Holiday season jobs being filled now

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 - Resume

CAPITAL REGION — It might still seem like summer outside, but now’s the time to sign up for a temporary holiday job. 

Hiring has been underway for weeks, and demand is high.

The usual corporate giants are each looking for enough seasonal workers nationwide to populate a mid-sized city: FedEx wants 50,000 or more. Macy’s seeks 80,000. UPS is trying to hire 95,000. Target needs 100,000.

All are taking applications now.

One notable exception is Walmart, which is giving its permanent workers extra hours this year, rather than trying to add seasonal workers.

But even without Walmart, there are plenty of holiday jobs out there.

Bob Nealon, Albany regional manager for Accountemps, said would-be seasonal workers can go to a hiring fair, look online or come to a temporary employment agency like his to find a seasonal gig.

Lots of employers other than big-box stores are hiring, he added, and for much more than retail jobs: Customer service representatives, accounts receivable professionals and e-marketing specialists all are in demand.

“A lot of people think retail first and foremost,” Nealon said, but the holiday rush is more than retail.

“It can be all of the above, really,” he added, and the hours can be part-time, full-time or overtime.

As all those consumer goods are being bought in November and December, there is a concurrent need to deliver them. A UPS spokesman said about 500 holiday-season employees are needed in the Capital Region alone. They’ll get anywhere from $10.20 an hour (package handlers) to $32 an hour (tractor-trailer drivers). 

About 35 percent of those seasonal workers will go on to become permanent UPS employees. Company CEO David Abney started as a part-timer, in fact.

Nealon, at Accountemps, said temporary seasonal work is a great way for employers and employees to see each other in action — sort of an audition.

“A lot of people that look for seasonal work are folks that are in a part-time status or people that are unemployed and looking to do something during their permanent job search,” he said.

For those who have been away from the working world a while, the temporary job becomes a chance to get a new work experience on their resume, update and refresh their skills, and meet some local hiring managers and human resources professionals.

“The goal for a lot of people is to just get out into the job market,” he added.

That said, it’s not a time for timidity or relaxation. Workplaces that hire seasonal help are doing so because they are stretched thin and extra-busy. “Hectic and disorganized” is a common situation, Nealon said.

Seasonal workers should take their jobs seriously and be professional about them, even though they may not be working at them very long, he added.

“Don’t undersell the importance of being professional,” he said. “You never know who you’ll meet.”

The companies that retain Accountemps to find seasonal workers for their seasonal surge generally need a roughly 20 percent boost in their workforce, Nealon said, and they outsource their hiring because they can’t take the time to do it themselves.

Wages generally run around the market rate or a little above.

Nealon said there are seasonal jobs through much of the year in various industries. Temporary jobs do not carry health insurance or other benefits, but benefits are available through a job agency if the temporary worker becomes an employee on a long-term basis.

Holiday job search tips

Some suggestions for people hoping to land temporary jobs during the holiday season:

  • Start looking before the holiday season if possible.
  • Be optimistic even if you start looking late — in the middle of the season, employers may find themselves understaffed.
  • Stand out as someone who can work well under the stress of the holiday rush. 
  • Be professional no matter what industry you’re looking to work in — it’s a “real job,” so dress and behave appropriately.
  • Be proactive and call back the managers of places where you’ve applied or interviewed but from whom there has been no response. 
  • Say you’re flexible and mean it — many employers are looking for night and weekend help through the holidays.
  • Work hard, be on time and make a good impression so that you can get a reference or even a permanent job out of the temporary stint.


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