Tis’ the Season for Seasonal Jobs

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There is always a time (or a few times) during the year when a whole crop of new jobs become available. During the summer months, as well as a few months leading up to the winter holidays, businesses need more employees. This is common in the transportation, retail and tourism industries, where business ramps up during the holiday seasons and summertime.

But any industry with a “busy” season will always look for extra hands to help with their operations. This is where you and seasonal jobs meet.

Whether you’re looking for a potential full-time career, a part-time job or just need extra income on the side, seasonal jobs (work from home or physical reporting) are an interesting option many are interested in. A recent survey from Monster, an online job website for employers and employees, revealed that 84 percent of their members plan to look for seasonal work, which is nearly a 60 percent increase from their prior polls.

But beyond the influx of holiday and retail jobs, many businesses are also preparing for year-end events (e.g. tax seasons or open enrollments), or they are preparing for rush online deliveries and orders.

So should you start Googling for “seasonal jobs near me” right now or should you postpone looking for a seasonal job? Before you make a decision or start your job hunt, here’s what you need to know.

What are Seasonal Jobs?

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Photo by Kyle Smith on Unsplash

Employment that doesn’t continue during the entire year but usually recurs during a specific season is called a seasonal job or seasonal work. Many positions are only needed during a certain time of the year so that the company need not hire long-term employees for short-term jobs.

Some occupations are seasonal based on geography. For instance, there is a large fishing and boating industry in the Great Lakes region during the summer season, but it is closed during the winter season. Employees in this industry can work in the northern climate during the warmer season and shift operations to the south for the colder months.

In terms of retail hiring, Christmas is the busiest period of the year. Employees hire more staff to handle the cash registers to accommodate the influx of holiday shoppers. The tourism industry also hires extra hands to handle the increase in holiday bookings. The same applies during the summer season.

There are different types of seasonal work, some of them are work-from-home whereas others require physical attendance.

Consider the following:

  • Many stores post “Help Wanted” signs on their doors and windows. If you’re interested in a seasonal retail job, walk around your local mall and drop by a shop to fill out applications. Major retail chains such as Target, Walmart and Macy’s accept online applications.
  • The temporary market is a massive industry that continues to grow. Temporary workers are often in-demand year-round but the needs vary according to the industry. Many temp agencies seek more staff for their clients during the holidays.
  • This is where seasonal winter and summer jobs are aplenty. Resorts and ski areas need extra help during the peak seasons. Typical positions include hotel and restaurant staff, ski instructors, patrolling personnel and more. Some businesses provide discounted tickets and housing for their employees.
  • COVID-19 has encouraged people to shop online instead, which increased the need for temporary workers. During the holiday season, package delivery services are hiring more packers, handlers, and drivers to accommodate the growing number of deliveries.

What are the Best Seasonal Jobs?

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If you are interested in applying for a seasonal job, but are unsure of what’s best for you, here are some jobs to think about.

Tax season jobs

You don’t have to be an accountant to apply for a seasonal tax job. Tax preparation companies hire thousands of employees to help them file and prepare taxes. Apart from tax preparers, auditors, marketing, administrative staff and data entry workers are also needed.

Summer camp jobs

If you are a teacher in need of a summer job, consider applying for a counselor job. Summer camp jobs are also ideal for a college student’s schedule. High school students can also apply as camp counselor-in-training or for other positions offered by the camp. In addition to counselors, summer camps also hire activity coordinators, food service, nurses and administrative staff.

Resort jobs

If you live in a winter or summer resort community or are interested in moving for the season, go for a resort job. You don’t need professional skiing skills to get hired at a ski resort. These resorts need people for the retail, good, hospitality, marketing and customer service aspects of the business.

Tour and travel jobs

Summer is the busiest season for tour and travel guide jobs. Your job could involve touring visitors around national parks, historical sites and other must-visit places. You are also responsible for organizing, planning or escorting tours. If you have great socialization skills and are organized with details, this seasonal job is for you.

How to Get Hired for Seasonal Work

Your first step is to start your job hunt as soon as possible. Businesses start hiring in the fall season for the holidays while summer hiring starts during the winter season. So if you want to score a position, apply for a job early.

Once you get an interview, be prepared and professional. Currently, many businesses are conducting virtual recruiting events and video interviews, but that doesn’t mean you can relax.

You can still effectively sell yourself online. Check your lighting, test your internet connection and pick a quiet place to have your interview. Practice for your interview, too. Also, prepare your paperwork and digitize all the papers needed for quick deliveries.

Are Seasonal Jobs Worth It?

man working on a desk
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

There are seasonal jobs that suit any skill or talent level. But a pressing question asked by interested applicants is, “Is it worth it?”

Before you submit your resume or fill out an application form, here are the pros and cons to keep in mind.

Pros:

    • You can build your resume. If you can find a seasonal job that fills the gaps on your resume, go for it. For example, if you are looking for a job as a retail manager but don’t have experience with the register, apply for a cashier or supervisory job at any local store open during the holidays. Working behind the counter for up to three months can fill the gap in your resume and prepare you for your next job.
    • Get a foot in the door. Additional income isn’t always the goal behind seasonal jobs. Perhaps, you want to work for a company but have been unable to get your foot in the door there. Start by applying for a seasonal job. If you can work for a few months and show the company what you can offer, the business may not want to let you go once the seasonal gig is over. While you may not be automatically accepted into a full-time job, you at least had the opportunity to show them what you’ve got.
    • Open yourself to more full-time job opportunities. For companies, hiring full-time employees from their seasonal staff is a good staffing move. Similar to how you get to try out a business, an employer can also see how well you’d fit in with them. If your goal is to get a full-time job eventually, put your best foot forward always, even if it’s just seasonal work.

Cons:

    • Low pay. Seasonal work pays lower compared to full-time work. You could receive minimum wage (or close to it). Seasonal jobs are ideal if you have a full-time job and are looking for extra spending cash. If you’re careful with your job search, you may find decent-paying seasonal work, but there aren’t many.
    • Little (if any) training. Not all seasonal jobs offer detailed training for their employees. Since the job offer is short-term, you’ll probably receive a quick how-to orientation and that’s it. For this reason, apply for seasonal work that you have some knowledge of.
    • Challenging work schedule. Some seasonal jobs have a tough work schedule. For example, holiday retail jobs tend to be the most demanding on evenings and weekends. If you’re balancing your seasonal job with your full-time job, you may give up all of your free time. If you’re not working full-time, you might end up working when you least want to.

The Bottom Line

No matter how you look at it, a seasonal job is still an opportunity. To make it work, find a position that suits your skills and income needs, as well as adds value to your career path. Before you say yes to a job, consider the hours, pays, what you can learn and the company you’ll be working for. Make your pros and cons list to figure out if a seasonal job is worth your time.

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