ASK KIM


How to Get a Holiday Job

Kimberly Lankford

If you know where to look and can work flexible hours, you can earn extra cash to buy gifts or pay down debt.



How can I find an extra job for the holidays? Are companies actually doing any holiday hiring this year?

Retailers tend to do most of their holiday hiring in early to mid-November, so the new hires will be trained and ready to go in time for the start of the big shopping season at Thanksgiving. The retail rush usually continues through New Year's.

Many retailers aren't hiring as many people to help during the holidays as they have in the past. But you can still get a good job for the holiday season if you know how to look and can work flexible hours, such as evenings and weekends. "We aren't seeing the large numbers of holiday hiring like we have in some years past," says Jill Silman of Meador Staffing Services, a staffing agency near Houston. "But there are still some industries that perk up at this time of year."

Start your search by thinking about the stores where you'd like to shop. You'll usually get an employee discount, which can make the temporary job even more valuable. Visit the stores in person or check their Web sites. MacysJobs.com, for example, lets you search for jobs by location and type of job, fill in your application online and lists upcoming job fairs. Your choices aren't just limited to sales, even when working for a retailer. Best Buy is hiring seasonal full-time and part-time workers to be cashiers, customer service specialists, retail product security, merchandising and shipping/receiving.

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Delivery services are also hiring for the holiday rush between Thanksgiving and Christmas. UPS, for example, is hiring seasonal package handlers and driver helpers (especially for the twilight, night and sunrise shifts).

Job-search sites, such as Monster.com, also make it easy to look for holiday jobs. Just type in "holiday jobs" and you'll find several listed -- including retail jobs as well as some creative jobs you may not have considered (such as dressing up as characters or demonstrating products). You can also find listings in your local newspaper or on sites such as Craigslist.

And you may also find a variety of jobs through a staffing agency. You can search for staffing agency contact information by field or location through the National Association of Personnel Services or through the American Staffing Association.

Getting an extra job for the holidays can help you earn money for gifts without going into debt. It can also be a great way to get extra cash to pay off debt, or to work while you're searching for a permanent job if you've been laid off (which could eventually to a full-time job). And retirees who pick up temporary work won't need to withdraw as much from their retirement savings when the value of their accounts is down.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.




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