Top 10 Seasonal Jobs
What Is a Seasonal Job?
A seasonal job is a short-term position offered by a company that needs extra support over a busy period.
A role of this kind is usually part-time and temporary – rarely leading to a permanent position straight after.
Most seasonal jobs do not require applicants to have any prior experience.
Typically, seasonal jobs are associated with the holiday season and retail. Shops cope with an intense period of activity in the run-up to Christmas by hiring temporary staff, who are fully aware that their contract will end in the New Year.
Jobs of this kind are also common in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Restaurants, bars and cafes that close (or are extremely quiet) when the tourists leave cannot keep staff on all year round. Instead, they recruit for the busy season to cope with an influx of visitors.
A busy period for businesses in the sectors mentioned above has a knock-on effect on a wide range of other types of businesses, meaning seasonal workers are often required in non-customer facing organizations requiring staff temporarily.
For example, increased demand for online retail platforms over the holidays and during sale periods means e-commerce companies often need to take on seasonal staff.
Similarly, food suppliers may need extra drivers to get fresh food to restaurants and cafes at the height of the tourist season.
Sometimes, if a company has permitted a large number of employees to take holiday at the same time, seasonal jobs are used to keep the business from being understaffed.
Seasonal jobs can be a fantastic way to get some extra cash, broaden your knowledge, develop your skills and improve your resume.
What Are the Benefits of a Seasonal Job?
Extra Money, Quickly
Seasonal jobs are a great way to get extra income at short notice, without having to make any long-term commitment.
Unlike permanent roles, seasonal jobs tend to be far easier to apply for and get.
Businesses advertising seasonal roles are doing so because they need staff quickly, so the application and interview process is typically shorter and less intense than if it were a permanent role.
Discover the Type of Work That Suits You
Jobs of this kind are a great way to find out more about the type of work you are best suited to. They can help you discover the types of hours you like working, whether you prefer manual work or sitting still, and whether you prefer to work alone or as part of a team.
If you think you might want to pursue a career in a certain area, you could secure a seasonal role to make sure it’s really for you – before you invest in courses or leave a current position.
For example, you might think you’d like to work in retail, but a short period of doing seasonal work in a clothes shop might make you decide you don’t like to be on your feet all day.
Pave the Way to Your Dream Role
If you are trying to break into an industry and secure a permanent role, a seasonal job shows your interest and proves you are actively investing in your career.
The experience you gain in a seasonal position can be a valuable asset to your resume and is likely to impress a potential employer.
Securing a seasonal role in a high profile company is likely to grab the attention of prospective employers.
For example, if you are interested in pursuing a career in e-commerce, getting a seasonal job at Amazon will help your resume stand out – regardless of what your temporary role entails.
Should you decide a certain company is everything you dreamed it would be and you want to work there, you can get yourself noticed and make your interest known to a manager.
Employers don’t usually use a seasonal work stretch as a recruitment program. However, for a company that has witnessed your work ethic, personality and competency and knows how well you will fit in, it is very convenient if you then show an interest in taking on a more permanent role with the company.
Suss Out a Company
If you dream of working in a certain company, a seasonal role can not only help get your foot in the door, it can also give you a chance to see whether or not you are right to be putting so much effort into securing a permanent role there.
An internship involves a lengthy application and interview process, and a commitment that makes it difficult to leave partway through.
A seasonal position, on the other hand, gives you the same opportunity to find out whether or not the company is for you, but with flexibility and anonymity.
Strengthen your Resume
Regardless of the type of work you take on or the length of time you spend at the organization, a seasonal job is still a job.
In many cases, seasonal workers will walk away from the position with a fantastic reference that becomes extremely valuable when looking for a permanent role.
With nothing else on your resume, a shining recommendation from an employer is highly likely to give other employers the peace of mind to take a chance on you.
Seasonal jobs on a resume show an employer that you are motivated to work. They can be a great way to fill a gap in employment and demonstrate the fact you are continually trying to broaden your knowledge and experience, rather than sitting down and waiting for an opportunity to present itself to you.
Seasonal jobs may be temporary positions, but the employee will still be working at the heart of the company, often representing the business in a public-facing role and might have access to confidential information.
Therefore, it is still very important to prepare for an interview and paint yourself in the very best light. After all, you don’t know how many other people are going for the same role.
There are several key qualities employers look for when recruiting seasonal workers. These can be communicated through your resume and at interview:
Reliability – Employers want to recruit just once for seasonal workers and hold onto them for the entire season, therefore it’s important to demonstrate that you recognize how important it is to be reliable.
Enthusiasm – There will be a lot of seasonal workers who are purely doing it for the money and can’t bring themselves to be enthusiastic about the role. Stand out by showing a genuine interest in the company and the work you will be doing.
Communication skills – Seasonal jobs are often customer-facing, so speaking eloquently and showing how well you can communicate will give the employer confidence in your ability to represent the company publicly.
Positive work ethic – The fact you are applying for a seasonal position should demonstrate your positive work ethic, but to further convince a prospective employer of this, make sure you focus on the personal development and resume building benefits of a seasonal role, rather than talking about money.
Flexibility – There are often more hours on offer than the seasonal job advert states. The more flexible you can be, the better.
Good team player – Very few seasonal roles are lone worker positions. Usually, an employer recruits a team of seasonal workers, so it is important to give examples that prove you work well as part of a team.
