The holiday season is just around the corner and that means major retailers and shippers are getting ready to ramp up their holiday hiring, and now is the time to take action to land one of these temp positions.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are projected to hire between 585,000 and 625,000 temporary workers this holiday season, which is a notable increase from last year. The annual report just released by outsourcing giant Challenger, Gray, & Christmas projects the total number of temp hires nation wide to be around 700,000 this season.
Although these numbers may sound impressive, getting in on the game won't be easy. The report from Challenger, Gray, & Christmas points out that "those hoping to take advantage of the seasonal hiring should act early, as several sizable hiring plans announced by major retailers in September suggest that recruiting may start before October."
This ramp-up in hiring may mean more than just a temporary contract: The report also notes that last year Target retained 30 percent of seasonal workers it hired, which highlights strong potential for turning a holiday temp job into a permanent role!
The key to turning a temp job into a full-time opportunity is to be engaged and deliberate about how you approach the job. Here are four tips on how to make a lasting impression to get a full-time job:
1. Impress the right people.
Be sure to identify the decision makers as soon as you start in your new workplace. Find out who makes the hiring decisions and get on their radar. Make sure to demonstrate your enthusiasm and let them know about the skills and experiences you have to offer beyond what they may be able to directly observe.
2. Build your 'who you know' network.
Every person you interact with on the job is a potential gateway to another opportunity. Take the time to make meaningful connections with the coworkers, vendors, and customers you interact with and follow up with new introductions. Never take anyone for granted-- you never know who they may know and how those connections can help in the future.
Who's Hiring For The Holidays
Turn Seasonal Temp Work Into A Full-Time Job: 4 Tips
Seasonal job openings: 5,200
A staple of many shopping malls across the nation, the gourmet gift basket retailer relies heavily on holiday sales to add to its profits. A privately held company, Hickory Farms perennially hires as many as 6,000 seasonal workers to work at its stores, which it calls "Holiday Gift Centers." Though many jobs involve interacting with customers, the company also needs additional workers to fill stock and labor positions, which may include driving in some locations, it says.
Though it has no bricks-and-mortar stores to staff, Amazon.com Inc.'s seasonal hiring plans are nonetheless robust. It needs plenty of additional workers to help fill orders and keep products moving through its warehouses nationwide. The Seattle-based company, which is unveiling a new line of Kindle-brand electronic readers and tablets, also plans to add 2,000 new jobs at three new distribution centers to help deal with demand driven by the new devices.
The department store operator announced it September that it would ramp up holiday hiring by more than 10 percent from last year to support its business in stores and online. Wisconsin-based Kohl's Corp., which operates 1,134 stores in 49 states, plans to hire an average of 41 workers at each store, a 4 percent increase from last year. The company also expects to add about 5,700 seasonal positions at distribution centers and more than 30 seasonal credit operations jobs.
The former No. 1 seller of toys in the U.S., Toys R Us Inc. credits a gradually improving economy and an increase in consumer spending for its decision to hire 11 percent more seasonal workers than the 40,000 it did in 2011. Of those it hired last year, Toys R Us says roughly 15 percent of them were kept on after the holiday sales season ended.
The holidays are the busiest time of year for the world's largest retailer and the company plans to hire more than 50,000 temporary workers to help keep store shelves and move customers through checkout lines as the 2012 holiday season approaches. Walmart Stores Inc. also plans to give existing employees the chance to work more hours during the season, acknowledging complaints among some workers who said they weren't able to work as many hours as they would have liked.
Though far smaller than rival Walmart, the nation's No. 2 retailer nonetheless plans to hire plenty of holiday season workers in 2012. The Minnesota-based company plans to add 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal jobs, down a bit from the 92,000 it hired last year. Hiring forecasts are likely be held in check by Target's expectations of an "ultracompetitive" holiday sales season. Target Corp., along with Walmart, is keeping an eye on expenses, which of course includes labor costs, so as to lower prices and stimulate sales.
The king of all department stores, Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc. said it's hiring nearly 3 percent more seasonal staff than it did last year, in anticipation of higher holidays sales. Sales associates and call center employees are among the positions Macy's is looking to fill, which also include those in its distribution and fulfillment centers, to support the department store operator's growing online business.
Best Buy Co. plans to hire about 9,000 more seasonal workers as it did last year, though this year's number is still below the 29,000 it hired in 2010. In July, the world's largest consumer electronics chain cut 600 of its "Geek Squad" employees in response to weak sales. The boost in seasonal hiring is helping to contribute to what analysts say is the best year of seasonal-job creation that the U.S. has seen in five years.
Much like Best Buy, GameStop has seen its sales erode as more and more consumers turn to buying online. Faced with strong competitors such as Amazon, GameStop has nonetheless managed to hold its own in terms of sales and profits. As with most retailers, the Grapevine, Texas-based company derives much of its sales during the all-important holiday sales season -- and its more than 4,400 stores in the U.S. need more staff to help keep those cash registers ringing.
J.C. Penney Co. has struggled to remake its namesake JCPenney stores into a retail business that's more modern and less reliant on discounts to draw customers. And the coming holiday shopping season will be an important test of whether the signs of improvement that Plano, Texas-based company has lately been showing are real or not. Sales are expected to be tepid this holiday season, but at least one company representative says that won't affect the need for seasonal workers. "[It] looks like there will be another increase this year over last year's hiring," said, Bob Parker, a site manager for JCPenney in Sarasota, Fla., "probably by as much as 10 to 20 percent in some cases."
The fall is prime season for privately held Party City Holdings Inc., which is perhaps best known as a seller of Halloween costumes. But the retailer also sells party supplies and seasonal decorations, which result in a steady flow of customers this time of year. The Rockaway, N.J.-based company has 600 stores nationwide. In addition to its namesake Party City stores, it also operates The Paper Factory, Halloween City and Factory Card & Party Outlet shops.
It takes a lot more workers to help move the millions of boxes and packages Americans send to each other each holiday season. And though FedEx Corp. expects shipping volume will be up 13 percent, it's hiring about as many workers as it did last holiday season. The company says it can stick with the same number of seasonal workers as last year because it has been hiring staff throughout 2012.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based company, which is closely watched as an indicator of consumer demand and economic health, anticipates handling more than 280 million shipments during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Competitor UPS added about 55,000 workers for the holidays last year, 10 percent more than it hired in 2010.
With expectations of delivering 527 million packages this holiday season, UPS Inc. is adding 55,000 workers to sort, load and deliver packages, the same number it hired last year, but 10 percent higher than in 2010. Based on the company's forecast, it appears those and full-time UPS workers will be busiest during the final week before the Christmas holiday. UPS says 28 million, or 5 percent of packages, will be delivered Thursday, Dec. 20 -- projected to be the busiest of the year.
Good salespeople are always for the up-sell. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to leverage your skills in ways your boss may not realize. Offer to help with a project, stay late, or fill-in when needed. Also, pay attention to the business side of things. Keep a running list of potential changes or improvements that may help increase efficiency and profitability. Think them through and share them with your boss. At the end of the day, it's up to you to demonstrate your value.
4. Stay connected.
Just because your contract has an end date doesn't mean your relationships have one too. Make the effort to keep in touch with both coworkers and bosses because you never know where they may end up in the future. Social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to keep in touch with everyone and stay up-to-date on what they are doing. If you made the right impression, keeping in touch will keep you fresh in people's minds and they'll likely think of you first when an opportunity arises.
There are a lot of opportunities for temp work this season, so be sure to keep your eyes open and make the most of every opportunity. You never know, a holiday temp job may end up becoming that gift that just keeps on giving!
Michael "Dr. Woody" Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.