Land a holiday job and keep it

By Jennie Bragg, producer

NEW YORK ( -- Despite unemployment remaining at 9.6% in October, there is a twinkle of holiday optimism for anyone out there looking for work right now.

It seems this will be the best season in three years for temporary workers.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, retailers expect to add 600,000 jobs for the holidays.

Last year, holiday retail hires topped off at 500,000. And in 2008, only 384,000 hires were made.

Seasonal job hunting

Retail is a great place to look for holiday employment, but it is certainly not the only place.

"Look to temp agencies who may need short-term workers in a wide variety of industries to cover workers taking holiday vacation, or to handle an increased workload," suggests Charles Purdy, senior editor for Monster + HotJobs.

Think about industries that tend to get busy around the holidays.

Catering companies, restaurants and delivery companies usually take on extra workers around this time of year.

Keep in mind, you are going to have to work the day after Thanksgiving or "black Friday."

If you have holiday travel plans, finding a temporary job is going to be tough.

Start looking now

The holiday hiring season has already begun, so hit the mall with a stack of resumes.

Applying in person is key for this type of work.

"The hiring process for a temporary retail job can be a lot faster," says Charles Purdy. "Sometimes, the person who's there first gets the job first."

And network the way you would for any other job.

Holiday social events are a great way to make new connections.

"Make a point to meet new people and get your 'elevator pitch' ready for these opportunities," says Purdy.

Turn it into full-time

A recent survey from Career Builder found that 40% of employers who are hiring seasonal workers are likely to transition some into full-time.

"As soon as you start a seasonal retail gig, you need to show the boss you're serious about converting your opportunity into a permanent position," advises Purdy. "Be 100% reliable and work all the hours you've agreed to and more, if possible."

The holiday season can be a crazy in many industries, especially retail.

Show an eagerness to learn and keep customers happy and you are likely to make any boss happy during this stressful time. And if you aren't able to turn your temp job into a full-time gig immediately following the holidays, don't lose touch with your manager or HR director.

"Let your supervisor know you're available to work during special sales and other peak times throughout the year," says Purdy.

Who knows what jobs might open up down the road.

Talkback: Have you tried to land a temporary job recently? What has been your experience? To top of page

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