Christmas jobs are never too late to find!

It may be mid December and Christmas is everyone’s blessing and a worry, but many recruiters are still thinking about seasonal hires for the holiday season. That means – so should you!

To help you in your job search, we picked the brains of several seasonal employers and employees. We asked Royal Mail to reveal exactly what they are looking for in a festive colleague, a seasonal jobs expert how to land a winter job, and a Christmas worker to tell us about the good – and not so good.

What Christmas jobs are out there?

Many industries experience a surge in customers over the holiday period and therefore need to hire more staff. These include retail, hospitality, delivery and many more. No matter your passion you are sure to find a Christmas job to your liking.

For example, Royal Mail alone hires an extra 20,000 people to support its regular staff in the run-up to Christmas, unloading mail from vans and sorting parcels and letters.

Another recruiter offering Christmas jobs is Argos. Each store can hire up to 30 extra staff from October to December, to help out at the till and on the shop floor, collect orders from the stock room and sort out customer issues.

What skills do I need to be a Christmas worker?

John Phillips, Project Manager for Christmas Recruitment at Royal Mail, told us exactly what he looks for in his Christmas recruits:

“We are looking for people who are punctual, reliable, and who understand the importance of the work they are doing. For us, that’s delivering Christmas mail across the UK.

They also need to be fit enough to be on their feet for a long period of time with a good attention to detail.”

Alex Townley is Marketing Manager for City Internships. He is an expert in helping jobseekers find seasonal work.

Although you may initially believe you do not have the right skills to be a Christmas worker, Alex advises drawing on a variety of personal experiences to demonstrate your abilities.

Academic work, for example, can show useful skills such as dedication and attention to detail, while volunteering experience can highlight your leadership and teamwork skills. Make sure to emphasise these characteristics when applying for seasonal work.

What can I learn from a Christmas job?

Hannah Collings was a Christmas worker at Argos in Plymouth for four years. She learned a lot from her experience and still benefits from it today.

The interview process itself was completely new to Hannah and helped her develop vital interview skills.

She explains: “Interviewing for Argos at 16 was my first group interview process ever. It was very daunting! I quickly had to learn to talk about myself in a way that didn’t make me sound completely arrogant in front of my potential colleagues yet allowed me to highlight my skills.

Since then I’ve had to do a lot of group interviews for other jobs, so that first experience was very helpful.”

Hannah also learned to work as part of a team: “Our roles were clearly defined and broken up into a supply chain: Take the order, find the order and distribute it. Because you rely on other colleagues and they rely on you, you strive to do your bit right for the team.”

Alex agrees that teamwork is one of the key transferable skills you can develop during seasonal work, alongside customer service, organisation skills and attention to detail. Because Christmas jobs are results-oriented, they can allow you to highlight key achievements and figures on your CV.

What are the challenges of being a Christmas worker?

During her time as a seasonal worker, Hannah had to learn to cope with the rush of Christmas shoppers:

“Working at Argos over the holiday season was definitely fast-paced. There is a huge surge in customers and requests and it can sometimes get stressful. However it does teach you to think on your feet!”

Last but certainly not least, Hannah described another Christmas season challenge:

“Argos Radio played Christmas music from the second Halloween was over. You may think that November is a reasonable time to start, but when you are working 9 to 5 with Christmas classics on loop …it’s too early.”

Who was interviewed:

Alex Townley is marketing manager for City Internships. He has worked in graduate recruitment for five years and regularly advises students and graduates on how to find seasonal work. You can read more of his advice online.

Hannah Collings was a Christmas worker at Argos for four years. A recent Business Administration graduate, she now works as an analyst at a management consultancy.

John Phillips is Project Manager for Festive Recruitment at Royal Mail, one of the largest recruiters of seasonal help in the UK.

Who we got this information from: