’Tis the season. Not only for Halloween costumes, turkey dinners and holiday cheer, but also for a slew of opportunities to earn extra income, preview new employers or dig deeper into a passion.
With the current low unemployment rate, it’s a seasonal worker’s market. Job seekers should not only have their pick of jobs, “but a lot of negotiating power too,” says Dawn Fay, senior district president at staffing firm Robert Half.
Because many of these roles don’t require much expertise beyond being reliable, having an eagerness to serve and a willingness to work, you can make it an opportunity to step into something entirely new, or pursue an interest just to see what it’s like, say experts.
“Taking an extra job can not only ease financial burdens while providing income, it can also provide new connections, insights into what someone finds energizing and potential next steps,” says Jenny Blake, author of “Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One” (Portfolio/Penguin Random House.) Moonlighting can also serve as a way to experiment and see whether you like a new area of work.
Many think that holiday jobs are about standing at cash registers or helping shoppers find gifts, but it’s worth noting that retail work extends beyond the store floor — consider that Macy’s will be hiring as many as 1,000 workers to staff the Thanksgiving Day parade, Santaland and other events. Brands also bring on merchandisers, product fanatics and virtual customer service workers, and demand is high for drivers and package handlers, and that’s just a glimpse of who’s currently hiring.
To get a broader picture, we scoured that Internet and spoke directly with recruiters and employers to find out who’s hiring now. And they’re not all part-time jobs, according to Fay — some might be ideal for those who are interested in working only part of the year, while many employers are willing to look at holiday hires for full-time roles in 2020.
Think Department Stores
Department stores, when they are most crowded and open for extra hours, need all the great help they can get. Macy’s, for example, is bringing in 80,000 holiday hires nationwide. Target estimates that it will increase its payrolls by 130,000. Job openings involve not only helping customers on the sales floor, but also store operations positions available, including visual merchandising and fulfilling online orders with in-store pickup and ship-to-store orders.
It’s worth noting that job titles might not be what you think. Some salespeople are called “sales stylists” and “sales ambassadors,” and cashiers are given titles like “guest advocates” and “customer experience specialists.” Nearly all of these jobs come with store discounts, and some even offer incentive pay. Employers prefer that you get specific information on their Websites, while some hold in-store job fairs.
Bear in mind that while most retailers don’t make hiring decisions based on personality styles or what you like to do in your spare time, there are those who have very clear preferences. Handmade cosmetics-maker Lush, which brings in over 1,000 “seasonal ambassadors” each year, values individualism in applicants. J. Crew and Crate & Barrel want job seekers who love their products. Peloton requires an interest in fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Other retailers get even more specific than that. “If you want to sell skis, snowboards or skates, you must participate in those sports,” says Andrea Ross, manager of human resources at Paragon Sports. And if you want to earn some bucks by talking about making beer, Brooklyn Brew Shop is hiring part-timers for its location at Union Square Market.
Bring joy to Times Square and special events
The city will welcome more than 7 million visitors this holiday season, many of whom are interested in special events like the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Radio City Christmas spectacular, the New Year’s Eve ball drop, Broadway shows, sporting events and more. Needless to say, workers will be needed to promote and support them and care for guests. Macy’s parade brings hundreds of jobs to the area, ranging from creative assistants who support production teams, to costume assistants, to float technicians, fabricators and more. TheatreMama hires street teams to promote shows, offer discounts, enthuse passers-by and even answer tourists’ questions at Radio City. These groups welcome aspiring actors and theater professionals.
Think driving, delivery and warehouses
Thank eCommerce and gift cards. UPS expects to hire up to 100,000 workers nationwide this holiday season, including drivers, helpers, package handlers and more. Aside from an hourly wage, some seasonal workers are able to earn an extra $1,300 toward college expenses after performing three months of continuous employment through UPS’s Earn and Learn program, according to Dan McMackin, a spokesperson for the company.
For those who don’t want to be on the road, seasonal jobs are available for package handlers, warehouse workers and shipping and receiving specialists at companies like Amazon, Tiffany & Co., UncommonGoods and more.
Take care of children and pets
Babysitting in New York City and the surrounding area often pays a premium hourly rate, according to Aubry Parks-Fried, branding and marketing strategist at Sittercity.com, a Website for parents searching for babysitters.
“New York has a massive need for sitters,” she says, notably over holiday periods and especially New Year’s Eve. With Sittercity you can pick up jobs quickly when you know that you will be available, and parents pay babysitters directly.
Rover.com helps pet owners find pet sitters and dog walkers. Pet sitters list their own rates, whether for dog walking, visiting a pet, staying with your pet in your home or boarding them at theirs. Drop-in rates for cats and dogs can run as high as $30 for 30 minutes. Since a service on the site is booked every three seconds, there is plenty of work to be had.
“People want to supplement their income over the holidays — scammers know that,” says Claire Rosenzweig, CEO, Better Business Bureau of New York.
She warns against accepting jobs like mystery shopping, reshipping goods and cashing checks for companies you’ve never heard of.
“And never accept a job you didn’t apply for or with an employer that doesn’t have a physical location,” she adds.