How to apply for one of the 65,000 jobs at Macy's

little girl mailing letter to santa at Macy'sMacy's department stores announced Thursday that it is planning to hire 65,000 seasonal workers to staff up during the end-of-the year holidays. That's slightly more than last year, which I hope is a good economic sign.

When I was in high school, college and for a couple of years right out of school, I worked for Federated Department Stores, Macy's former identity, During several years' worth of holidays, I took the Santa Claus photos -- you know the kids lined up around the corner waiting to sit on Santa's lap and get their picture taken. As the photographer, my main job was to calm the kids long enough to get a picture of them in something other than mid-scream. I was young and tireless and that's what it took.

Full of nostalgia, I called Macy's corporate office for a few hints on what makes a good seasonal employee, The company sent some basic information and made the process sound interesting, so just for the heck of it, I went to Macy's online job site and applied. Well, I filled out the application and stopped just short of applying. I think I'm too old these days to take Santa Claus pictures.

But filling out the application did provide me with some information that might save someone who needs a job a little time.

In most cases, filling out the online form is best way to put in an application -- better than getting all dressed up and going to the store where you want to work. Many stores don't even have personnel offices.

Before I walk you through the process, here are some basics.
  • Traditionally, most of the jobs are in retail sales and pay minimum wage -- maybe slightly more.
  • Seasonal employees get an employee discount on merchandise purchases. How much varies.
  • This year, Macy's said that there also will be seasonal positions available in distribution, online fulfillment and call centers. Many of these jobs, the company says, will have early morning hours.
  • Some of these jobs will turn into continuing employment after the holidays. Or as Macy's says, "Seasonal employment is a good opportunity for an associate and the company to get to know each other."
  • Once Macy's gets your resume and has some interest in hiring you, it will send you an e-mail invitation to be interviewed -- probably within a next week or two after you submit your application, previous seasonal employees say.
Start the application process by searching for your state on the job site, but don't put anything in JOB FUNCTION so all the jobs come up. Look through them until you see a position at a site near you that you might like. You can apply for multiple positions, but you have to do it one job at a time. So unless you have lots more patience than I do, take your best shot.

You can begin by uploading a resume. Uploading a resume will usually give you more opportunities to tell Macy's about your experience and skills. But if you don't have a resume and don't feel comfortable creating one for this application, you can simply fill out the form.

The next question asks you how you heard about the job. One option is Job Board/Internet. If you choose that, It will ask you which job board/Internet. is one of the options, so if you heard about working at Macy's for the holidays here on, click on that.

After you give Macy's some basic information about yourself -- like your name, address and phone number -- the application asks you to choose the hours and shifts you'll be available. Willingness to work lousy hours, including holidays and the overnight schedule available at some locales, could increase your chances of being hired, Macy's said in an e-mail. If you're really flexible about hours, just click on ALL SHIFTS in the upper left-hand corner.

Next Macy's will ask you to reveal whether you fall into one of 12 categories that will allow the company to take a tax credit for hiring you. These categories include veterans, food-stamp recipients and ex-felons. Filling out the questionnaire requires you to reveal your Social Security number. This might increase your chances of being hired if you are in one of these categories. If you're not, you can skip it -- and keep your Social Security number private.

You can't complete the application without choosing a desired salary. People who have been hired say low-balling won't necessarily get you a job, but telling them you won't work for anything less than $25 a hour probably isn't a good idea either.

Next, you must consent to a background check. If you don't consent, you can't finish the application.

And finally, you have to sign a form that agrees should Macy's hire you will let the company deduct for a 401(k), monitor your phone calls during your working hours, and supply you with other policy information via the company handbook. This is another place where you must agree in order to continue.

The last line is an electronic signature - you type your name and it replaces your handwritten signature.

I briefly considered hitting the APPLY NOW button, but the memory of those screaming kids and frustrated moms brought me straight back to reality. No more "Merry Christmas" and "Say Cheese'" for me.
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