Launch a Career with a Holiday Retail Job?
By Marty Nemko
Want to make money now? On a job that could launch a real career?
Retailers always hire quickly for the holidays, and while most holiday hires gets pink-slipped the day after Christmas, a few not only stay on but get promoted into a career-type job. Here’s how to max the chances of that happening to you:
Step 1: List five to ten retailers you’d enjoy working for.
Step 2: Call all the stores and ask the operator:
· when the general manager will be in the store that week.
· how you can get an application for holiday employment.
· how you can find out what positions the store is hiring for. Usually that information is on a phone hotline or website.
Step 3: Complete the applications at home. Do a fantastic job. Make it clear that you're not your average holiday hire. A great way to do that is to write a superlative cover letter. Here’s an example. Notice how this letter creates connection with its informality, humanity, candor, and absence of job-seeker jargon such as “I’m seeking an opportunity with a dynamic organization like yours.”(puke)
Dear Ms. Moneybags,
I’m excited about applying for a holiday temp job at Nordstrom. While I must admit that I can’t afford to shop there regularly, when I want to treat myself, Nordstrom is where I go.
I believe I could be particularly helpful to you on the sales floor or in customer service. All my previous employers and co-workers say they enjoy having me around so I suspect I’d make my customers happy (and therefore more likely to buy.)
You might ask, “If I’m so good, how come I’m looking for a temp retail job?” To tell you the truth, sometimes I ask myself the same question. I was a telesales supervisor who always got great evaluations, but with the new law restricting telesales, our company cut all but the two supervisors who had been there for many years.
I’m hoping that you’ll like me enough that you’ll hire me permanently after Christmas, perhaps even as a supervisor. (The previous sentence helps screen out employers unwilling to even consider her for permanent employment.)
Hoping to hear from you,
Step 4: Wearing the outfit that makes you feel the most confident, show up at each store at a time when the store manager is scheduled to be there. If a gatekeeper asks why you want to see the manager, say something like, “I would really like to land a holiday temp job here and thought it might help if I could hand-deliver my application and have the boss connect a face to the application.” If the gatekeeper refuses, ask if you should leave it with the gatekeeper to show to her boss or just drop it at the standard location.
Step 5: In the interview, be enthusiastic, willing to do what’s needed, but say that you’re looking for a job in which, if you excel during the holidays, you'll have a chance of getting hired on afterwards.
Apply for five or ten such jobs and chances are you’ll land at least one that offers the potential for permanent employment.
Step 6: Be a star on the job. It's not enough to do your job with gusto. Pretend you’re a permanent employee, with a real investment in the store's success.. Ask questions and gently offer suggestions for how your department or even the entire store might be improved.
At the end of your holiday stint, return to the store manager, evaluation and summary of your responsibilities and accomplishments in hand. Think big: ask not only for a permanent job, but for the permanent job you’d really like: department manager, assistant buyer, merchandiser, warehouse supervisor, customer service manager, whatever. The store manager can’t help but be impressed by your attitude.
That approach could well land you a permanent
job, but worst case, you’ll have done your holiday shopping
at a favorite store, with an employee discount.
© Marty Nemko 2004-2013. Usage Rights