As much as we don’t want to hear about it, the time is here for holiday hiring. If you’re looking for work, or just a little extra cash, here are a few pointers on how to land seasonal employment.

Start Now

I was out shopping recently and noticed that there are signs in the windows all over the place that are advertising for help wanted. These are good signs as the Christmas shopping season looks to be busier than expected, so it’s a good idea to start now. Start looking around and block out a good chunk of time to go in and fill out applications. It’s also a good idea to do it in the morning as that’s when many managers are there to open the stores and it’s not quite as busy. Also, if you don’t find anything right now, ask in November if the store is hiring. I know from working my way through school in a retail position, sometimes certain stores can get slammed during the holiday season and need more help than they thought, so don’t think you missed the boat if you didn’t get hired right away.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Speaking of starting early, don’t forget that it’s also important to stay ahead of the game. Keep track of where you’ve applied, and the names of the supervisors. After you’ve applied, give it a week or so and start doing follow up calls around to the places that you’ve applied and start to build a relationship with the person in charge of hiring. That way, you’ll be first in mind when the time comes to make a decision. This is especially true if there’s somewhere you really want to work. I did this for a bartending gig I wanted. I was applying around to different places, but I was most in love with the bartending job, so I applied, waited exactly a week, called when the place opened and was called in for an interview that day and was on the staff before closing time.

Be Professional

There’s nothing worse than someone who knows where they are is a part-time-in-between-quick-cash job and they’re out of there when they find something better. Even if that’s your objective, don’t let them know that. It’s important to be professional no matter where you work. I worked at a place like that with a few girls who were less than excited to be there and they let it show. I hated my job but I figured that being busy was a better way to pass the time, so as soon as I got there and clocked in, I went to town: wiping tables, cleaning fixtures, picking up glasses, washing dishes; etc. Shortly after I started, I got a raise, promoted to head waitress and server trainer. I had my pick of the shifts and the manager’s ear if there was anything that needs taking care of. Of course I had to do it with my butt hanging out, but I was professional nonetheless.

Turn It Into Regular Work

If you’re really looking for full time work, accept the part time job, but work hard, show up on time and don’t call in sick if you can help it. It’s important to leave a good impression with the supervisors. That’s the key to keeping your position after the rush is over, and it’s also a good way to be first when it comes to promoting someone. They’re more likely to promote someone who possesses a good work ethic. It happened for me when I worked at the Mall of America. I started in September and came every day ready to work, had a good attitude, was never late and volunteered for extra work. I stayed on through the holidays and worked there until the end of April when I graduated. When I needed work a few years later, I walked in, told my manager Julie of my predicament and she threw a shirt at me. I was hired back on the spot.

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