions sooner rather than later, as a significant number of employers start hiring for seasonal positions in October,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.

While the retail industry reported the most need for holiday workers — 33 percent of seasonal positions are expected to be in this industry — there are other options for those who feel that their stress thresholds aren’t high enough to handle holiday shoppers.

The following round out the top-five sectors in which employers plan to add seasonal workers:

CareerBuilder has already seen an uptick in companies posting seasonal positions in each of these areas. The following are just a sampling of companies that have already listed at least 100 seasonal openings:

(Hint: Click on company links for available positions, and click here for a list of 15 more companies that are currently hiring for the holidays.)

Office, office services
Location: Nationwide

Global Experience Specialist (GES)
Convention services
Location: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Dallas

Fashion retail
Location: New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas

Hewlett Packard
Location: Nationwide

Transportation and logistics
Location: Nationwide

Though a lot of companies are looking for seasonal help, the highly competitive state of the job market means that — while getting an early start will be helpful – that in itself won’t necessarily be enough to nail down a position.

Rasmussen offers the following tips to job seekers looking for seasonal work :

Don’t say you want the job for the discount. Even if it’s one of the main reasons you want to work this season, don’t tell your interviewer that you’re looking forward to buying your holiday gifts at 50 percent off or shipping them for free. Thirty-one percent of hiring managers said they’d be turned off by a candidate who seemed more excited about the discount than the job.

Show that you’re excited about the opportunity. Seasonal hiring managers who responded to the survey said that a lack of enthusiasm is the No. 1 deterrent to hiring a candidate.  Additionally, 40 percent of respondents said it was likely that they’d transition some of their seasonal hires into full-time employees, so demonstrating enthusiasm for the company and the role may make the employer more likely to keep you around in 2011.

Get to know the company before the interview. Many seasonal positions only last a few months, but that doesn’t mean the interview should be taken any less seriously. Thirty percent of seasonal hiring managers said they would be unlikely to hire a candidate that had little knowledge of the company or its products.

Watch what you wear. If you’re applying for a retail position, make sure you dress the part (i.e. no fishnets at a Gap interview).  Fifteen percent of hiring managers also said they’d be put off by a candidate who showed up in a competitor’s ensemble.

Will you be looking for work this holiday season? Tell us about your plans in the comments section.

  1. Hoping to find a Weekends only holiday job. I will drop applications off this weekend at Plato’s Hot Topic, and the Santa Clause picture booth at the mall.

      • I would not hire you. You cant even punctuate your sentences with correct grammar. Why would I hire you if you dont even posses basic high school English skills. I can understand why you work at Wendy’s now.

  2. I took this advice last year, and picked up a seasonal job at World Market on top of my other job. They liked me enough to keep me year-round. Being hired for seasonal staff definitely does have its benefits!

  3. Applied at both Kirkland’s and Pier 1 at the beginning of October for seasonal weekend work. Had to follow up multiple times with both, but never got called for an interview. Both said positions had been filled. I felt like they didn’t even give me a chance. It’s difficult to fill out an application for this type of position when you already have a full-time job. Very disappoiting process.

  4. I applied at Macys for seasonal work for 3 locations in New York. I applied online and submitted my resume. I am overqualified but I thought if I apply and I am very flexible with my time I would get an interview. I just want to occupy my time while I look for work in my field. Got an e-mail back the next day that stated my qualifications do not fit any positions they have available at this time. I think I will apply in person. Just to note you have to answer about 50 questions on customer service situations.

    • I had the same experience applying for a job at Kmart. And those 50 or more questions are not easy. I felt like an idiot, that I can’t even land a weekend job to pack shelves, even though I’m qualified and capable of so much more. Why is it so hard?

      • That’s exactly my question? I just finished a nursing program, but yet I can’t get any kind of job. I’m not picky, I am willing to do anything at this point. How difficult can it be to fold clothes, and greet people??

      • I know what you mean. I filled those out as well hoping to find a job for some extra cash. I have two masters and those fifty something questions on ethics and customer service left me feeling like an idiot. Plus none of those jobs even called me.

    • Jacqueline:

      You’re right about the customer service/work ethic questionnaires. And the thing with them is that you nearly always have to lie to have a chance. The phrasing is often slanted.

      Example: “You’ve finished a task. Do you 1.) figure that you deserve a break and do nothing; 2.) try to find something that needs to be done; or 3.) wait for the supervisor to tell you what to do next.”

      Well … the only answer that makes you look good is 2. If you sincerely answer 1, you look lazy. If you sincerely answer 3, you look passive at best — or seem to lack initiative and need to be led around by the nose.

      So even if you sincerely feel 1 or 3, do you think they’ll make you look good? So the only answer that will advance your cause is 2. Because the employer wants ONLY an employee that would answer 2.

      Just an observation from my experience. :)

      • Exactly. I’ve done these tests before. Give the answer they want, never what you really think. In my case, with answers 1 to 4, too many 2′s or 3′s causes you to fail. Now, in a situation where they want you, you’ll just do the test again, basically lying through your teeth. Very lame, but that’s US industry today.

