Looking for part-time work through the holidays? Apply now, says the BBB

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CROMWELL —  Connecticut Better Business Bureau says if you are looking for a part-time job for the holidays – now is the time to start. Employment-seekers will find that some sectors of the economy offer better prospects and more opportunities than traditional seasonal jobs.

“Sales trends from last year and forecasts for the end of 2016 indicate retailers are optimistic,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz. “When sales are expected to be strong, employers tend to hire more part-time employees, to be able to accommodate more shoppers.”

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts consumers will spend almost eight and a half billion dollars over the next few weeks for Halloween. The NRF says that would be a record-breaker for Halloween spending.

The significance is that we typically spend a great deal more on gifts in December than October, so eight and a half million dollars in sales at Halloween is likely just the proverbial tip of a very large iceberg.

In 2015, the NRF says, there was a three percent increase in holiday sales to more than $626 billion. If consumers are planning to spend so much on Halloween, it might be an indication of what could turn out to be a very profitable year. Business optimism can translate into more part-time season employment.

Quite a few large retailers have already announced they will be hiring hundreds of thousands of seasonal employees. Twenty years ago, the best prospects for seasonal employment would have been retail jobs such as working at the cash register, in customer service or working in the back room preparing merchandise for shipping. In this decade, holiday job opportunities are appearing in non-traditional sectors.

Big online vendors also need people to work in the back room to fill orders, work in customer service and other processing related to online shopping.

There is also a big demand for seasonal employees in the delivery sector working for delivery companies. Orders are shipped 24/7 and the volume grows exponentially as we approach the busiest retail season of the year.

Aside from local stores and restaurants, florists, caterers and event planners all need extra hands for the holiday season.

The sector with the biggest increase in holiday hiring in recent years has been transportation and warehousing, as more and more holiday shopping is done online.

Other potential seasonal employment opportunities are not only at malls, local stores and restaurants, but also florists, caterers and event planners.

So how do you increase your chances of getting hired?

  • Start looking right away – The seasonal hiring has begun and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get a nice job in a sector that you like.
  • Be prepared for an interview at any time – Carry extra resumes. You might see some “help wanted” signs, but if you are not dressed reasonably well and don’t have a resume, it’s not going to help you.
  • Find out if you can apply in the store – Some large retailers have terminals for employment seekers. That can be a time-saver.
  • Check social media and business’s websites – You may be able to find employment opportunities online, rather than taking a traditional approach of thinking of retail outlets.
  • Apply at businesses you trust – The manager may know you already if you are a customer and you would know the store’s merchandise. Use those contacts. If they don’t have any available opportunities, ask if they know of any open positions elsewhere.
  • Don’t get scammed by phony offers – It can happen by email or callers who claim they saw your resume online. The giveaway is that they will tell you that you are hired and they need your Social Security Number and banking information to get you started -without a face to face interview.

Seasonal jobs give you the chance to put your best foot forward. The most compelling reason to look for seasonal employment is because it is a foot in the door, and part-time jobs often turn into full time jobs.