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Fund Your Free Time With These Seasonal Jobs

Last updated: June 25, 2019
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Whether summer or winter, spring or fall, it’s always a season of opportunity for you.

Seasonal jobs have been around for decades past, and they’re not going anywhere. From water parks to ski resorts, plenty of companies around the world have periods of immense demand, which means they need people like you to help them out. If you’re not looking for a long-term commitment, these unique gigs may be in your future.

This article will help you determine if a seasonal job is right for you, give you a taste of seasonal opportunities that are out there, and help you land the job you want.

Should I Apply for a Seasonal Job?

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If you’re on the hunt for a consistent income without the expected two-year commitment of your average career, you may be the right fit for a seasonal job. As a seasonal employee, you’ll typically have a solid idea of how much money you’ll make every week. Plus, your day-to-day will be well-structured, much like that of a traditional part-time or full-time job — just with a dedicated timeline.

You may wonder what makes seasonal positions so great, if your job will definitely come to an end in a short time frame. For starters, becoming a seasonal worker allows students and young adults to take advantage of their breaks and gain the experience they need to enter their future careers. For anyone else, seasonal jobs can help you maintain your flow of income during an off period, whether you need to fund your job search or your travels.

Seasonal jobs aren’t for everyone. A considerable amount of them do not provide a hefty income, and are set at an hourly wage. In addition, these gigs rarely provide a flexible schedule. If your goal is earning money whenever you want and for as long as you want, you may want to consider Rover, Lyft, and other side hustles, which provide opportunities for you to surpass a standard retail wage easily.

Ultimately, your priorities and goals will help you make your final decision on whether to pursue a seasonal job or a more flexible gig.

Common Types of Seasonal Jobs

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Seasonal employment isn’t limited to dressing up as Santa in your local mall. In fact, it includes many earning opportunities that double as fun experiences — no magic reindeer needed. Here are a few categories of seasonal jobs to help you narrow down your search for the perfect fit:

Summer Jobs

As the heat rises, your income can, too. Tourism and leisure companies capitalize on eventful summer breaks every year, which means they’ll need seasonal employees to help out annually. Job postings for summer camps and cruise ships are fairly common ahead of the season, and plenty of these opportunities uniquely provide room and board, so you’re guaranteed to save most of your earnings.

If you have special certifications, you can earn a considerable amount as a pyrotechnician, operating fireworks on Independence Day, or get a good tan on the job by applying for lifeguard duty. Otherwise, you can always find more general part-time opportunities associated with the summer. These include babysitting gigs, golf course and movie theater jobs, and much more.

Summer jobs provide great options for teachers, high school students, and college students to earn extra cash. Plus, they usually have fewer requirements than entry level positions and never expect you to remain a team member during the school year.

Halloween Jobs

If you love celebrating the spookiest time of the year, working throughout the Halloween season may be perfect for you. This season will likely bring you the widest range of jobs, allowing you to do anything from dressing up as a zombie to driving a hayride.

Keep an eye out for positions at haunted houses and costume stores like Spirit Halloween. Admittedly, these roles don’t usually pay much higher than your average retail job, but if you love to contribute to a good scare, these seasonal positions may be a blast.

Holiday Season Jobs

Just because you don’t have to be a mall Santa doesn’t mean you can’t be one. The holiday season is the perfect time for you to put your special skills to work, whether you’re an expert gift wrapper or photogenic with a white beard. In the United States and a handful of countries abroad, themed Christmas stores open ahead of winter, while everyday retail locations prepare for massive shopping sprees to come.

While entertaining hundreds of children isn’t everyone’s ideal experience, you can make an average of $30 per hour as a mall Santa (or $100 per hour as a multilingual Santa). Prefer to remain professional and organized among Black Friday crowds and last-minute shoppers? Many retail stores and grocery stores expand their teams or increase current sales associates’ earnings from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Temporary Part-Time Jobs

Some job opportunities may not align with a widely celebrated season, but rather with a company’s season of high demand. For example, an app development company may seek beta testers for a planned period of their design sprint, while an accounting firm may seek additional CPAs during tax season.

Temporary part-time positions are more likely to require skilled workers, which can mean higher pay. However, don’t feel like you’re disqualified from this seasonal job type just because you’re not college educated or professionally trained. Festival season, along with other busy times for events in your city, can frequently lead to an influx of opportunities outside the big summer and winter hiring seasons.

Nailing Your Job Search

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Every seasonal employer looks for different qualifications from their applicants. For example, having prior experience working with children can easily move you ahead in babysitting gigs and summer camp jobs. Having a food handler’s card can help you in the hospitality and food service industries.

Still, understanding the basics of applying and interviewing for seasonal positions can help you apply for any job openings without going in blind.

Applying for Seasonal Positions

The first step to landing your perfect gig is knowing when and where to apply.

We suggest starting your job search two or three months ahead of your target season. Seasonal employers are proactive in ensuring their busiest time of the year is well-staffed, so starting early means you’ll be ahead of the game. This will only help you gather better job opportunities to choose from and compete against fewer applicants.

Plenty of traditional job search websites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter can help you find the seasonal opportunities, but if you prefer a site dedicated to seasonal jobs, platforms like CoolWorks and SummerJobs.com can also help you out. Once you’ve rounded up some job titles that intrigue you, build out your resume and cover letter to fit the skills your company is looking for.

Rocking the Interview

If you’ve been invited to an interview, you’re one step closer to landing the job. Your typical interview tips — including researching your employer and arriving early to your interview — will always apply. Even if you’ll be dressed in T-shirts and shorts every day as a camp counselor, dressing in your best business professional outfit is always a good idea unless otherwise specified. Complete your interview in a quiet room if it’s over the phone.

Other than following standard interview tips, rocking a seasonal job interview depends on proving your ability to learn quickly. Because employers don’t invest as much time training temporary employees, you may want to think of situations where you thought on your feet and problem-solved quickly to bring up during the interview. We also recommend being confident that your schedule will match your employer’s desired availability before you accept your interview.

Frequently Asked Questions About Seasonal Jobs

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Seasonal employment can be a great alternative for plenty of people who don’t have the time commitment for a long-term career, or just need extra cash to meet a single goal. Still unsure if it’s something you want to pursue? Here are our answers to frequently asked questions to help you decide:

1. Are seasonal employees required to complete a background check?

Even if you’ll be working for a short time period, your employer will likely ask you to complete a background check as a safety precaution. Luckily, modern background checks are easy to complete, and usually cost no more than $50 if your employer takes it out of your paycheck.

2. Do seasonal jobs have age requirements?

Some positions will have stricter age requirements than others. For example, lifeguards must be at least 15 years old, as no one younger can be certified by the American Red Cross. If you want to be a mall Santa, you’ll at least have to look the part of a jolly old man.

The minimum age for most other seasonal positions usually just depends on your employer preferences, or your state law. Fourteen is the standard legal working age for many states, including California and New York.

3. Do employers ever keep their seasonal employees beyond their peak seasons?

Most employees do not hire on their seasonal employees beyond the scheduled time frame, as they would be overstaffed if they did so. However, it’s not impossible. If you excel at your job and your employer exists beyond a holiday season, you’ll always have the opportunity to discuss an extension, if you wish.

Cash In on Your Time Off

If you’re looking for a way to keep the money flowing in, or just want experience to boost your resume, seasonal opportunities are out there. We hope this article will help you find, apply to, and succeed in a job that interests you, so you can enjoy what you do while you earn.

Start browsing those job boards to prepare for the next season, then see your income rise as a result of you spending your time wisely.

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