Whether it is over Christmas and New Year, the Easter break or summer holidays, lots of people choose to work at traditional holiday times to support themselves between regular study times at college or university, top up their wages from another job, or to give their savings a boost when planning an expensive purchase such as a new car or a trip of a lifetime.
Working on the holidays can be a very lucrative thing to do, especially if you don’t mind cutting back on your usual holiday festivities. Most employers are willing to pay good rates for holiday cover. Some people even find working the holidays much less exhausting than being at home and being involved in all the preparations.
Preparation for holiday work
Preparing to work on any holiday needs a bit of preparation and forward planning. Do a bit of self-assessment to find out first of all exactly what sort of job you will want to consider. It may be that you already have a job that you enjoy, but your company needs some extra people during the holidays to cover for staff that have booked time off. This could possibly be some of the easiest holiday work to pick up.
When choosing what sort of jobs to apply for, consider things like travel and transport. If you fancy picking up some bar work and expect to finish late at night, how are you planning to safely get home after your shift? If you don’t drive your own car you may be reliant on public transport to get you to and from work. However, if the local bus service stops running at 11pm, but you work until 11.30pm, you may find it difficult to get home if you live a good distance away from where you work. Booking a taxi home each night may seriously eat into your wages, so in this case it may be worth negotiating for hours that allow you to finish early enough for you to safely catch the last bus home. Most employers would be understanding about this, especially with regards to the safety of their staff.
Make the most of local contacts
When you do a bit of sleuthing, you will be amazed at how many people you already know who can actually hook you up with some holiday work. Your own network of relatives and friends are worth turning to when looking for work. Even if they cannot offer you a temporary job themselves, they may know of someone who is looking for help. You could even have a neighbor who can help. You may only know some of your neighbors to say ‘hello’ to in passing, but it could be worth stopping to chat with them the next time you see them. Asking around your neighbors can help to spread the word around locally that you are looking for some temporary work. You never know who will be listening.
Use work opportunities to your advantage
During holiday times, lots of individuals and local businesses will hold one-off parties. Even if you manage to pick up a night’s work at a one-off party, maybe waitressing or helping with the catering, it is worth taking a close look at the guest list to see who is going to be attending the party.
If you can identify party guests that could possibly give you some temporary work, then it would be a good idea to make a point of talking to them at the party. You should prepare a short 30 second introduction for yourself and rehearse this over again to get it right. Smile and be friendly while delivering your quick 30 second introduction and briefly mention your experience and the fact that you are looking for some temporary holiday work if they know of anything. Have a few business cards printed with your contact details and keep them in your pocket so you can quickly hand one over while you have their attention.
Keep in mind that while you may only be working a one-off party, there may well be other people working there too that can become useful contacts. Don’t cross anyone off your list of potential contacts for your network. The guy that is serving drinks at the party may also know of a few shifts going at the bar where he works, or he has a friend who owns a catering company that needs staff for the holidays.
Hand out business cards
It can be difficult to present a full-sized resume and cover letter when an opportunity arises under some circumstances. However, this doesn’t prevent you from furnishing a prospective employer with your complete resume and work-related information entirely. By handing out business cards with your contact details and links to your online resume, you can ensure that any new contacts you make will be able to follow up your enquiry later at a more convenient time.