Tips to get hired for seasonal jobs

You have to do more than just show up. Follow these strategies to earn extra money during this busy time of the year.

Tips to get hired for seasonal jobs

Holiday jobs are here.

According to a recent Monster poll, 84% of Monster members plan to look for seasonal jobs this year, a 59% increase over prior years. But beyond the customary influx of retail and holiday jobs, a lot of companies are also preparing for year-end events such as open enrollment or tax season, or they're gearing up for a rush of online orders and deliveries. 

All this means there are a variety of seasonal jobs ready and waiting for you, and you may get an even better gig than you anticipate. “Seasonal work can become permanent work,” explains Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. Case in point: Over the last three years, 35% of UPS's seasonal hires were moved into permanent positions after the holidays. 

Now you just need to now when, how, and where to find the right jobs. This is how to build a winning seasonal job search strategy. 

How to find holiday jobs

Start early

Seasonal hiring typically begins in September. Many employers know months in advance how many people they'll need. That means you should start looking today. 

Be prepared and professional

Many companies are conducting video interviews and virtual recruiting events, but that doesn't mean you can relax your presentation. Test your internet connection, check your lighting, and pick a quiet spot to be interviewed. Have your paperwork ready and digitized for quick delivery, including a resume, documentation to prove you can work in the U.S. legally, and all contact information for your professional references. Be sure you block off enough time to meet with a few supervisors should the opportunity arise.

Bottom line: Don’t apply for a position and treat it like it’s not going to be a “real job.” Dress nicely for any interview to show that you're serious about your part-time or temporary work. You want to look like everyone else on the job so you appear and feel like you fit in. Hoping to turn a seasonal gig into a full-time position? “Dressing professionally for an interview demonstrates your respect for the organization,” Cohen advises, and will set a great first impression.

Know what you want

If you're applying for seasonal work, know precisely what you offer to a potential employee—and what you want in return. Although nearly half (46%) of survey respondents are looking for a seasonal job to earn extra cash, there are other benefits of taking a seasonal job: a foot in the door when permanent jobs open up, learning new skills, an easy way to make a career or industry shift.

Determine what hourly rate is acceptable to you, what hours and days you're available, if you've got the wherewithal for a particular position (some may involve lifting heavy boxes or standing for the greater part of your shift), and if the location is viable in terms of fuel costs and transportation options. (Will you always have access to a reliable car or a convenient subway or bus line?) You don't want to make a commitment only to leave an employer in the lurch during the hectic holidays.

Be flexible

The best way to make sure you stand out from other seasonal talent is to present yourself as flexible—but only if you really are. Demanding a specific schedule from prospective employers is a sure way to walk away empty-handed. 

Business might be frenzied no matter what holiday jobs you’re looking for, so show that you can multitask, handle different duties, and switch gears in an instant. Employers want workers who can jump in wherever needed when things heat up. 

Industries hiring seasonal workers

When you think about seasonal jobs, retail naturally springs to mind, but there are lots of other industries that ramp up hiring efforts in anticipation of the holiday rush. From customer service to tax prep, opportunities to cash in are plentiful.


Holiday shopping is the major driver for the need for additional retailer help for the typical positions: cashier jobsretail manager jobs, and floor associate jobs. Seasonal employees may also be needed to fill newly created positions like curbside pick-up workers and store sanitizers. Areas with ample retail jobs include New York CityChicagoLos AngelesDallas; and Miami.

Find seasonal retail jobs on Monster.

Customer service

According to survey results, nearly twice as many candidates (39%) are looking for seasonal jobs in customer service than in retail (21%) this year, with another 15% focusing on logistics. Customer service positions may be in call centers or on-site, Hosking says. Areas with ample customer service jobs include New York CityDallasChicago; Phoenix; and Miami.

Find all seasonal customer service jobs on Monster.

Delivery companies

Thanks to all those online orders, deliveries go up during the holidays, which requires delivery companies to make major seasonal hires. UPS and FexEx ramp up delivery helpers who may ride with drivers to help deliver packages, or they may meet up with the driver on the route and deliver packages on foot in neighborhoods. Areas with ample delivery driver jobs include New York CityChicagoLos AngelesDallas; and Atlanta.

Find all seasonal delivery jobs on Monster.

Warehouse, stock, & packaging clerks

Package handlers load, unload, and sort packages for delivery companies and mostly work out of warehouses. These are typically flexible, part-time positions that may have odd hours. Think of them as the elves of the holiday workforce. Check out stock clerk jobsdistribution center jobspackage handler jobs, and order processing jobs. Areas with ample warehouse jobs include Chicago; San Antonio, TX; Tampa; El Paso, TX; Buffalo, NY.

Find all seasonal warehouse jobs on Monster.

Truck driving

Both delivery truck drivers and tractor trailer drivers are needed on a seasonal basis, says Susan Rosenberg, former public relations director at UPS. “In both cases, drivers need a commercial driver’s license, and tractor-trailer drivers need to already have a Class A certification.” Areas with ample trucker jobs include New York CityDallasChicagoLos Angeles; and Houston.

Find all truck driver jobs on Monster.

HR administration

Fall is open enrollment season for many offices, and human resources managers may be looking for people to help out. They may assist with the open enrollment process and answer benefits-related questions. Areas with ample HR jobs include New York CityLos Angeles; Washington DCChicago; and Dallas.

Find all HR administration jobs on Monster.

Tax preparation

As end of fiscal year and tax season approaches, companies will seek assistance with paperwork, answering calls, scheduling appointments, entering data, and other administrative tasks. Experience in accounting or tax preparation can be helpful for people looking for these kinds of positions. Areas with ample tax preparation jobs include New York CityLos AngelesChicago; Miami; and Washington DC.

Find all tax preparation jobs on Monster.

Temp work

A company's permanent employees may take vacations or unexpectedly fall ill this time of year, so companies may establish a “bench” of seasonal employees who can step in on call or on short notice when they’re needed. Administrative and front-desk work is often in demand, he says. Areas with ample admin jobs include New York CityLos AngelesWashington DCChicago; and Dallas.

Find all temp jobs on Monster.

Find all seasonal jobs on Monster.

Have a job search strategy

Your best odds of beating the rush of candidates looking to secure seasonal employment begins with getting your applications seen by hiring managers. Need some help? Join Monster for free todayAs a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of holiday jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Just like holiday shopping, the sooner you get going, the better the pickings.