The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday retail spending will increase by a minor 2.2 percent, the slowest rate of growth in six years. In preparation for a slew of job seekers and not as many jobs, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some tips for job seekers.
First, it’s important to start your search as soon as possible, as people seeking holiday jobs will need to look harder this year than in past years to find a good position, because many jobs are being lost. It may help to identify companies youâ€™d like to work for and which positions your skills are best suited for, and then begin sending in applications.
â€œThe slowdown in consumer spending and high fuel costs has been changing the retail marketplace,” Paulette Hotton Scarpetti, CBBB president, said in a press release. “The U.S. retail sector eliminated 20,000 jobs in August, and according to Manpower Incorporated, 52 percent of retailers surveyed said they plan no seasonal hiring this year.â€
Second, it’s always good to work where you shop. If you apply to a retailer with whom you do business, then you are already familiar with the company and its products, and you may be entitled to employee discounts, which in turn can ease the heavy financial burden of the holidays. Discounts usually can range from 20 to 40 percent.
It’s also extremely important to make a great first impression. Even if you are simply picking up employment application forms at the mall, dress for the occasion and be prepared for an interview. This also means doing some research about the company and its products. Retail job hunters need to underscore their customer service skill set, such as dealing with long check-out lines and day-after-Christmas returns. Impress upon the interviewer that your skills make a good fit when dealing with stressed-out shoppers.
Lastly, be flexible. Understand that you will be competing with existing full-time employees looking to work overtime, so they will have first pick of preferred hours and shifts. Seasonal employees may find themselves working long, sometimes inconvenient shifts, and even holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. If you are taking this work on as a second job, be up front with the new employer about your available hours.