Santa Needs Some Spare Change: Make Money on Your Holiday Break

Here’s your guide to finding short term employment around the holidays!

image1Santa Needs Some Spare Change

by Erica Francis


The holidays are coming, and there’s never a better time to start looking for seasonal employment. Whether you want to work in retail or simply pack trucks for FedEx, there’s a part-time job waiting out there somewhere. And while these seasonal situations might not be the most glamorous, remember that Brad Pitt used to wear a chicken costume just to pay his bills.

Whether you’re a college student on break, or just someone looking to make some extra cash on the nights and weekends, there are plenty of reasons why seasonal employment makes sense. In addition to fatter pockets, a part-time job is an opportunity to build your resume. Another major perk that most people don’t consider are the discounts. It’s not uncommon for retail stores to offer a 20-percent or more discount off shelf prices to employees. However, seasonal jobs tend to pay less, and you’re considered expendable, so you have to show up on time and ready to work each shift, no exceptions.


The good, the bad, and the alternative

The first step in finding a seasonal position is figuring out what type of job you want. Here are some common options:


— Food service – Check mall food courts and restaurants near shopping centers, as well as hotels and country clubs. These venues see the most upkick in business related to holiday shopping and travel.

— Retail – Big box stores and malls are a good place to start, but don’t forget to stop by locally-owned boutiques and specialty stores. These places may not advertise their positions, but they need extra help too.


–Shipping and delivery – UPS and FedEx aren’t the only companies who need help around the holidays. Florists, pizza parlors, and catering services need extra hands — and wheels — as well. If you want a more flexibility, apps like Postmates, Doordash, and Grubhub let you deliver on your own schedule


Other less traditional, but increasingly popular, income streams to consider are dog walking or pet sitting for vacationers (check out Wag or Rover), shuttling party-goers for Uber or Lyft, or renting out your place to travelers on AirBnB. All of these companies have a list of qualifications and detailed instructions about how to get started on their websites.



Getting a vacation job isn’t hard…

While the thought of strolling up into a place asking for a short-term job may seem intimidating, the truth is that most major retailers welcome seasonal team members. If you don’t want to spend your Christmas vacation wrapping gifts or stacking boxes, you’ll need to increase your networking efforts. Talk to friends and family or volunteer at community organizations – there’s always a chance someone you know is privy to a part-time position that might be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to call former employers and ask if they could put your existing knowledge of their company to good use.

You can also search online for open short-term positions at online job sites like You can filter by location, job type, and experience level to find jobs that you are both interested in and qualified to work. The best part is, you can start your online search early and from anywhere. By beginning your search several weeks before you plan to start, you’ll get a jump on the holiday rush of applicants. Furthermore, if you land an interview or position before you travel home, that’s more of your vacation you can spend working (and making money).


… But it takes some work

In addition to simply finding an opportunity, keep in mind there’s going to be lots of competition for these coveted, no-commitment gigs. LinkedIn contributor Julia Bruce notes that one of the worst mistakes you can make is handing in a generic resume or lying about your intentions. If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, get ready to answer a few hard questions. Specifically, Monster says your potential employers will ask you why you’re interested in a short-term job. You’ll also need to be open about your schedule and do your research. Know a bit about the company that you’re applying to so that you can have a logical conversation about the brand and position. Perhaps most importantly, walk into your interview confident but not cocky, and wear something appropriate for the situation. Remember, it’s okay to err on the side of over-dressing, but it’s never appropriate to arrive at an interview in sweatpants or food-stained clothing.

Thousands of people in every major metropolitan area in the United States work seasonal jobs. They are not reserved solely for college students. Whether you need a few extra dollars to make your child’s Christmas wishes come true or find yourself in a position of supplementing your family income, a part-time – even temporary – job is a great option. And if a career is what you’re after, a seasonal job may be just the platform to help you find it.



Erica writes for ReadyJob and thrives on helping young people prepare for the working world.


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Erica Francis

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