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Getting a Christmas temp job? How to make the most of it

5th December 2013

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Christmas should be a time for parties, presents and plenty of lazing in front of the TV, but for many hardworking students and job-hunting grads, Christmas means one thing – temping.

Yes, Christmas offers plenty of opportunities to snap up a temporary job, normally in retail as a cashier or shop assistant. You’ll usually work odd hours, covering full-time staff (think weekends and late night shopping) and the position may be low paid, but Christmas temporary jobs offer you a great way to make some extra cash, get discounts and meet new people. Here’s how to make the most of those few weeks.

Getting the job

Getting a temp job takes a little bit of preparation, so don’t think you can leave it until the last week before Christmas to apply. Most retailers are looking for people to work from the start of December through to the New Year sales, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances of securing a position.

Most major high-street retailers will only take online applications through standardised application forms. This means you’ll have to sell your skills in as concise a way as possible. Remember these key points:

  • Be flexible – Temporary staff need to be flexible to fill gaps that aren’t normally there. Emphasise your ability to work anytime and at any notice.
  • Big up your customer service experience – Ever worked in a shop before? Rave about how amazing you were, how great the team was and how you loved the products. Even if you have to exaggerate a little (a lot).
  • Be a team player – No retail experience? No worries. Retail is all about working as part of a team and being efficient. Emphasise your enthusiasm and ability to get along with others, whether through sports teams or programmes like the Duke of Edinburgh.
  • Understand their niche – A bit of flattery always goes down well. If it’s a clothes shop, talk about your love of fashion.
Making the most of it

Of course, a temporary job shouldn’t just be about the company – you need to get something out of it too, beyond some spare spending money and new friends.

Working as a temp will give you plenty of transferable skills – things you gain that can be useful in getting your next job. Remember that whatever job you do, you’ll improve your employability skills.

Some of the transferable skills you can gain from a temporary job include:

  • Teamwork – Employers love team players. Showing you can work as part of a team during the busiest retail period of the year will impress.
  • Product knowledge – You may think you’re just a cashier, but you’re actually learning about the retail system and different products. This can come in handy for a number of related careers, from product buying to merchandising to management.
  • Customer service – An important skill is the ability to make customers feel happy, secure and satisfied. If you’re the sort of person who’s scared to answer the phone or speak up for yourself, working as a temp is a great way to gain some customer service experience.
  • Application confidence – It’s a tough world out there for graduates at the moment. Going through the job application experience and succeeding will give you confidence when you come to looking for a graduate job
 You can search for temporary or part-time jobs here.

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