Looking to earn a few extra dollars in the pre-holiday months? If so, you may want to consider applying for a seasonal job. Not just a great opportunity to supplement your regular income, period-specific positions like these are also a smart way to explore an industry, expand your skill set and network. "[It] could lead to something bigger down the road," says Kerry Hannon, author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job and job columnist for AARP.org. From summer gardening centers to tax preparation services, here are 11 industries that hire temporary employees throughout the year.
During Halloween season, party stores are looking for employees as fervently as their customers are looking for costumes. Party City, for example, hires 15 to 50 extra Halloween sales associates per average-size store; the associates take on a variety of roles, including cashier, greeter, roadside character, customer service and stock room associate. These employees are not only trained to locate the costumes and accessories that the store carries, but to help customers find the right mix of items to realize their unique costume ideas. If you love all things Halloween, this is the job for you.
Pay rate: Most general merchandise stores will start inexperienced employees at minimum wage. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the middle 50 percent earn between $8.26 and $13.35 an hour. Party City, specifically, starts most employees anywhere between $7 to $10 an hour, according to GlassDoor.com. Plus, closer to Halloween, overtime work-during which you can earn as much as two times your hourly salary-is usually available. Photo: iStock
So long as you're an expert in something, you can tutor throughout the year, although things tend to pick up when school starts. If you have a teaching certification and/or have scored well on a standardized test, then you're already ahead of the game. But because there's no required certification to tutor privately, gaining experience is crucial to getting hired. Start by seeking out volunteer tutoring opportunities at local libraries, most of which have literacy programs. Make business cards and send them to school counseling offices to let them know you are available, and advertise in local classified ads or on supermarket job boards. You can also advertise for free on sites like TutorMatch or Tutor-Pages.com. If you still need help getting out there, try signing up with an online tutoring agency, like WyzAnt (Note: it's free to sign up but they will likely take a cut of any fee you charge), which will facilitate connections and send you job alerts.
Pay rate: Most tutors earn within a range of $10.27 to $24.21 an hour, according to the BLS, though private tutors can set their own rates based on experience, expertise and demand. It's not unheard of for good tutors to charge up to $100 for an hour of service, especially for more difficult subjects like science. Photo: Shutterstock
Security Guards/Loss Prevention Officers
During the holidays, malls and department stores need tons of extra eyes to patrol and monitor for theft. Some states require that security guards be licensed, while others allow private facilities to train hired employees, who are often required to have a GED. Keep in mind that applicants will most likely be screened for drugs and asked to complete a basic training exam. "When it comes to being a security guard, I think the most important thing is that you have a certain presence about you," says Hannon. To find a job, contact local chain stores directly, such as Target, Kohl's or mall chain stores, or go through a professional security service provider, like Allied Barton Security Services in Pennsylvania, to help facilitate placement.
Pay rate: The median pay range is $11.28 an hour, according to a number of job boards. Photo: Shutterstock
With so many potential customers to attract during the holidays, most stores want to bump up the customer service-and offering expert gift wrapping is one common way they do it. Your best bet is to search online job boards- Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com-for the description "Gift Wrapper Associate." You should get plenty of results. Or, to beat the influx of applicants, contact local store HR departments directly (call any advertised number on the store website and ask for the human resources department, if you can't find the direct number).
Pay rate: Most gift-wrapping gigs pay the same as entry-level retail jobs, between $8.26 and $13.35 an hour, according to the BLS, although there is usually some kind of incentive-based bonus during the holidays. Photo: iStock
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, mail delivery services like UPS and FedEx Ground and Home Delivery hire an influx of employees to assist full-time drivers with doling out packages via hand-cart. At UPS, they're often called Driver Helpers, while at FedEx-which hired 14,000 temporary and part-time employees during the 2010 holiday season-the job is called a Package Handler. "You'll rarely see a UPS driver without a helper during the holidays," says Danny Rodriguez, who worked as a seasonal courier for UPS from 2010 to 2011. If you live in or close to a city, have strong interpersonal skills and are reasonably fit (the job requires a great deal of lifting and maneuvering heavy objects), visit the UPS careers or FedEx careers sites, or simply search job boards like Monster.com using the above-mentioned job titles as keywords. At both companies, there is usually some sort of written exam to help employers assess the candidates' communication skills, since there is so much on-the-job interaction.
