If you haven’t had any luck finding a full-time job this year, you might want to look for something short-term to tide you over.

It’s been a good year for all kinds of seasonal employment. It terms of employment, the difference between this December and last couldn’t be more stark. Seasonal or holiday employment is up, but plenty of folks are getting temp jobs that are plugging the gap until something full-time opens up.

“UPS told me they expected to hire up to 4,000 new delivery helpers just for the season,” says John Challenger, of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Packages need gift-wrapping, shipping and delivering this holiday season and plenty of job seekers are finding these short-term seasonal jobs are paying well enough to pay the bills. With the economy growing again, there are plenty of temporary jobs to go around. You just have to know where to look.

“They don’t even advertise positions, a lot of these firms. They just call and say, I need a temporary to fill in until we figure out what we’re going to do,” says Tim Flood, Smart Resources, Inc.

Which can work if you’re looking for something to pay the bills until the job you want opens up.

“I feel like temporary work is what’s getting me through until I get a full-time job,” says Monica Rodriguez.

Bit if you’re smart, you might be able to turn your temp job into the real thing. In a surprising twist, more companies are using prospective employees on a temporary basis first before deciding whether or not they’re going to make them a full-time offer.

“Maybe they didn’t even intend to create a temp-to-hire out of them, but they like the person, their business has picked up and they say, we need to add headcount all of a sudden,” Flood says.

Which is what happened to Michael O’Sullivan.

“I was looking for something to fill the gap between school semesters. I’ve just come back ever since. I just graduated in September. I’m temping at the company where I temped before on a track to go permanent with them,” O’Sullivan says.

If you do decide to go the temp route, be sure to treat every interview as if you were interviewing for your dream full-time job, so dress your best, be prepared and think through what you really want.

“We actually tell people be ready to work the next day. Make sure your child care is in line, if you need that. Make sure when you go into an interview, you bring work references with you, so you don’t have to call them back in a day or two. Because if someone’s sharp and we can do the background check right away, we can have them working in a day or two,” Flood says.

Which could be the best gift you get this holiday season.

In addition to looking for seasonal warehouse and shipping jobs, restaurants, caterers, hotels and resorts are good places to look for short-term jobs as well.


Smart Resources, Inc.
29 S. LaSalle, Suite 635
Chicago, IL 60603

Challenger, Gray & Christmas
150 S. Wacker Dr.
Suite 2700
Chicago, IL 60606