Published October 17, 2011
The holiday season isn’t just when most retailers make the majority of their sales and revenue for the year – it’s also when they do the most hiring. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are projected to hire between 480,000 and 500,000 temporary workers this holiday season, in line with last year’s numbers.
Macy’s Inc (M), which operates Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, plans to hire roughly 78,000 temporary workers this season and Toys “R” Us and Kohl’s plan to hire around 40,000 temp workers each. The opportunities will be there, it will be up to you to make the most of it.
Get Your Foot in the Door
Although a holiday temping opportunity might not be the ideal option for advancing your career, it may be a small step in the right direction by getting your foot in the door in your targeted industry. Even if you’re not exceedingly fond of the job, keep an open mind and remember that it is always easier to get a job when you already have a job.
Businesses are hiring a wide variety of temp positions this season in addition to floor staff, including staff for their call centers, fulfillment, and for shipping and delivery departments. Also consider those companies that are peripheral to the retail industry like shipping and distribution companies. For example, shipping giants FedEx and UPS will be bringing on additional help this season. Halloween and Christmas pop-up stores are also good places to look for work, along with food service and catering services.
Make the Most of It
Many job seekers don’t realize that temp jobs can easily turn into a permanent one when the holiday season is over. Here’s how to make the most of seasonal employment:
Impress the Right People. Identify a company’s decision makers and get on their radar by doing your job well and with passion. Also let them know what other skills and experiences you have to offer to get noticed as someone with potential.
Build Your Network. Every person you interact with on the job is a potential gateway to opportunities. Make meaningful connections with coworkers, vendors, and customers. You never know who they may know. Make them your passive recruiters.
Look for the Up Sell. Every good salesperson is always looking for opportunities to up sell or add to a customer’s shopping cart. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to leverage your skills in ways your boss may not realize. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to educate them on where your true value lies.
Stay Connected. If a temp job still ends after the holidays, that doesn’t mean that your relationships should end. Be sure to keep in touch with everyone you worked with by using social media tools (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). If you made the right impression, keeping in touch will keep that good impression fresh and they'll think of you first when opportunities arise.
The bottom line is simple: Use temping as an opportunity to get a foot in the door. There are a lot of temping opportunities this season beyond retail. Keep your eyes open and be sure to make the most of every opportunity. You never know, a holiday temp job may end up being the gift that keeps on giving!
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook