Over the busy festive period, thousands of people take on seasonal work in retail and hospitality, working in restaurants, hotels, or sorting and delivering our mail. Very often the roles we take as seasonal temp jobs are simply a stop-gap, a way to fund an expensive time of year, supplement our regular income or fill time during the school and college holidays. And as such, they don’t form much of a feature on many resumes, or feel like a serious stepping stone to greater career achievements.
Often, though, this is selling the seasonal job short. There are several ways that taking a Christmas job can help you in your future career - so before you bury it on your resume amongst ’various temporary positions’, see if you can get some extra benefits.
Build your career history
Whatever sort of temp work you have taken on, if you are currently without regular employment, it looks better on your resume than a gap. Including seasonal work loud and proud shows prospective employers that you have been keeping busy, adapting to new environments, and learning new skills whilst you look for something longer term.
Harness the benefits of doing something completely different
A temp job will furnish you with transferrable skills that should certainly make it into your CV - working in a team, showing self motivation and organisational skills, great communication or customer service, for example. However, there is also a benefit in taking a temp job in a completely new area for you.
It is a great chance to try something you might not have otherwise considered, safe in the knowledge that if you hate it, it will only be short term - and if you love it, you might have discovered a new career avenue to explore. Never worked in customer service before - try a retail temp job. Intrigued by logistics - go work in the mail service over Christmas. You never know, you might just like it.
Any job is an opportunity to build your network, using both physical contacts and social media to connect with the new people you meet. Ask the people you work with to give you LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements, or act as referees if you are looking for a permanent job after the seasonal role has ended.
Not just for Christmas
Finally, you would be amazed how often a seasonal job is not just for Christmas. Larger employers such as supermarkets often take on Christmas temporary staff into permanent roles once their contracts have expired - after all the temp role at the busiest time of year is a great way to test the fit of new employees and see who really shines.
Big companies are littered with people whose story starts ’I came here as a temp and never left’, including those who rose into extremely senior positions. If you think your Christmas job could become a career and aspire to management or other positions in the same sector, talk to your boss and HR department about the opportunities.
And even if there is not a permanent role, sectors like retail and hospitality have more seasonal peaks than just Christmas - when your role ends, ask to be kept on the books and contacted when the next round of seasonal recruitment starts.
Whether your seasonal job lasts just a few weeks, or develops into a career you hadn’t even considered before, leveraging the benefits of it in your job hunt and ongoing career is a smart move, and can set you ahead of the pack.