Leveraging Seasonal Work
I might have been smelling too much cologne, but I thought I was seeing double. Macy’s fragrance floor was covered with helpful staff. Then, I remembered. Of course – seasonal employment. During the holiday shopping season, many retail stores ramp up their hiring.
“We know that we have an advantage when we go through JVS. Their job seekers are always well prepared and ready to do a good job.” – John Lee, Human Resources Manager at Macy’s
JVS works with job seekers – both youth and adults – to help them fill out the online applications and practice for interviews. Last year, JVS honored one of our young job seekers, Widny Nazaire, who was hired by Uniqlo and is now a floor supervisor. It’s a great job for him while he continues his studies to become a physical therapist.
Taking on temporary work may seem like a step backwards for most people, but I encourage job seekers to get this work because it’s a great opportunity to learn new skills, network and gain new contacts, attain a great reference. To top it off, having a job to go to every day helps establish normalcy and routine.
Most seasonal jobs end in January, but there are many ways to leverage the energy of this work for your job search.
- Stop-Gap Strategy
Employers don’t typically like to see huge gaps in a resume. A seasonal position fills those and indicates to potential employers that you are serious about your job search. Your employment status is active and is an indicator that you are not idling away your time.
- You’ve Got New Tricks
Think about how you can apply new skills to other positions. So-Ky Loren, Store manager at Uniqlo, notes the care they take into training their staff.
“We want our customers to have the best experience at Uniqlo. Our customer service associates develop skills in sales and marketing, critical thinking, and active listening – skills that will continue to serve them for the rest of their lives.” – Loren
Rasmussen College conducted a survey and identified 10 most in-demand skill sets for 2014 that reinforces these skills as highly marketable.
Network, network, network! Your job may be over, but have you connected with your co-workers on LinkedIn? Have you explored their connections? Did you ask your supervisor for a recommendation, or provide a recommendation for someone else? I encourage job seekers to make as many connections as possible during their seasonal employment. In some instances, it has led to an interview down the road. For Joseph, who was working at Office Max, his retail work led to a job! (Go to 3:15 in the video) Dust off that elevator pitch, set up some coffee dates and keep that momentum going!
Four Benefits of Temporary Employment
As you move into the New Year, don’t be afraid of temporary work. Think of it as one of many tools to get you to your next step. There are so many benefits.
Obviously, earning an income is a great benefit of temporary work—at least for a while. It’s tough finding people willing to work during high seasons and many employers provide higher pay during peak work shifts.
- Temp to Perm
Employers will try to keep their most dedicated and hard-working employees, if a position is available.
While it might not be your intention to turn temporary work into a permanent position, forming great relations with your co-workers and supervisors helps when it’s time to search for a permanent gig. This is a chance to build professional references.
- Confidence Booster
It’s easy for job seekers to forget about their skills and abilities, especially if they have been out of work for a long time. I’ve seen seasonal work improve confidence among job seekers. It re-energizes their spirit, builds their network, and, more importantly, it reminds them that they have a lot to offer an employer.
Seasonal employment is not limited to sales and retail. Many corporate offices and organizations have staff members taking vacation during the holidays and, therefore, hire temporary workers to fill in. Temporary staffing agencies such as Manpower, Alan J. Blair, Pacific Coast Staffing, and Interim Staffing/Temporary Employment Program through UCSF (just to name a few), work with job seekers to fill temporary administrative positions, which can lead to full-time permanent employment.
Each season also brings different opportunities. For example, conventions peak during the summer months in San Francisco and many convention staffing agencies hire seasonal workers to staff conferences such as Dreamforce, VMworld, and Oracle OpenWorld. In collaboration with JVS, agencies such as Action Figures Staffing, Ovation Event Staffing, and Convention Staffing Solutions placed hundreds of job seekers in temporary convention positions.
Temporary employment is a great option for people looking for employment or a transition into a different career. From gaining new skills to expanding your network, there are many reasons to embrace this tool.