Pay rate: In 2008, the middle 50 percent of couriers and messengers earned between $9.08 and $14.10 per hour, according to the BLS. Plus, seasonal employees can expect tips, too, according to Rodriguez, who says he often received $2 to $3 tips from friendly customers he assisted with heavy packages. To boot: "They also paid us for training and gave a $100 bonus at the end if we worked all the hours and days we were asked through Christmas," says Steven Colson, who worked as a UPS Driver Helper during the 2007 holiday season. Photo: Shutterstock
Hotels and Resorts
According to the BLS, resorts and hotels at least double their housekeeping, food, beverage, retail and front desk staff sizes during their respective busy seasons, which vary by region. For example, while hotels located in college towns may be busiest during football season, others, like those located in New York City, may reach peak business during the holidays. At hotels, the most in-demand positions are hospitality-based, so restaurant or service experience will help you get your foot in the door. And then there are seasonal ski resorts: If you've always wanted to be a ski bum and have the winter off, look into hospitality positions at seasonal ski resorts, many of which put full-time employees up for free as well as pay them a monthly salary. Those positions are usually filled in the fall, just before the lifts open in November, and end sometime in April, when the lifts shut down. (Note: Outside contractors usually hire activity-based jobs, like ski instructors or scuba divers.)
Pay rate: Full-time employees at Alta Peruvian, a ski resort in Utah, receive free boarding and $800 per month. Large hotel chains like Marriott, where the median range is between $7.29 to $12.47 an hour, offer hourly minimum wage, which is $7.25, plus tips for hospitality positions. Photo: Thinkstock
If you want to work flexible hours and are good with numbers, consider applying for a seasonal tax preparation job at a large tax firm. For example, H&R Block hires 80,000 tax preparers from January until the end of April. About 90% of these employees qualify for the position by taking the company's income tax course, which is usually offered around September and is available in both English and Spanish-though taking the course doesn't ensure you a job (You have to be hired by a store owner.) Bonus: According to Kathy Burlison, director of tax implementation for H&R Block, you don't even have to memorize the entire tax code, since the computer system helps with that.. However, repeat preparers have to keep up on the latest tax changes by taking a refresher course each fall.
Pay rate: The median pay range for a tax preparer ranges from $8.83 to $30.95 an hour, according to the BLS. For H&R Block specifically, the average starting rate is $9 per hour, though workers are paid on a commission formula determined by factors like the number and complexity of tax returns they prepare, as well as education credits and length of time with the company. Photo: Shutterstock
National Park Service Employee
If you love the great outdoors and live near a national park, consider browsing National Park Service (NPS) job listings at USAJobs.com (search "NPS"). NPS hires 10,000 part-time and seasonal employees annually-ticket booth, tour group and field sample workers, for example-many of which they take on during the busy summer season. For the most part, experience with public speaking, law enforcement or science education (think anthropology, geology or behavioral science) is helpful but not mandatory. "You must show, through experience and training, that you possess the quality level of knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties of this position," according to an NPS job posting on USAJobs.com. Additionally, to work a government job, you must be a U.S. citizen and may be subject to a security background check.
Pay rate: Somewhere between $14 to $18 an hour, according to BLS. Photo: Ron Chapple/Thinkstock
During the peak months, from May to October, amusement parks need seasonal employees to help service the massive crowds, hiring up to 10,000 additional ride operators, groundskeepers, store clerks, ticket takers and security guards, according to job boards. If you have the summers off (ahem, students and teachers!), are outgoing and are people-oriented, consider earning a paycheck working the theme park scene. To find available opportunities, reference the job listings section of the park websites directly (Click here for Six Flags' current job listings.) No official training is necessary, though employees must be 18 years or older.
Pay rate: $6.25 an hour or state minimum wage, according to APlus-SummerJobs.com. Photo: Shutterstock
Anyone who has a green thumb, whether that means conceptualizing floral arrangements or primping a garden, and doesn't mind working weekends, should consider a nursery job. Most garden centers need a lot of help during the spring and summer to keep up with the influx of customers working in their yards. Though no technical experience is required, "It helps to know the difference between an annual and a perennial and what plants do best in the shade versus the sun," says Hannon, who suggests taking a gardening class, often offered at local community colleges, to boost your resume. To search openings, head over to your local nursery or search NurseryJobs.com, a job board destination for nursery, greenhouse and garden professionals.
Pay rate: Nursery workers can earn anywhere between $7.94 to $12.12 an hour, according to the BLS, but you can also expect tips for any heavy lifting or hauling. Photo: Thinkstock
While they do have a much greater need for help during the summer months, spring break and winter holidays, cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines are always hiring office workers, entertainers, hospitality, personal care attendants, and deck and engine workers. More often than not, hundreds of thousands of positions are available at once. Though the work week is long-12 to 14 hours, seven days a week, usually for a contracted six-month period-cruise line employees get the obvious benefit of travel. Since the most common background experience of cruise employees is hospitality, having worked at a restaurant or hotel will help get your foot in the door. However, the most important job qualification is good language skills-you must speak English fluently; if you speak more than one language, you'll be one up on the competition. Your passport must also be up to date (a C-1D visa is required for non-natives) due to border-crossings.
Pay rate: According to CruiselineJobs.com, the hospitality and entertainment staff who interact with customers earn between $1,500 to $4,000 per month (including the tips). Staff that services employees and interacts very little with paying customers (often due to language barriers) earn between $350 to $500 per week. Photo: Shutterstock
Article originally appeared on WomansDay.com.
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