Make us your home page

10 tips for finding seasonal jobs

First, the bad news: This holiday season, competition for seasonal work is expected to be brutal. A new survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers revealed that employers plan to hire more than 40 percent fewer seasonal employees than they did in 2007. • "It's a rough market out there," said Cathy McCarthy of, the employment Web site that commissioned the survey. • But take heart, because there's some good news as well: If you do manage to land a seasonal job this year, your chances of having that job morph into a permanent position aren't bad. Of the managers surveyed, 51 percent said they plan to keep temporary workers on after the holiday rush ends. • Here are tips to help you find seasonal work this year, despite the grim outlook:

1 Start your job search now. October is the peak month for hiring seasonal workers. You could wait until November, of course, but the competition will be that much tougher then.

2 Focus on retail's bright spots. Competition can be intense because so many people try for part-time retail jobs to help them cover holiday expenses. But you may be able to find work at discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, dollar stores, convenience stores, craft stores, photo studios and toy stores. Toys "R" Us told it plans to hire 35,000 seasonal workers, for instance, and JCPenney Portraits said it needs people to take holiday photos.

3 Get presents where they need to go. You could land a part-time shipping-related job handling packages or working as a seasonal driver with an employer such as UPS. This also is a good time of year to help out with packaging, shipping and receiving at online retailers' warehouses and distribution centers. To look for such a position, do an Internet search for the word "warehouse jobs."

4 Help people with taxes. Tax preparation companies begin hiring people well before their busy season, which typically is February through April. You may feel unqualified for such a job, but don't. You'll be trained. "Jackson Hewitt, for example, starts hiring now because they have to put tax preparers through a 10-week training program," McCarthy said.

5 Remember food-related jobs. No matter how bad the economy is, people still eat. They just don't want to spend a ton of money on what they eat. With that in mind, you could look at fast-food restaurants, restaurants near malls, catering companies (which get busy this time of year) and in pizza delivery.

6 Return to where you've worked before. You will greatly increase your chances of landing a job. "A significant number of employers say, 'We like to rehire people we've already worked with,' " McCarthy said. "Basically, you're cheaper to train, you already know the system, and you already know how things work at that particular employer."

7 Have a targeted strategy. Be sure to apply for multiple jobs, not just one or two. Also, tailor your resume to the employer you're approaching, highlighting details about your work experience that are related to this particular position. "If it's a customer-service position, highlight your customer-service experience," McCarthy said. "Don't just cut and paste."

8 Demonstrate a positive attitude. In the survey of hiring managers, three in 10 said they viewed a positive attitude as the most important trait in any prospective employee. Employers also like to see previous experience, but an enthusiastic, can-do attitude can get you noticed more than you think.

9 Find other ways to shine. You also could make a lot of headway with potential employers by offering to be as flexible as possible with your work schedule, and by sending handwritten thank-you notes to those who interview you.

10 Take any job you get seriously. Even if a certain seasonal job doesn't tie in at all with your ultimate career goals, it's still providing you with a steady paycheck — and that's no small thing in an economy like this. Remember, this position could become permanent for you — or at the very least, it could lead to seasonal work again next year.

Laura T. Coffey can be reached at

10 tips for finding seasonal jobs 10/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  2. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  3. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  4. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]
  5. Cooking passion spurs owner to pull open AJ's Kitchen Drawer


    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Tampa in May 2016, AJ Albrecht spent four months traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia.

    AJs Kitchen Drawer offers a wide variety of unique kitchenware items, such as handcrafted knives and wooden items, as well as local gourmet products. Photo by Danielle Hauser