'Tis the Season for the Holiday Job Search

Hiring for holiday jobs starts as early as summer! Access a bevy of resources focused on seasonal work for students and hit the ground running with your search.

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.

Related: How to Perfect the 5 Sections of a Cover Letter

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.

Related: 5 Quick Tips for Finding Your First 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.

Delivery services

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.

Related: How to Have a Productive High School Winter Break 

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.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About LiveCareer

Since 2005, LiveCareer’s team of career coaches, certified résumé writers, and savvy technologists have been developing career tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger résumés, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free résumé templates and résumé examples, writing guides, and an easy-to-use résumé builder.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

Rose Kearsley

Rose Kearsley

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has seriously helped me out a lot, especially when it comes to scholarships and studying for tests like the ACT. I also really love the financial help. It’s a little harder to pay because I live with a family of eight, so any help is appreciated. Thanks for this opportunity!

Dani York

Dani York

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped in my journey by comparing multiple colleges for my final decision. While looking at different colleges, I was able to compare the tuition expenses and that landed me with the college that I’m currently enrolled in, Western Kentucky University. Thank you!

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Cottey College

Nevada, MO

Belmont University

Nashville, TN

Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

Saint John's University

Collegeville, MN

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA