Apply early for holiday season jobs

Could you use some extra spending money for the 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 November and December.

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.

While the economy may have cooled recently, many retailers still need extra help for the holidays. As reported in a recent seasonal hiring survey, companies “need extra hands on deck to meet increased business demands associated with the holidays and end-of-the-year wrap-ups.”

In addition to retail, the most popular positions identified for seasonal employment include hospitality, administrative, customer service, food preparation, and sales. For example, there are part-time opportunities in the food service and hospitality industry which needs extra staff to help with holiday parties. Even offices need temporary workers to fill in for staff taking time off.

As well as financial rewards, a seasonal job may give you the opportunity to make contacts, learn new skills, and build your resume. If you’re considering starting your own business, a part-time holiday season job could give you hands-on experience with the type of business you’re thinking of starting.

CareerBuilder’s career advisors recommend the following tips for those seeking seasonal employment.

Start applying early

More than one-third of hiring managers fill their open positions within two weeks.

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.

Instead of finding a job with one company, another option is to start your own business and work for a variety of clients, providing services that busy people and businesses need at this time of year. For example, you might get hired as a:

  • Personal Shopper – Christmas shopping for individuals or buying gifts for companies to give to their clients.
  • Interior Decorator – decorating businesses and homes for the holidays
  • Party Planner – planning Christmas parties and other holiday events
  • Caterer – providing food for those holiday parties
  • Gift Basket Maker – making gift baskets for companies to give to clients
  • Any other service people need during the holidays such as gift wrapping, baking cookies, or putting up and taking down Christmas lights.


If you are currently employed, you don’t need to quit your job to start a holiday season business. In most cases, you should be able to do the work evenings or weekends, or otherwise fit it in around your regular job.

To start your own holiday business, first decide what type of services you want to offer and what fees you will charge. For most services you can charge by the hour and have clients pay in advance for expenses (i.e. anything need to buy for them such as gifts or food).

To market your business, you can advertise online or prepare a flyer explaining what services you are offering. Then tell people (friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances) that you are available to help out with the tasks they don’t want to do, and ask them to spread the word. You might be surprised at how many people need help during the holidays, and will gladly pay for a few hours of your time.

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