Good interpersonal skills – Seasonal roles like personal shopper or Santa’s Elf require you to communicate with customers on a much more personal level than simply ringing goods through the cash register. During your interview, talk about the experience you have working closely with customers or clients.
There are no set of rules for how seasonal work should be advertised. Major companies, like (Amazon, Bloomingdales, UPS) usually have a sophisticated job search facility on their website.
Job listing websites often give an advanced search option that allows you to write keywords like ‘seasonal’ or ‘ski’ to narrow your search.
Bars and restaurants on popular tourist strips often take the opposite approach to large chains, sitting back and waiting for job seekers to walk in and ask whether there are any vacancies.
Print out your resume and visit any you are interested in. Make sure you make a good first impression, even at this stage.
Top 10 Seasonal Jobs
Here are our top 10 seasonal jobs and some tips on how to find them:
For the retail sector, the holiday season sees shop footfall multiply on a huge scale.
To get a seasonal retail job in a store, a good start is to simply take a walk around town or the mall and see if there are any advertisements in windows. You could also go inside to ask whether there are any seasonal vacancies.
Some of the larger stores – like Macy's and Walmart – accept online applications.
If you’re not keen to ring the cash register, you could apply for a job re-stocking, merchandising, ordering and more.
Restaurants, hotels, pubs and cafes all take on seasonal staff in the spring, ready for the busy summer months – or recruit in the fall if the destination is a popular winter vacation choice.
Job roles are largely in front-of-house, waiting staff, greeters, bar staff and reception staff. However, positions like kitchen porter or even commis (junior) chef may be available in the kitchen.
The best way to land a seasonal hospitality job of this kind is to physically go in and ask if they are recruiting seasonal staff.
Major chains often list vacancies on their websites or if they need a large number of seasonal workers, on a job site.
3. Delivery Driver
With the holidays comes increased orders online, so during busy periods, delivery companies like DHL, FedEx and UPS all recruit seasonal workers to drive, as well as work in the warehouses.
Most delivery companies have job vacancies on their website, but some advertise via job sites.
If you can’t drive, you could always go for a ‘Driver helper’ position.
4. Customer Service Representative
With a busy retail period comes the need for more representatives manning the phones, online chat portals and customer service desks.
Although some training is given, the role of customer service representative can be seasonal and does not demand qualifications.
These types of roles are often listed on job sites and the company’s website.
5. Warehouse Operative
The holiday season sees online orders rocket and, in addition to delivery drivers, companies like Amazon and UPS require seasonal workers to pack and sort parcels in the warehouses.
6. Social Media Assistant
The season for this type of role is not as specific as other seasonal jobs. Demand for social media seasonal workers is governed by when the company will need extra support with replying to inquiries, updating statuses and responding to feedback.
In retail, demand would likely fall at Christmas, but in other sectors, the need for extra social media staff could be at any point during the year.
This type of seasonal work can often be done from home.
7. Personal Gift Shopper
A personal gift shopper helps a customer shop by suggesting items and making choices based on their requirements.
Picking out gifts on behalf of another person can be exciting and interesting. This position demands excellent interpersonal skills to enable you to build a rapport with the client and understand their needs.
Often, the people that use this service are high-powered professionals, so this job is popular with students and graduates looking to make great connections.
8. Resort Jobs (Summer Seasonal and Winter Seasonal)
In the winter months, tourists flock to ski resorts. Seasonal roles are widely available for ski instructors, hotel staff, snowmaking and restaurant staff.
In the summer months, tourists flock to the coast. Waiters and waitresses, bar staff and kitchen porters are often required. If you are after a more physical challenge, you could train as a scuba instructor or lifeguard.
It is common for employment of this kind to include accommodation and discounted tickets for the resort’s attractions.
9. Event Jobs
Large festivals and gigs require seasonal workers to serve drinks, man food stands, punch tickets and pick up trash. There are also opportunities to be recruited as a brand ambassador through a separate company.
The great thing about being a seasonal worker at a festival is that your job gets you entry into the festival, so when you’re not working – and sometimes when you are – you can enjoy the music and dancing like everybody else.
10. Tour Guide
The role of a tour guide demands an individual with great communication skills who is confident enough to lead crowds, take control of a situation and present publicly.
Those passionate about the area they are in will enjoy talking about its history and heritage, and answering questions from tourists.
There are many different reasons why people opt for seasonal roles. For some, it’s much-needed cash at an expensive time, for others it’s to gain experience for their resume or make connections in the industry or sector they want to move into. Some use it as a way of escaping the monotony of nine-to-five work or to travel.
Time it right and you can travel the world, jumping from seasonal job to seasonal job; a bar job in Rio during its vibrant summer season, across to the Alps in Europe to take on a ski instructor role over the winter, over to the UAE to be a personal shopper in Dubai in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, before heading back to Europe for a waitressing position during the UK summer.
Timing is important when applying for seasonal positions. If you want a job for the holidays, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to start looking – begin your job search in the fall.
Jobs will still be available midway through the season, but you won’t have the luxury of choice at that stage because there won’t be as many.
If you want to work abroad, remember to start your job search much earlier – you need time to get visas and other arrangements in place.
For some, seasonal positions don’t offer the inclusiveness or entitlement they crave – you may find a lot of things are off-limits to you as a temporary staff member, like a locker, discounts and holiday privileges. Others jump at the chance to meet a new group of people and enjoy the buzz of an intense working environment.