While the holidays may not be on your mind as you relax at the beach this summer, they’re on the mind of employers. In some industries, employers begin posting holiday job opportunities as early as July, making it more important than ever for students interested in seasonal work to get a jump on the application process. If you know you’ll need a job over winter break, how do you prepare and where do you look? We’ve pulled together a bevy of tips and resources on holiday jobs for students to help you beat out the competition and nab a great seasonal job.
Job search tips
The job search takes a little finessing to expedite it efficiently and with minimal stress. Use the tips below to make the process smoother and more successful.
Study the job ad
The best way to get a holiday job you enjoy is to study the job ad. Look at the required qualifications in the ad. If you meet them, take the time to personalize your application materials to showcase your relevant skills.
Build a great résumé
Even for students who may have limited (or no) work experience, creating a résumé is a critical first step in the search for seasonal work. There are many resources online that will teach you the basics of how to write a résumé. Or, if you’re pinched for time and want an easy-to-use tool to guide you through the necessary steps, a résumé builder can help.
Craft a cover letter
While not all seasonal jobs will require a cover letter, it’s always a good idea to include one if you have the opportunity to do so. Employers use cover letters to help them distinguish between candidates with similar qualifications and backgrounds, which means a well-written cover letter can help you beat the competition.
Start your search early
Online job boards like Indeed and Snagajob.com have loads of temporary and holiday roles for students. Using these resources makes it super easy to apply to multiple positions, but time isn’t on your side. Since many employers have their seasonal hiring complete by the fall, you’ll want to get your applications out sooner rather than later.
Focus on a particular industry
While it might be tempting to apply for every available job, there are benefits to zeroing in on a particular industry. First, it will narrow your search and help you write stronger application materials if they’re industry specific. Second, they can help you get another job down the road. How? If you’re a college student studying Early Child Development to become a teacher, for example, a seasonal job as a kids’ ski instructor can be a great addition to your résumé, as it gives you exposure to teaching groups of children. Finding a holiday job in your industry can also create networking opportunities that will come in handy after you graduate.
Be clear on your expectations and availability
While seasonal work can be a great way to put some extra cash in your bank account, it can also be challenging. Working a seasonal job often means working on or around the holidays, which could affect your own holiday plans. Holiday jobs for students can also be hectic and stressful, with long hours and lots of interaction with the general public. Being clear on what you can handle and honest about your availability is critical when applying for—and accepting—a holiday position. After all, your goal is to create opportunities for yourself, not burn bridges.
Have a great attitude
When hiring seasonal workers, employers usually aren’t expecting you to have a lot of work experience, but they do expect you to have a positive attitude and the potential to learn. During the interview process and while on the job, the best way to make the most of the opportunity is to show up on time with a can-do attitude and a smile on your face. These qualities will go a long way with employers who may consider you for future work down the road if you do a great job.
Where to look for seasonal work
While this year’s seasonal hiring projections aren’t yet available, if recent years were any indication, this should be a banner year for holiday hiring. When it comes to seasonal jobs for students, here are some opportunities to consider as you begin your search.
If you live to ski or snowboard, a resort job over the holidays might be perfect for you. From instructors to sales to food and beverage roles, there is something for everyone who wants to work at a ski resort, many of which are booming over the holidays. Check out CoolWorks.com for information about resort jobs in your area.
If you want to work at a local retail business, chances are you’ll need to pound the pavement with your new résumé in hand to inquire about opportunities for seasonal work. However, if you’d like to work for a chain store, sites like Indeed are great resources for uncovering opportunities. If you have a specific company in mind, go directly to the job board on the company’s website to find out how to apply. Don’t enjoy sales? Large retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon often have a variety of opportunities for seasonal workers in distribution centers and fulfillment facilities.
The holidays are all about shopping, shopping, shopping, which means they are also all about deliveries. Companies like UPS and FedEx hire a considerable number of seasonal workers to help out with the increased demand for shipments during the holidays.
Finding work over the holidays is smart for your résumé and your wallet when you go back to school. Use this advice and these resources to prep for the job search to put yourself in a good spot.
Find more job search tips to help you land a great position in our Internships and Careers section.