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Converting Your Seasonal Job to a Permanent Position: Tips for Success
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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Benefits to working seasonal and holiday jobs include the extra income and store discounts you may receive. Even more beneficial is that if you have an interest, you can also set yourself up as a prime candidate for converting that part-time job into a full-time position.

Seasonal and holiday work is a lot like temp work in that it's a great opportunity for job-seekers to get a foot in the door. Yes, most holiday workers are hired with the promise of working only for a certain amount of time. By making a name for yourself during those short months you are on the job, you may be able to turn that holiday position into something permanent.

What are some tips for making a name for yourself?

  1. Be dependable. Know your schedule and always show up on time. Tell your supervisor that you are available in a pinch if there's a need. Retail managers are constantly struggling to find reliable workers, so as long as you are dependable, this tip should be an easy one to master.
  1. Do the work. Show that you are not just working the job to make some holiday cash, but instead there to help the company. Workers who are just putting in their "time," are easy to spot–and managers know who those folks are. Instead, show your value by always performing above and beyond what is asked of you.
  1. Network within the company. Get to know all the managers -- and make sure they know your strengths. The more managers who know who you are and what you're capable of will give you multiple opportunities to shine and land one or more permanent openings.
  1. Look the part. Companies like Abercrombie even admit to hiring people who look like their customers (like they belong at the store). Even if you wear a vest or coat, or some other type of uniform, if you are dealing with customers, you should always try to look and dress your best. Good grooming and hygiene are essential.
  1. Be the problem-solver. Whenever there is a problem that needs to be resolved, volunteer to help solve the problem. Managers love workers who are not only self-sufficient, but who think proactively, taking care of little problems before they become major catastrophes.
  1. Avoid the grapevine. Spending too much time gossiping about fellow co-workers is one of the sure ways to make a name for yourself -- in the totally WRONG way. Now, this tip doesn't mean you should not be friendly; quite the opposite. You should be friendly with all co-workers (as well as customers) -- just stay away from talking about other people.
  1. Don't overdo the employee discount. Sure, the discount is there for you to use -- and it's a great win-win to have the extra income AND get a discount, just don't go crazy with it. Share the discount with your family members, but don't have the whole neighborhood coming to the store to get your discount.
  1. Express your interest. There is certainly no harm to asking your Representative to let the client know that you are interested in a full-time position should one become available.

If a career in retail is something that interests you, a great way to get a foot in the door is through seasonal employment. If you avoid the pitfalls and focus on showcasing your enthusiasm, accomplishing as much as you can while on the seasonal payroll, you can slowly position yourself for a permanent slot with the company.

Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at

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