Getting a job is tough at any age, but it can feel especially difficult when you’re young and still in school – or even fresh out of it!
Scoring that seasonal retail gig over a busy holiday season feels like a home run when it happens. From October to January, companies add to their staff in preparation for increased customer demand and to cover for permanent employees’ vacation time. But what happens at the season’s end when business slows and the regular crew returns?
While companies mostly hire seasonal employees to fill in the holiday gap, they also look at seasonal hiring as an opportunity to eke out new retail talent. So, how do you put yourself at the top of the “hire me” list?
Express an interest
Take a moment to ensure that your employer knows that you’re interested in continuing to work for him or her after the holiday season.
Consider it a two-step process: First, be sure to express this goal right away – this sets up an expectation that you will be motivated and hardworking. The second step is to follow through by being a truly motivated, hardworking employee. Setting and fulfilling expectations is one of the most valuable and tangible ways to show an employer that you’re committed to the job.
Busy seasons can be unpredictable. Employers see everything from overwhelming sales numbers to unpredictable hours to employees calling in sick.
Show your dedication to the job by being flexible and reliable: show up on time, stay until all your work is done, help out other employees or departments, and take extra shifts. This will make you stand out from other seasonal employees who may not have the same commitment or may not be interested in continuing after the holidays.
Even if the position you were temporarily hired for isn’t available post-holiday season, there may be other positions in the same store that open up.
Show some versatility and demonstrate your capacity to work in a variety of roles. Pick an area in the store close to where you’re positioned – observe closely and ask questions. Pick up the slack if you see an odd job left undone, even if it’s outside your basic job description. When it’s quiet, seek additional training from other employees.
Lead the pack
This ties in with the point above, but is worthy of some individual discussion. Demonstrate not only initiative, but innovation as well.
Don’t discredit yourself as “just” a temporary employee. If you see something that could be done better or you have an idea to improve some aspect of the store, bring it to your supervisor’s attention – even if it’s not necessarily related to your immediate job duties. Proving yourself a forward-thinker with an eye for detail will help your employer see you as a valuable member of the team.
Build a network
While “networking” isn’t a term usually associated with retail jobs, building a network of friends among your co-workers may be invaluable when it comes to shifting a seasonal job to a full time position.
Take time to make friends with permanent staff members who may otherwise overlook temporary employees. When it comes time to evaluate who to hire from the seasonal staff, having a positive impression on the regular crew may swing the decision in your favour.
It’s a job. Treat it like one.
Experts agree that the best bit of advice for those aspiring for a permanent position after season’s end is to treat the job as though it already was one.
Combine all the points above and leave the word “temporary” at the door. Give your job the same care, consideration and commitment you would a full-time position. Be outstanding with customers and go above and beyond their expectations. Build relationships with your coworkers and with the job itself. If you envision yourself as a full-time employee, your boss will, too.