Massive retailers, like Target and Starbucks, hire seasonal employees en masse in preparation for the holiday season. (Illustration by Kristen Lucius, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

As the calendar changes to November, holiday season is in full swing, which means seasonal jobs are ripe for the picking. At this point, most employers are only hiring seasonal employees, which opens up a bevy of new job opportunities for those eager to make some extra money during the holiday season. It is not just big retailers such as Target hiring anymore either; rather, restaurants, travel agencies, small retailers and so many more are taking advantage of the extra seasonal help.

That being said, January tends to come with a cloud of dread for seasonal employees. Typically, seasonal employees go one of two ways: the season ends and so does the employment with the company, or the employee is successful during their time with the company, really “wows” the boss and is kept on for full or part-time employment.

According to LMBC, an accounting firm dedicated to helping clients with professional services, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) declares a seasonal employee as anyone “who works 120 days a year or less for the employer.” The upcoming holiday season requires employees to start in November, and work through December and January, which is less than 120 days. Since seasonal employees are a different classification of employee, they are often not considered “full-time” by the PPACA, thus they do not need to meet the PPACA obligations, which means they don’t earn the health care coverage that a full-time employee would.

Even though seasonal employees are classified differently than part or full-time employees, that does not mean they cannot transition into those roles. Starting in a position as a seasonal employee and ending up staying for the company is more common than you may think. According to Rebecca Koenig at U.S. News, 35 percent of UPS employees come back after the season ends as full time. Even the CEO and other executive members started off as part-time, seasonal employees.

Koenig remarks that all it takes is to standout is for an employee to show an interest in the job. Hard work goes a long way in the eyes of an employer, and just because you are seasonal does not excuse this notion. “Before a seasonal job ends, tell the supervisor you’d like to come back as an employee in the future and submit your résumé for open jobs that match your skills,” Koenig said. Hiring managers will recognize the name and ask how you performed during your time here, and often all they need is a nod of approval, and you’re in.

Heather R. Huhman with Business Insider asked five different people what they felt about seasonal positions and how they affect long-term career and job goals. Everyone interviewed could agree on one thing: seasonal jobs help get your foot in the door and build up the resume. Seasonal jobs build what they call “soft skills,” which essentially are a person’s people skills, such as communication, problem solving and empathy. These are often the skills that managers cannot teach, but always are looking for in candidates.

As a seasonal employee you have to quickly adjust to work environments, which shows valuable skills to your employer. Even if the seasonal job does not work out in the long-term, these are skills that are essential in every job and will help on future applications.

Seasonal jobs also create business relationships. These relationships can become more than just seasonal help; with the right approach, they can become long-term employment. Terina Allen of Forbes Magazine said, “With the right mix of performance, communication, and relationship development, several of these positions can effectively be converted into full-time careers with better pay and benefits.”

Allen suggest that you show your attributes to the company every shift you work, just because you are a seasonal employee does not mean you do not have value to offer. The more you connect with co-workers, management and customers, the more you show you belong in the position. More often than not, success in any job setting comes down to the value you present, dedication you show and relationships you make. According to a LinkedIn survey, 85 percent of jobs are acquired based on networking and work relationships built.

Unemployment as of October 2018 is at 3.7 percent in the U.S. With a healthy economy companies such as Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Walmart are doing whatever it takes to hire seasonal employees, and in mass numbers. In the U.S. alone, 757,000 retail jobs opened up dating back to July. With unemployment being low, companies are offering competitive packages to win over seasonal hires, as well as looking at these seasonal employees for the long-term by offering benefits right from the start.

Seasonal jobs are not always the “forever career” you have in mind, but they can be a step in the right direction for some financial security, especially after the holiday season dries up some pockets. How you approach a seasonal position affects whether or not the job can become more than just a three-month excursion.

Leave a Reply