        • I agree. It makes you wonder how on earth some of the employees in these companies got their positions. I felt like an idiot taking those stupid questionaires.

    • I was hired for seasonal help at Macy’s last year and was kept on. Not sure why you were not hired as our store has hired about 20 part time seasonal people so far this year and none of them know anything about retail and are as dumb as rocks. I have no idea why they would hire these young kids with no experience when there are experienced and good people looking for work. Don’t get too excited to work there anyway, I am usually listed as in the top ten sales people in our store and I still make minimun wage after being there one year. But at least thankful that I have a job at all.

  5. Hello, I Jeffrey H. Sams is looking for part-time work involving consumers and/or employees with problem resolutions. I have a Master’s degree in Human Services and I have a Master’s level certification as a Human Services Broad Certified Practitioner. I also have approximately 20 years experience in the assessment of people and problem solving. A resume can be forwarded to anyone of interest. Thank you in advance for your interest.

    • Jeffrey-

      No offense, but your lack of spelling and grammar are problems that require resolution before you can expect to resolve problems for anyone else.

  6. Julie, I am finding the same sort of circumstances as you. Followed up multiple times only to be told that they filled the positions. On an out of the box note, I’ve listed all the places that I like to shop at currently. Best wishes to you in your search.

  7. To the ladies looking for a 2nd job. With unemployment so high, there are many people applying for these PT positions that have no other job. Employers may be hiring these people over you as they may feel the unemployed may be more focused on this part-time job. Can’t feel bad about yourself, it is just a tough time for job hunting.

  8. Just a short note. As an out-of-work engineer, holiday hiring does have its plusses and minuses. However, given the very high unemployment situation, competition will be very intense this year for the available holiday jobs that are out there. Also, in my situation, I have been turned down for retail jobs due to being an overqualified engineer, and age discrimination. I do not hold too much hope for this type of work for me. Thems are the breaks.

    Henry G.

  9. I am very interested in working a seasonal position in any capacity, Customer Service, Special Events, Sales Associate or other types of position needing a very dedicated and ambitious individual. I feel strongly that seasonal positions are just as important as a full time or corporate employment, and would be as professional and respectful to a company that would choose me for employment no matter how long the position may last. I have “old school” work ethic and am mature about my responsibilities in any position. Cell phones are unacceptable to me during work hours and I do not bring personal problems to work. I am a hard worker, flexible, team player and extremely creative and well versed on many duties of an employee. Seasonal jobs are for making the holidays fun for customers and less stressful during this time in our lives. Excellent customer service would be the main focus in any position.

  10. I have a Masters degree and I am retired from the military. With all of my education and my experience, I am still looking for a career. I know I will find that organization that is in need of my particular skills.

    • Check with the VA for openings and employment assistance. There are also some search engines that are really helpful:

      I’ve also noticed that the good companies are listing openings on their websites only,so researching your favorite companies and checking their sites for openings would be well worth it.Good luck!

  11. William Covington
    1142 East Henry Street
    Linden,New Jersey 07036

    Objective to enter the Building and Maintenance Field

    Education To graduate from Linden High School
    6/11 with diploma
    courses of study: Academic

    Middlesex county vo-tech woodbrige.
    one year building maintenance
    graduate 6/11 with certficate of attendance

    Union County Vo-Tech,Scotch Plains.
    One year of auto-tech.

    Experience Newark Airport,Newark,NJ
    ASIG Ground Service,July’10-Sept’10
    Responsible of handing pasages bags
    to other planes.

    Jersey Garden,Mall Elizabeth NJ,Oct’08-Nov’09
    Amusement Ride Technician.Responsible for operating
    rides and safety of young children, and clean-up at of shift.

    Summer program job
    City of Linden Dept. For Public Works.
    June,’09-Aug,’ amintain police cars.

    Qualifications: Working with hands,fixing things,
    basic circuitry skills,lighting
    installation,sheetrock installation


    Lisa William-Warner,MSW,LCSW
    School Socail Worker
    Linden High School

  12. To Jeffrey H. Sams: No disrespect intended, but when you say that “you is looking” (or, more specifically, “I is looking”) for anything… regardless of the remainder of the message (regardless of how qualified you may be) holds little credibility. Basic grammar counts! ;)

    • Hello Jason, I did recognize my grammatical mistake after posting. However, if you are going to become a grammarian, at least state the proper sentence structure that should have been used. (e.g. am in place of is). You need to stay focus on securing employment instead of undertaking unsuccessfully to address one’s grammatical faults. Good Luck with your job search. Jeffrey H. S.

  13. Yes, Jason, I totally agree with you. Times are tough for everyone to find work. Good grammar, good grooming, appropriately dressed, are all necessary attributes to landing and keeping a job. I am in my mid-fifties and with all my varied work experiences for the past thirty-five years, all I can find are part-time minimum wage jobs, with no benefits. (And I have a college degree!) If people are weak in their language skills, it’s a good idea to get some help in that area to be more employable! Good suggestion! And I don’t believe you were disrespectful, but just being honest and trying to help…well done!

  14. New on this board my name is Danny and I have 30 + years in the trucking Driver dispatch and safety. Can’t seem to get my feet in the doors of any

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