Turn a Seasonal Holiday Gig Into Your Next Full-Time Job

Maine Christmas trees
By Susan Ricker

As the year wraps up and companies look to finish the holiday season strong, seasonal employees are helping companies handle the heavy workload in a number of areas, such as customer service, shipping/delivery, inventory management, administrative/clerical, sales, marketing and accounting/finance.

These workers also have the opportunity to vie for permanent positions. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 49 percent of U.S. employers who are hiring seasonal workers plan to transition some into full-time, permanent staff.

How can you turn a holiday gig into a permanent job? Between the survey findings and expert advice from career coaches, we have plenty of ways to point you in the direction of permanent employment and keep your career on track.

DO let the employer know your intentions
More than half (53 percent) of employers say that you should let the hiring manager know up front that you are interested in a permanent role with the company. It will set you apart from other candidates. If you don't come to this decision until closer to the holidays, though, there's still time to share your interest. Joseph Terach, CEO of Resume Deli, a professional résumé writing and career services firm, recommends pitching why you'd be a great addition to the team. "This proposal should not only clearly communicate what you want but also address the company's needs head-on," Terach says. "Your [employer] should get a crystal clear picture of how you'll be spending your time, what it will cost them and what you hope to accomplish that will help the company solve a particular problem or take advantage of an untapped opportunity."

DON'T come in unprepared
Whether you're coming in for an interview or want to make a good impression on your boss, know the company's history, mission, and services or products offered. One-third (33 percent) of employers tend to dismiss candidates who know nothing about their company or products. Make sure to check out the company's website and recent news announcements, and browse its social media pages.

DO provide good customer service
One of the most effective paths to becoming a full-time employee is to act like it. Whether you're offering good customer service, noticing problems before they become problems or helping other employees, being a strong part of the team is a good way to stay a part of the team. Fifty-nine percent of employers say proactively offering help instead of waiting to be asked for it is a great way to differentiate yourself.

DON'T focus on the discount
While a store discount may be strong motivation to work with a particular company or brand, don't let that be your only reason for applying to the company -- or your answer when the interviewer asks why you're interested in joining the team. Thirty-nine percent of employers are turned off by candidates who seem more interested in the discount than the job opportunity. Wait for the employer to bring up the discount if one is available.

DO go above and beyond
If you want the employer to consider you for a permanent job, two in five hiring managers recommended asking for more projects (46 percent) and offering up ideas (44 percent). "For example, if it is a seasonal retail job, show how you have generated additional revenue by creating a new pipeline of customers," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide." "How? By reaching out proactively to drive customer traffic through organizations and/or activities you may be involved in. Sending a note to members of your church or synagogue, the PTA, etc. When you generate incremental revenue, not what anyone else would have added just by being there, you show that you have made a difference. That is what retailers are looking for in order to justify adding a new person to the payroll."

DON'T show up in a competing brand
Along with understanding the company's background, services and products, know who the competition is and why. This will help you sidestep a major faux pas in the interview or on the job. One of the biggest pet peeves for 18 percent of hiring managers is a candidate who comes to the interview wearing clothes or other merchandise from a competitor's store.

DO express a long-term interest in the company
Don't fret just yet if there isn't room for you to join permanently. "If a position is not available right now, one might be at some point soon," Cohen says. "None of us can predict the future, but I do know with certainty that organizations evolve ... people leave, business improves, new initiatives are planned. Organizations appreciate having strong, proven candidates in the pipeline when these opportunities become available."

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