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Seasonal Jobs: What are the Good Options and How to Land a Gig

seasonal saleswoman job at a cafe

Summer, winter, and late fall — these three seasons are the ripe time for picking seasonal jobs. At this time around, businesses across the board are the most likely to have openings for temporary people to step in and help them sort through an incoming bulk of work. Working at such “busy” periods can be a very lucrative thing to do, especially if you don’t mind cutting back on your usual holiday festivities. Does that sound up your alley? Great, here’s our quick primer on-all-things seasonal work. 

What are Seasonal Jobs?

Seasonal jobs is an umbrella term for all temporary, contract, and part-time work opportunities, emerging at a specific time of the year. In most cases, the need for “extra hands” emerges due to surges in business volume at certain periods (e.g. holiday season in retail) or changing weather conditions (e.g. during summer more lifeguards are needed for public beaches). 

How Long Do Seasonal Jobs Last?

Depends on the occupation type, but most seasonal jobs vary between 1-3 months. Typically, seasonal workers are hired for a fixed-term contract or retained as independent contractors. Sometimes, seasonal job opportunities can be extended to 4+ months. Or, with a bit of luck and effort, negotiated into full-time employment. 

The Popular Types of Seasonal Jobs 

Seasonal work can vary by contract type. For example, you may be hired on a per-day basis, part-time, or for a full work week (even with overtime).

Some popular seasonal part-time jobs include:

  • Delivery and logistics jobs 
  • Waitering and bartender gigs
  • Ski instructor jobs
  • Recreation/Entertainment hotel jobs
  • Photography and modeling work 

Full-time seasonal work includes:

  • Construction jobs
  • Agriculture and farming jobs (fruit picking, packaging, etc)
  • Retail jobs
  • Tourism industry jobs 
  • Customer service jobs
  • Warehousing jobs 

And that’s to the rise of remote work, you can also find seasonal work from home jobs such as: 

  • Accounting (to help prepare SMEs for tax season)
  • Tutoring (if you are prepping high-schoolers for Uni admissions)
  • Customer support representative (you can totally do this remotely)
  • Social media or creative styling assistant (to help retailers prepare for holiday sales season). 

Last year, the service (39% of all job posts) and the retail (21% of all job posts) industries were the most active in hiring seasonal employees, according to a Monster poll. The remaining 40% of seasonal and holiday jobs were spread among other industries including logistics, warehousing, fleet management, finance, and HR among others. 

How to Prepare For Seasonal Work: 7 Tips 

Seasonal and holiday jobs can get competitive, especially the good ones with an attractive hourly rate. Why? Because the spike in hiring is usually in summer and winter — just around the time when all college students have boatloads of free time (and need extra cash). 

So to get yourself ahead of others, do some forward planning. First, determine which jobs you’ll go after (you already know the options!). 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 11 pm, but you work until 11.30 pm, 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. 

Beyond that, do some basic due diligence on the employer. The FLSA covers seasonal employees. So employers are legally required to pay you at least minimum wage as specified on the state level. Also, they are expected to compensate any overtime, if you more than 40 hours a week

That said, here are 7 tips to help you find well-paid seasonal work.  

1. 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 among the first to turn to. Even if they cannot offer you a temporary job themselves, they may know of someone who is looking for temp help. 

friends talking

Also, ask around local small businesses if they’d be looking to hire someone for the holiday season. Or the local camps, resorts, and other businesses catering to the holiday-makers. Have an up-to-date copy of your resume printed or saved on a cloud, so that you can easily forward one to a potential employer. 

2. Hand Out Business Cards

It can be difficult to fetch a full-sized resume and cover letter when a casual opportunity comes up. 

This does not mean that you cannot provide the entire information on your resume to a prospective employer. By handing out business cards with your contact details and links to your online resume or portfolio website, a prospective employer can follow you up later on at a more convenient time. 

3. Check For Seasonal Jobs Online

By far the easiest way of finding a temporary retail job is to look online. Popular job search engines such as Indeed and Monster regularly publish up-to-date seasonal job offers. Set yourself a routine where you can do at least an hour of job searching per day to make sure you don’t miss out on any last-minute job offers that get posted!

searching for seasonal job on job search engines

Also, you can typically find seasonal work opportunities directly on the websites of chain stores and big delivery companies. Typically, both have seasonal jobs surging around September-October as they prepare for the holiday season ahead. 

4. Have Your Resume Ready To Go

If you are after a seasonal job with a “corporate” employer, you’d be expected to go through the same job application process as full-time employees. That means you’ll need to have your resume primed and ready to go.

It can be easy to let your resume upkeep slip while you are busy with your education or did a bunch of temporary and part-time jobs before. So set some time aside to update your resume on a regular basis. 

In particular, do the following:

  • Organize all your work experience section. If your work experience isn’t fully relevant to the job you are after, consider a functional resume format. 
  • Update your skills and education. List any relevant courses you did recently or skills you’ve learned on-the-job or outside it. 
  • Ask for new references. Some seasonal gigs may require you to provide a personal reference or professional reference. So get these sorted out in advance! 

If you don’t have a resume, you can make creating one very easy by using one of our professionally designed resume templates. We have plenty of options in different styles! 

You can easily download and edit your template in Word. Your finished document will look impressive and will help your application stand out from the crowd.

5. Prioritize Retail and Hospitality Job Openings

If you are looking for a seasonal job around holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas), business owners in the retail, catering, and hospitality sectors will surely be looking to hire extra staff! 

The advantage is that you can also pick late nights or shift work, which tends to pay pretty well. 

While it makes sense to focus your job search on the larger shops and chains online, it still pays you to walk around your local neighborhood to take a look at some of your smaller independent shops. Quite often local shops are being run alone by their owners, so they can often struggle to keep the shelves stocked, serve customers, and re-order stock all at the same time. You could call in and ask nicely if they have a seasonal job going. The shop owner may be feeling very frazzled, so your inquiry could offer them the welcome relief they need.

florist seasonal job

6. Take Advantage Of Flexible Contracts

Taking a job over a holiday job doesn’t mean that you will be missing out on celebrating the festive season with your family and friends. Most employers offer part-time jobs with flexible contracts for the Christmas season, for example,  so you can choose exactly how many hours you want to work. If you have some important family occasions happening that you don’t want to miss, you may work around that day so you don’t miss out on the fun.

7. Network Your Way to More Work Opportunities

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 pitch for yourself and rehearse this over again to get it right. Smile and be friendly while delivering your quick 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 for 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.

To Conclude 

Seasonal work is a nice way to make some extra money, help a struggling business out, make some industry contacts, and populate your resume with some great work experience. Surely, it might not be that fun to work during the holiday season when everyone else is partying, but clocking in some extra hours can put you in a better position both finance- and employment-wise.


  • Elena Prokopets

    Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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