The Latecomer’s Seasonal Job-Hunting Guide: How to Land a Gig in December


The holidays are a busy time! Between finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones and preparing elaborate meals for family and friends, it can get pretty chaotic.

With all this added activity, hourly employers are naturally scrambling to find seasonal hires to keep up with demand. After all, they’ll need extra hands to keep the store shelves stocked and additional bodies to greet and serve families who turn to their local restaurants after burning the holiday turkey! These seasonal positions open up as early as September and often get filled just as early – who doesn’t want to make a little extra cash?

They say the early bird gets the worm, but don’t worry – there are still opportunities for those who hit the ‘snooze’ button a few too many times. Whether you’re a student who got caught up in exams or you straight up forgot to start looking (hey, it happens!), it’s not too late to still find a job. Follow this guide for landing a seasonal gig in December!

Where should I start?

It’s true that positions fill up quickly at the start of the seasonal hiring season – just the same, last-minute openings tend to pop up in the middle of the holiday period.

Often, hiring managers are in the middle of it all when they realize they’re still understaffed. There are a ton of factors: seasonal employees they originally hired might not be the right fit, sales might pick up unexpectedly, or employees might take mandatory time off at a less-than-ideal time.

For these reasons, you’ll want to look at industries where sales increase dramatically over the winter holidays:

  1. Retail stores – Tis the season of gift-giving! Check out retail stores in your area since they’ll need the extra help to handle the influx of customers. These positions are ideal for people who love customer interactions. If you’re into the holiday spirit, try fashion, health & beauty, toys, and other specialty retail stores. Otherwise, grocery stores are also a great bet!
  2. Restaurants & Food Service – Dining establishments are a great place to pick up shifts during the holidays. During this period, friends and family often travel to be together, and are eager to check out the sights in town. Of course, there are always those who are too lazy to cook and just want a quick bite to go, or others who prefer breaking bread with their loved ones at a nice sit-down restaurant. Interested? Choose from a variety of roles to apply to, from front-of-house positions like servers and bartenders to back-of-house cooks and dishwashers – there’s something out there for everyone.
  3. Hospitality – The holidays are a popular time to attend events or go on vacation. In any case, the hospitality industry will be looking for tons of employees to help manage their hotels, resorts, and other event venues. You could work in security, reception, housekeeping, and more! This is also the prime time for outdoor recreation, so be sure to check seasonal establishments like ski lodges or your local community centre.
  4. Shipping and packaging – Everyone is nervously waiting on their orders to arrive in time this time of year. As a result, shipping and packaging jobs will be high in supply this time of year. If you’re not afraid of manual work, post office, delivery, warehouse, and factory jobs are a great bet!

Time to start applying

With this many industries to tackle, you’re likely at a loss for where to start your search. When it comes to last-minute job hunting, it’s important to not only work hard, but work smart to maximize your efforts in a short span of time!

Not down to trek store-to-store in the cold? Try looking for jobs near you at HigherMe from the comfort of your home! HigherMe helps you apply to tons of jobs with just one profile and maximize your job search.

If you’ve been employed previously, consider reaching out to past employers to see if they have openings. You’ll be a top pick if you left a good impression on them – they won’t have to worry about training you and getting you up to speed from scratch!

Stand out from the crowd:

During this time of year, employers are spread very thin across a number of different tasks and responsibilities – including seasonal hiring. So don’t be surprised if they don’t have as much time and energy to focus on you. Don’t take offense – use this situation to appeal to them and their needs by making their life easier.

  1. Submit an impressive application. At this time of year, hiring managers have stacks of resumes piled up on their desks. Applying through HigherMe reduces the amount of clutter they have to deal with, making it easier for them to organize. Here’s an added plus: you can get your foot in the door and online. Showcase your qualities by recording a Video Cover Letter – employers won’t have to gamble on your personality or customer service mindset because you can show them yourself!
  2. Be flexible. A great employee is a positive team player – a great seasonal employee goes further! They’re reliable, flexible, and able to work under pressure. With so many customers during the holidays, you want to show the hiring manager that you can keep a clear head and work under pressure. Plus, with so many employees trying to take time off to be with family, employers are primarily looking for people to fill in these gaps. If you make it clear that you can always be available to help out, especially on days nobody else wants to work (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s), you’ll be a star candidate. The more flexibility you offer, the better chance you have of landing the job! Most employers would rather hire someone inexperienced who can work the whole holiday season instead of someone experienced with limited availability. Being flexible also extends to the interview. Be open to the hiring manager running late or early! Show up early to your interview and don’t book plans right after in case your interview is pushed back. Trust us – they’ll appreciate it.
  3. Be (extra) prepared. Read the job description and research the company/brand to show why you’re the right fit. You’d be surprised to know how many candidates apply and interview for jobs they know nothing about! By understanding the requirements of the role and showing the hiring manager that you’ve prepared for the role, you’ll demonstrate that you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Ready to start your seasonal job search? Explore available jobs in your area on HigherMe!

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