• If you want a holiday job, offer to actually work on a holiday. Some of the hardest slots to fill at any company are holiday shifts. To make yourself more attractive as a seasonal worker, state you are available on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
• Apply for multiple shifts. The typical seasonal employee gets hired to work at least 15 hours a week, but many employers want longer hours than that. Applicants only looking to pick up some extra hours on a Saturday won’t be as attractive as someone available to plug more holes in a holiday schedule.
• Read your online application aloud before hitting “Submit.” Typos and poor grammar don’t help your case amid the crush of holiday applicants. But a well-worded application that reflects a candidate’s communication skills will stand out in a human-resources office. Hiring managers say the No. 1 skill they look for in a retail worker is the ability to be polite and engaging with customers.
• Don’t stop at the online application. Don’t be afraid to stop in and ask about a job, even if you’ve already applied online. But remember: the interview starts the moment you walk in the door, even if you’re just looking to pick up an application. Dress to impress.
• Look for jobs where you like to shop. The ideal holiday worker already knows a store from the customer’s point of view. Short of being a regular customer, look for holiday jobs that match your interests. If you’re an athlete, try a sports-supply shop. If you have young children, try a toy store or a junior clothing store.
• Remember the warehouses and the call centers. A retail background qualifies as seasonal-hire gold during the holidays, but companies need muscle and other skills. For UPS, many of its temporary workers will be handling packages. And with online sales driving the growth of even the smallest retailers, there’s more demand than ever for customer-service operators and data punchers.
• Wait to ask about a permanent position. If you’re applying for a temp position at a large company, chances are it will be looking to keep some of its seasonal workers once the holidays end. So there’s no need to ask about the possibility of extending your employment while applying.
Wait until you have some rapport with a manager before broaching the subject. Meanwhile, always be asking for extra tasks and more hours. Your hard work will be noticed, and your supervisor probably will be eager to keep you even before you ask.