As the temperature drops and the weather begins to change, companies are using the days of early fall to prepare themselves for the holiday rush. With this push, they turn their sights toward seasonal and contract hiring in nearly every industry, as well as an increased emphasis on hiring before the end of the year. Knowing where the opportunities lie, and what employers expect from their applicants, will help those job searching to land themselves a position.
CareerBuilder's annual survey on the topic, to start, has found that retailers are stocking up on staff before the holidays more than ever. For the second-straight year, retail employers plan to add more staff, as nearly 40 percent of them are aiming toward expansions of payrolls. Another 18 percent of IT employers and 16 percent of leisure and hospitality, as well as financial services companies, plan to bring more workers into their companies.
More promising for those striving to gain seasonal work is that nearly half of all seasonal employers plan to transition at least some of their staff into permanent positions, a 10 percent growth over last year.
"Seasonal work is a good way for job seekers to network, showcase their abilities and secure a permanent position in a variety of industries," said CareerBuilder's North American president Brent Rasmussen.
How to set yourself apart
In addition to the survey results, CareerBuilder also revealed a number of factors that often determine whether an employee will be hired or not, some of which may not have been considered by those trying to find a job.
Applying early is one of the most important things to consider when seeking out seasonal jobs. Sixty-three percent of seasonal employees are hired, or at least have submitted their applications, by the end of October. The later in the year it gets, the more difficult hiring prospects can become, according to the source - only 10 percent of hiring managers in seasonal work will add to their staffs after December 1.
If you're searching for an opportunity for a seasonal or contract job to bloom into a full-time position, it's highly recommended by 53 percent of employers that applicants inform managers early about their long-term intentions, as their applications will be looked upon more strongly. Another 33 percent of leaders said they discount applicants who don't research the company they aim to work for, while 39 percent are immediately turned off by applicants who ask about the potential for an employee discount.
The Better Business Bureau has prepared its own advice for hopeful job seekers, which can help when it comes time to apply or interview. Working where you like to shop the most is one helpful way to boost chances, as it's likely that an applicant will know a decent amount about their products, sales and even the store layout, all of which can stand as a good reinforcement of skills.
Flexibility is a must when applying and when working throughout the season, as well. While full-time employees normally get to work hours they're most comfortable with, that's not a luxury that seasonal workers can take advantage of. Instead, they should try their hardest to be available as much as possible, and should let employers know about available hours if they have additional commitments or jobs they need to work. Being open on holidays, weekends and nights will be important, especially considering the crunches that normally arise near Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving, Black Friday in particular.