Looking for Work Over Christmas – Easier or More Difficult?

December, and the lead up to the festive season is generally a boom time for consumer spending, and with it comes lots of opportunities for jobs and seasonal work over the Christmas period.

Looking for work over Christmas

While many industries certainly slow down over the festive period – more notably cooperate organisations, schools, and designer roles – there are still plenty that need the staff over November, December and January.

For students, job seekers and those who just want to earn a little extra cash for Christmas it can be a great season to find temporary work. What’s more, many temporary jobs over the Christmas period may become long-term if your employer is impressed by your work and is looking to recruit new permanent staff.

Seasonal work is a good way to try out a new job in the short-term and see if you enjoy it. Your name is also on file on the Personnel Department should future permanent jobs arise.

Finding Work – Easier or More Difficult?

Job searching periods certainly have their ups and downs throughout the year, with November and December known to be the worst. This is because these months are particularly slow for many industries as hiring goals are pushed back until January. They receive their budgets at the start of the year so employers know if hiring more staff is a good idea.

This is why January and February are said to be the best times to find a new job. As staff return from the holidays, there’s usually a backlog of work to be done. Most decision-makers are together in the workplace so they can get through interviews quickly, whether they are through the phone or face-to-face.

However, this certainly doesn’t mean that you should stop looking for employment in December. This would be a great time to get a head start on your applications, particularly if they are long and time consuming as you have more time to complete them to the highest standard.

There are also many industries that look for seasonal employees throughout this period, and while that may not be exactly what you’re looking for, there could be some transferrable skills that’ll make for some great last-minute experience. These types of jobs will be easier to secure during this time as there is incredibly high demand for Christmas events and sales, so it’ll certainly give you a confidence boost if you’ve been job hunting for a while.

Here’s a look into some of the seasonal work available.

Christmas Jobs in Travel and Hospitality

Coach tours throughout the festive period focus on visiting towns and cities across Europe that host Christmas markets and they create some very interesting job opportunities. Hotels and tour companies also offer Christmas holidays for those who want to enjoy companionship and all the comforts of a hotel stay over Christmas and/or the New Year.

If you don’t mind being away from family and friends over the Christmas holiday season, think about being a coach driver or a tour guide. Both these careers require some training, interpersonal skills and relevant experience but there are plenty of extra opportunities at Christmas. Bus and coach drivers need to be over 18 and complete training for a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) License and hold a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence). Tours guides usually need some experience in the hotel and tourism industry.

You may be surprised at some of the more unusual jobs on offer at Christmas, so keep an open mind and think outside the box. A research company was advertising for a Christmas Market Tester to travel to some of the best-known European Christmas Markets and then write a full report. As well as being a paid position, travel expenses and accommodation were included!

Closer to home, restaurants, bars and conference centres are fully booked with office parties and corporate events. They need extra staff to do everything from dishwashing and kitchen prep to bar-tending, waiter/waitressing and even silver-service banquet staff. Many businesses offer training on the job, but an NVQ in a related field or past experience will get you onto the short list of any job in the food and hospitality industry.  

Christmas Jobs in Retail

Shops and department stores usually start advertising for seasonal sales staff ahead of time, so there are plenty of opportunities for jobs even for those with no experience. With the current boom in home delivery, there are more jobs than ever for pickers and packers as well as delivery drivers.

Supermarkets and food stores need night shifts of shelf stackers to replenish the shelves and refrigerators with edible goods. The day shifts cover everything from manning cash registers and customer service desks to taking phone calls and administrative jobs in the office. Tesco, for example, recruits 9,000 staff for December and January with part time and full time hours available, while Sainsburys, Boots, WHSmith and other retailers similarly advertise for Christmas staff.

If you opt for a seasonal job in fashion and retail, there are often some tasty perks such as staff discounts and uniforms.

Become a Santa

Most attractions, shopping malls, Christmas grottoes and Garden Centres are in urgent need of a Santa. Requirements are usually a jolly disposition, endless patience and a careful regard for political and legal correctness. There is some advance outlay as most Santa jobs require the applicant to provide suitable attire for the job (a red jacket,  black boots, hat and curly white beard) but these can be hired.

You may need to polish up your knowledge of certain Santa trivia, such as the names of all Santa’s reindeer, where they come and what the latest Christmas must-haves in electronics are. It may be a seasonal job, but it is definitely high in job satisfaction for the right person.

Tips for Getting that Seasonal Position

Don’t wait for a job to be advertised as you could be one of hundreds of applicants. Show some initiative by sending in a short application letter and full CV/resume, preferably around October when businesses are first thinking about recruiting. That way you could step right into an opening and start working right away.

However, many companies are recruiting right up to Christmas and beyond for the January sales. Even in December, many job openings are still available due to peak demand, staff sickness and other unforeseen circumstances so pitch your application and see what happens.

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