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How to turn seasonal work into a permanent job

Seasonal jobs come in many shapes and sizes. The unemployment rate hovered at a near constant of 7.3 percent in October 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Many of those who are unemployed are seeking temporary holiday work. Large retailers comprise the bulk of the swelled workforce; however, retail sales are just part of the seasonal flux in employment.

If you are one of the many people hoping to extend a seasonal position, there are steps you can take to reach your goal.

Cheryl Brents, regional career services specialist at Brown Mackie College – Cincinnati, offers insights into how temporary workers can help turn the proverbial foot in the door into full time work. “The holidays are a big source of seasonal work in the retail sector,” says Brents. “Retailers beef up the staff for the months of extended hours and more customers during the holiday rush.

Many different industries ebb and flow with seasonal changes. “Take flu season. From September through November, flu shot clinics pop up in many different drug stores. They often hire medical assistants through health care agencies to administer the shots,” Brents continues. “The hours vary and the assignments are short-term, but it can be a good foot in the door. It is good experience to add to a resume.”

Tax season also offers temporary work. “Tax preparers and those with degrees in accounting, and bookkeeping can gain professional experience as the tax preparation companies open additional locations to answer demand,” Brents says. “Many of those temp workers leave at the end of the assignment but there are companies who make the decision to keep some of these professionals as permanent employees.”

Criminal justice is another arena involved with seasonal demand. “Retailers ramp up on the number of loss prevention associates, adding more eyes on the sales floor and security cameras to spot shoplifters,” says Brents. Additionally, as venues book holiday shows and events, they often recruit temporary help for security.

These are just a few of the many industries that expand operations for a time each year. Regardless of the seasonal position you may have, you can bolster your chances of getting hired permanently with a little thought and planning.

Treat the job as a permanent position

Getting a foot in the door is the most important part. “Accept a temporary work assignment and then work as a permanent employee,” Brents says. “Make a point of meeting managers and assistant managers. Go in early so that you always start on time.” Brents also advises putting extra effort into the training sessions required by the employer to learn the processes thoroughly. This can minimize questions that may arise as you perform your duties on the job. “Learn as much as you can as quickly as you can,” she says.

Stand out by behavior

Flexible and dependable are words to live by when you want to make a good impression. “Show your integrity and flexibility by filling in for others when asked or offering to work overtime. It shows good initiative and demonstrates your ability to be a team player.” Brents says. “Meet the numbers the company assigns to you with professionalism, whether it is a sales quota or other performance measure. Show them you’ve got what it takes.”

Let them know you want to stay

“Tell your manager you are interested in a full-time position with the company even if there is no position at that time. As turnover happens, you may get a call. They will remember you,” Brents says. You never know when there may be an opportunity in a different department or another branch of the same company. Your stated interest can go a long way in helping you find a job and in helping the company hire a demonstrated talent.

Expand your network

Each professional experience is a stepping stone to the next. “Establish a rapport with those in supervisory positions,” Brents advises. “There is nothing wrong with asking your immediate manager for a reference for your next job.” This is a good way to add contacts into your network and reinforce your desire to land a permanent job in the field.

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