If you're looking to earn a little extra to pay off debt or stash away some emergency cash for a rainy day, this may be the year to take advantage of a part-time holiday position. The holiday hiring season is off to its strongest start since 2006, according to a new analysis of Labor Department data by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. But widen your search beyond the traditional chain stores.
Retail payrolls jumped by 150,900 in October — three times greater than the previous year, when just 47,600 retail jobs were added. In 2008 — the worst holiday-hiring season in 22 years — retailers added only 38,600 seasonal workers.
"This is a good sign that retailers feel more optimistic this year. Even if November and December hiring remains flat from a year ago, seasonal job growth will top 600,000 for the first time since 2007," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.
But with so many people out of work, the competition may be stiff for seasonal jobs. "People who may have never considered working in retail previously, may now be willing to do so in light of long-term unemployment," Challenger noted.
Challenger says instead of blindly blanketing retail chains with online applications, job seekers should be more aggressive, visiting stores during slower hours and initiating face-to-face conversations with store managers. Also, while national chains such as Toys R Us and Macy’s have announced big hiring plans, job seekers shouldn't overlook smaller mom-and-pop stores, as well as businesses outside of the retail sector that could see a holiday surge. Restaurants, shipping offices, event venues and caterers may also offer opportunities to earn some quick cash.
In the meantime, if you're looking for full-time work, here are a few unique job search tactics that really work.