Make us your home page
Jobs | Holiday employment

Increase your chances of getting hired for the holidays

Associated Press

If you're hunting for holiday work, you may have better luck this year but pickings will still be slim for would-be workers hoping to snag extra Christmas cash. But there are retail gigs if you play your cards right, and many don't require years of experience behind a register. Here are tips from experts to make your application rise to the top.

Customer service. Whether you have actual retail experience or you showcase your people skills, play up previous work that relates to customer service.

"Customer service experience is, by far, the most important criterion that everyone is looking for," said Patrick Tomlinson, senior vice president of Aon, in Chicago.

Talk up how your personality lets you remain calm in high-stress situations (Black Friday, anyone?) and show empathy to frazzled and frustrated shoppers. If your work experience includes internal communications or anything that put you in touch with irate clients — even years ago — highlight that on your application or during an interview.

Experience not needed. Some store managers aren't just looking for retail veterans. Sometimes, a good personality and a strong work ethic can get you the job.

"We're looking for hardworking, reliable employees who want to help shoppers find the perfect gift for the special child in their lives," said spokeswoman Jennifer Albano at Toys "R" Us Inc. The country's largest toy store plans to hire about 35,000 seasonal employees this year to do everything from stock shelves to ring up sales.

The chain wants to hire people who love customers and a fast-paced atmosphere for temporary sales jobs, and detail-focused organizers to work behind the scenes. Albano said Toys "R" Us considers retail experience a plus but not a requirement.

Human connections. You can apply for a job in seconds online, but researchers found merchants were most likely to hire people referred by employees and walk-ins who apply.

That's because a manager who hears a current employee talk up a candidate can ask questions and learn why someone might be a good fit. Face-to-face time with a manager is also helpful, Tomlinson said, but make sure you visit when business isn't brisk so the manager has time to talk with you.

Flexibility. One of the fastest ways to get your application tossed in the trash is to limit the days or times you can work. The more limitations — say, being available alternate Monday afternoons — the harder it is for retailers to schedule you.

Sometimes child care, school or your regular job can preclude being available around the clock. But the more flexible and available you are, the better your chance of getting hired.

Start small. Big box stores have big established work forces, and that can mean they need less part-time holiday help.

Check out locally owned stores and smaller chains that have smaller full-time staffs. Discounters and other low-price stores are expected to do relatively well as shoppers try to save cash while still giving gifts.

Increase your chances of getting hired for the holidays 11/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2009 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls


    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]