Monday, October 1, 2012

Holiday Hiring Season and College Students

The 2012 Holiday season is finally here. For you college students, this merry season brings along a lot of job opportunities. Many department stores will need to hire new employees to service the large volume of customers who are expected to shop this holiday season. Many retail stores have already prepped for that excited season. Therefore, the earlier you can submit your application, the better your chance of being invited for an interview and ultimately offered a position.

According to Reuters, this holiday season, Wal-Mart is expected to hire 50,000 seasonal employees. Las year, Target hired 92,000 employee for the holiday season. Thirty percent of those employees were given permanent position thus making this year estimate to be at around 80,000 to 90,000 employees (Atlanta Business Chronicle). Kohl’s and many other giant department stores are also hiring. There are many ways that you can inquire about new employment opportunities in you locality. You can do so by visiting the actual store website, calling the human resources department or simply take a trip to that store. You will need to be careful on whom you ask about current store vacancies. Some store associates simply aren't current on recent or new openings; others simply would not encourage you to apply because of the competitive nature of today's job market.

From my experience, when you walk into a store don’t make the mistake of talking with only one store associate. Before leaving that store, try to at least talk with 3 to 4 employees.  You need to be certain that one of those employees is a supervisor or someone who works in the human resources department. I remember 6 years ago, I approached a supervisor at a major home improvement store and asked him if the store was hiring. He quickly responded me with a “Nope….we are not hiring at this time…as a matter of fact, my department  has recently taken measures to cut on some employee hours”. I replied “thank you sir” then I walked to the customer service desk and stood in line until my turn was up. When the associate asked if she could help me, I said: “well….obviously, I don’t have any return but I live just 5 miles from the store and I would love to work here”. She responded, “You came right on time because our store is accepting application for receiving (warehouse), cashier and appliance sales associates. One week later, I was offered the position of appliance sales associate but I rejected the offer in favor of a much better position that I had on campus.

Since many students do go back to their home cities, it is important that you plan your holiday schedule ahead of time so that you don’t risk loosing your new job. Plan as if your career with that company will go beyond the holiday season. As a matter of fact, many stores will retain a small percentage of their seasonal employees. There is a high chance that you might be one of the few that they choose to keep. I refer to that as the "seeing the glass half full instead of half empty" attitude. If you don’t have a permanent job, don't be afraid to approach your supervisor or human resources personnel and express to them your desire to become a permanent employee with their company. You need to show them that you are interested in their company. Most importantly, you will need to show your immediate supervisor that you are someone who is reliable, respectful and customer oriented. If you are hired as a sales associate, try to be the best sales associate that you can be. Don’t be afraid to seek advices from senior and top performer associates.

I hope this holiday season brings some extra bucks in your pocket.

W. Sainval

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