Happy holidays! As the silly season ramps up, so do seasonal employment opportunities. Retail and hospitality businesses need people on the ground to handle the crush of late-night Christmas parties, long lunches and last-minute gift shopping. If that sounds like you, now’s the time to start hunting.
If you’re looking for the perfect seasonal job opportunity, throw out everything you think you know about job hunting. Be prepared to use entirely new strategies for the festive season. This is especially important in industries like retail, ecommerce and hospitality.
Are you keen for one of these opportunities, but not sure where to start? This year, we’re giving you the gift of holiday season job search strategies.
Do you have a job search strategy in place?
Having a job strategy in place is crucial for any time of year, but it can be especially handy when dealing with the fast-paced world of holiday hiring. It’s more than just handing in a resume and waiting to hear back.
With a well-defined job strategy, you can focus your job search efforts on seasonal opportunities that align with your skills, interests, and career goals. This means you won’t waste time on irrelevant positions, and you have a higher likelihood of finding a job that suits you.
We’ve got 9 holiday season job search strategies below to make the job search quick and easy. That means more time this festive season to answer the question, ‘Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?’.
Job search strategy 1: Do your homework
Let’s talk about the types of industries offering Christmas casual jobs, and what they’re looking for:
🛍️ Retail stores are on the lookout for people to handle the holiday rush – think sales, customer service, and restocking.
✨Want to find relevant retail roles? There’s over 700+ to choose from on Swag Jobs. Don’t want to search through all of them? Swag SmartMatch automatically finds suitable roles and matches you to relevant opportunities.
🛒 E-commerce giants need more people working to keep up with the seasonal online shopping craze, doing things like packing boxes and keeping customers smiling.
✨Looking for open e-commerce roles? Here are our top picks on Swag Jobs
🍽️ Hospitality businesses, like hotels and restaurants, are after some extra hands for holiday events and catering.
✨Now’s a great time to start looking for hospo roles. There’s 500+ to be discovered on Swag Jobs
🚚 Logistics companies are under the pump this time of year, with their crews gearing up for a delivery frenzy.
✨Searching for holiday logistics and delivery roles? There’s over 1,400+ on Swag Jobs. If you don’t have time to sort through thousands of jobs, Swag Smartmatch automatically matches you with suitable opportunities based on your candidate profile.
🏥 Healthcare is an industry that needs qualified people on hand all year round, so when regular staff take well deserved time off, clinics and hospitals may look for people to cover.
What are these industries looking for? The skills and qualifications will vary depending on the opportunity, but most employers looking for seasonal hires want people who are reliable and friendly.
Being flexible, positive, and able to hustle is the name of the game if you want to land these holiday gigs. Your job search strategy should highlight these attributes both in your application and any interviews you land.
Job search strategy 2: Keep an open mind
When it comes to holiday season job search strategies, an open mind can be your greatest asset. Exploring different kinds of jobs, even ones that aren’t your usual gig, can open a bunch of doors.
Let’s say you’re keen to build a career in administration, but most offices are shutting their doors for the holiday period. Picking up a retail gig for a busy department store over the summer can build transferable skills (think customer service, multi-tasking, cash handling) that will be invaluable once admin gigs start getting posted later next year.
It’s not just about finding a job —it’s about becoming a versatile candidate who can bring a little bit of everything to the table.
Plus, you never know who you might meet. Connections in unexpected places can turn out to be pure gold for your career. So, go ahead, mix things up a bit during the holidays, and watch how it can lead to amazing opportunities.
Job search strategy 3: Tailor your resume for seasonal roles
We’re sure you know that resumes and cover letters are standard for most job applications – this is true of Christmas casual jobs, too. We have a great strategy for increasing your chances of finding holiday employment.
Create a copy of your current resume and tweak sections you already have to appeal more to employers looking to hire seasonal staff. You can do this with small changes like:
- Objective statement: Tailor your objective statement to let them know you’re interested in seasonal or Christmas work.
- Skills: Shine a spotlight on skills like staying cool under holiday pressure, acing customer service, and adapting like a pro. Bonus points if you can provide examples of other holiday-related experiences.
- Availability and flexibility: Be upfront about whether you can be the go-to person at short notice. You may be asked to work evenings, weekends, and whenever the holiday spirit calls.
- Cover letter customisation: Share stories of why you love the holiday hustle and how you’re ready to make this season unforgettable for both customers and the team.
- Thinking long term: It’s not uncommon for employers to offer high performing holiday casuals more permanent roles. If this is something you’re interested in, make it clear. This kind of open communication about long term career goals is key, even for shorter term seasonal opportunities.
These adjustments will create a stand out application, uniquely highlighting the specific value you bring to this seasonal opportunity. Holiday season job search strategies like this will make you shine amidst a sea of generic applications.
Swag Tip: Don’t want to spend hours updating your resume? Speed up your job application time by using the Swag AI to generate a first draft for you. Use the generated draft as a canvas, tweak it for each gig, and watch those holiday job offers roll in.
Job search strategy 4: Get online
The internet is a magical place. Many businesses are using digital strategies to expand their opportunities, so why can’t you? Creating a job search strategy using social media and job search websites is a great way to find holiday employment.
On social media, follow companies you’d like to work for and engage with their posts. Show them you’re not just there for the paycheck, you’re genuinely excited about what they do. This way, you’ll see if they do a Christmas casual call out on their feed.
Want to know right away if they’re hiring? Scope out job board platforms like Swag Jobs using clear keywords like “holiday jobs” to zero in on opportunities. Add in a few job-related keywords to your profile to catch any potential recruiter’s eye.
Swag Tip: 4 out of 5 roles are never posted on job boards. Why settle for a traditional job search when you can use Swag? Swag SmartMatch uses AI to connect you to hundreds of unadvertised roles from over 300,000 employers. Be one of the first to trial Swag SmartMatch.
Job search strategy 5: Keep organised
Finding holiday employment can be a whirlwind, but the key is keeping things organised. Imagine juggling a bunch of applications, interviews, and deadlines without breaking a sweat – that’s the goal.
Did you know? You can use Swag App to track your applications, talk to employers 1:1, save key details, and manage your time like a pro. With AI resumes and cover letters, and a system that helps you track your applications, it’s your one-stop-shop for staying on top of the game.
Job search strategy 6: Uncover hidden gems
Sometimes, finding holiday employment can be tricky – especially if you have a particular role or business you’re aiming for. But the jobs you see online are only the tip of the iceberg. Landing any dream seasonal job opportunity often goes beyond looking through traditional job postings.
Here’s where networking can be your superpower. Did you know 4 in 5 roles are filled through personal networks, not job boards? Attend local community events, mingle, and strike up conversations with business owners. You never know what opportunities might pop up! Do you think the members of One Direction had any idea what was going to happen when they individually auditioned for X Factor? It’s important to get yourself out there.
There’s an entire hidden job market world out there, and that’s where the magic happens. Enter Swag SmartMatch. With a vast network of 300k+ employers, it unveils the secret world of unadvertised roles, connecting you directly to employers looking to hire in your industry.
Job search strategy 7: Volunteering
You might be reading this thinking, “I’m worried I don’t have enough experience to even land a holiday gig.” Don’t worry – we’ve got advice for emerging job seekers, too.
Instead of Christmas casual jobs or part-time holiday positions, consider volunteering. It’s not just about giving back during the holidays, but also strategically opening doors to potential long-term roles.
These opportunities often serve as a direct pathway to job opportunities, offering a chance to showcase your skills, work ethic, and cultural fit within an organisation. Employers often appreciate candidates who not only talk the talk but have hands-on experience in their field. And volunteering references hold just as much weight as praises from those you worked with in paid opportunities.
Swag Tip: Reach out to local nonprofits, community centres, and charities in your area. These organisations often have special initiatives during the holiday season and may welcome extra hands.
Job search strategy 8: Prepare for quick hiring processes
We’ve all waited months to hear back from a job – these slow, dragged out hiring processes can be a real bummer. But that’s only 11 months out of the year. When it comes to finding holiday employment, things move quick.
Here are 3 holiday season job search strategies to keep up with the pace of speedy holiday hirings:
- Set customised alerts: Take advantage of job alert features on job boards and company websites. Customise these alerts based on your preferences and the specific roles you’re targeting. This way, you’ll receive immediate notifications when relevant opportunities pop up, allowing you to be among the first applicants.
- Prepare for on-the-spot interviews: Before you hand in any applications, be ready to discuss your skills, experience, and why you’re the perfect fit for the job. You may get a call on the same day for a quick but crucial chat. If you hand them your resume in person you may even be given questions to answer then and there. Practise concise yet impactful responses to common interview questions.
- Use the power of AI: Apply for roles with just one click using the Swag App. Use AI to quickly create first-drafts of resumes and cover letters, then get automatically matched to great roles around the clock with Swag SmartMatch. The best bit? You can do all this from the comfort of your couch.
Job search strategy 9: Effective follow-up techniques
There are benefits to fast-moving hiring processes. Touching base quickly for a seasonal role can show you’re keen for the opportunity. It also sends a green flag that you can keep up with the holiday rush. Don’t be afraid to reach out and respectfully follow up on your application.
What is a respectful follow up? Knowing the answer to this question can be just as important as having a top notch resume. Think of it like a friendly nudge, not a full-on push. You’re not demanding anything, just checking in to see if you’re still on the same page.
Normally we would recommend you wait between 7 to 10 days to follow up, but if they’re looking for people to start soon, you could touch base with them around 3 to 4 days after your last chat.
You might find yourself wishing you could avoid being ghosted by talking to the hiring manager 1:1 to follow up. Oh wait – you can with Swag jobs.
Here is an example of a message you can send:
Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],
I hope you’re well in the holiday rush! Just a quick check-in on my recent application for [specific position]. I’m still super excited about the opportunity, and I believe my [mention a specific skill or experience] makes me a great fit.
Thanks for considering, and looking forward to the chance to contribute to the team!
[Your Full Name]
The holidays are an interesting time, with some industries shutting down completely until the new year, and others kicking into overdrive. Speed is the name of the game – so be prepared to move quickly once you submit your applications.
Have a look into the biggest industries (retail, ecommerce, hospitality, etc) and then use job boards and AI to find opportunities and apply quickly. If you’re not finding the opportunities you want via these channels, consider networking and volunteering as alternative paths to your dream gig.
Once your applications are in, prepare for a quick hiring process by brushing up on your interview etiquette, and respectfully follow up if you want updates on any of your applications. Best of luck!
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The information in this article is current as at November 2023, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The views expressed in this article are general information provided in good faith to assist job seekers in the current market, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional advice before making any important career decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.