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‘Tis the season for holiday jobs

Young woman decorating a Christmas tree

Credit: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

Could you use some extra spending money this holiday season? If your answer is “yes,” and you’re willing to work for it instead of waiting for Santa to bring you some, there are many ways to add to your income during the coming month.

Whether you want to buy more Christmas presents, hit the Boxing Day sales, or pay off the holiday charges on your credit cards more quickly, the most obvious way to increase your income is with a part-time or full-time retail job.

Check the Calgary Sun ads and visit any major shopping mall where you’ll see “help wanted” signs in the windows of many stores.

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ prediction for holiday season 2014, “this year is set to boast the largest seasonal workforce since 2000.”

CareerBuilder’s most recent Job Forecast reported that two in five retailers (43 percent) plan to hire seasonal workers in 2014 – a 10 percent increase over last year.

“While retailers typically take center stage when it comes to seasonal employment, companies across industries are looking for extra hands on deck,” according to the report. “Twenty-six percent plan to hire seasonal employees, and 42 percent of these companies expect to transition some seasonal staff members into full-time, permanent roles.”

In addition to retail, the most popular positions identified for seasonal recruitment include hospitality, shipping/delivery, administrative/clerical, customer service, food preparation and sales.

There are lots of part-time opportunities in the food service and hospitality industry which need extra staff to help with holiday parties. Even offices need temporary workers to fill in for staff taking time off.

CareerBuilder recommends the following tips for those seeking seasonal employment:

Show enthusiasm. Saying the only reason you want the position is for the employee discount will not impress the hiring manager. Saying that you want to learn new skills, admire the company or product and enjoy working with customers gives you a much better chance of getting your foot in the door.

Dress the part. For example, if you are interviewing for a job in a retail clothing store, it’s a good idea to show up dressed in an outfit from that store.

Plan for the future. If you’re interested in working for the company on a more permanent basis, let the hiring manager know early, so they can keep you in mind. Also, make sure to show initiative – keep busy, ask questions, volunteer for projects, etc.

In addition to getting hired for a traditional job, you could create your own holiday season job.

At this time of year, the non-traditional career people ask us about most is personal shopping. Personal shoppers offer their services to people who would rather not hit the malls during this busy time of year. As a personal shopper, it will be your job to find gifts for the special people on your clients’ Christmas lists.

While you can get some great gift ideas from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Holiday Watch website at holiday.icsc.org, you’ll also want to ask each client questions such as:

  • Who are the gifts for (e.g. family, friends, employees)?
  • How many gifts will be needed in total?
  • Do you have any gifts in mind?
  • What is your budget per gift?
  • Do you want the items to be gift-wrapped?
  • Where do you want the gifts delivered?

You’ll also want to learn more about your client and each gift recipient’s preferences. Once you’ve picked out the perfect gifts, your clients will either go in person to get them or pay you in advance to buy the gifts for them.

But even if you love shopping so much you’d do it for free, as a personal shopper you will make money for your own holiday shopping. According to the FabJob Guide to Become a Personal Shopper, you could charge a percentage such as 10% to 25% of the price of merchandise you buy for your client, or an hourly rate such as $25 per hour.

If you’d rather avoid the malls yourself, but like the idea of creating your own holiday job, think about all the services that people can use at this time of year. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • putting up Christmas lights
  • decorating homes and offices
  • planning holiday parties
  • gift wrapping
  • cooking holiday meals
  • cleaning and organizing homes to prepare for visitors

Whether or not you decide to take on a holiday season job, I hope Santa is good to you.

Tag Goulet is co-founder of FabJob.com and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College which offers certificates for dream careers online at www.iapcollege.com.

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