When the last hugely discounted flat-screen TV goes on sale, when the final gift-wrapped package is laid gently on the ramp, and when the remaining tax returns are filed, you might wonder what happens to all those seasonal jobs.
In most cases, seasonal workers work on the job and collect their last paycheck. Maybe they use the extra money to offset their holiday gift giving, or maybe they put that money away from college or some other financial goal. Jobs often end up until the next big hiring initiative.
For Dan McMain, a UPS worker for decades, the opportunity has not faded. He says the opportunity shouldn’t go away for you either.
He started at UPS as a seasonal parcel processor in 1978. He worked his way up to a permanent part-time job, then a full-time job. He moved into management, moved into human resources as a seasonal employee recruiter, and finally moved into his current position at the company as PR manager and spokesperson.
McMackin shared tips with The Penny Hoarder about the ins and outs of holiday hiring and how to turn a seasonal job into a permanent one.
Could a seasonal job become permanent?
UPS, one of the largest seasonal companies in the country, has conducted a survey on seasonal work. The company found that nearly 70% of respondents want their seasonal or temporary job to turn into a full-time job. And 90% see seasonal work as a good way to get a permanent job at a company.
So the majority of workers definitely Think Seasonal jobs are good opportunities to come across the door, but what about the employers’ perspective? Do they want to retain seasonal workers permanently?
Major seasonal employers like UPS typically have a “pipeline” to retain seasonal employees, according to Tony Lee, vice president at the Society for Human Resource Management.
With each batch of new recruits, he said, managers are watching closely to cash in on high-performing employees for long-term survival.
How to turn a seasonal job into a permanent job
Every employer works a little differently, but this battle-tested tip applies to nearly all seasonal hiring situations.
Treat it like an extended interview
Scott Waletzke, an executive at employment agency Adecco USA, recommends changing your mindset so you don’t see the job as temporary.
“I see this job as just a lengthy interview,” he told The Penny Hoarder.
Some directors may already draft a shortlist of permanent candidates. If you approached a seasonal job as a path to a new job from the start, you will surely be at the top of the list.
As with any job interview, you’ll want to get a good read about the company and its culture. Sure, you want to make a good impression, but use this time to see if the company meets your needs as well.
Seasonal work can be challenging. It’s a busy time of the year, which is why the company needs a lot of hands on deck. McMain suggested that the nature of the work might lead seasonal employees not to take the job seriously. This is where you have the advantage.
“Because it’s a temporary party, I think some people just want it for a little while,” McMain said. “If you’re not one of them, you have to make it known, and you need to stand out as a hardworking and caring individual.”
He says simple (but crucial) things like demonstrating a strong work ethic, punctuality, and flexibility will go a long way in setting yourself apart.
Ask your boss or supervisor directly
If you decide that you want to continue working with the company, let your supervisor know. It’s the most overt step you can take to secure a permanent position, but many people often avoid this conversation to avoid potential embarrassment.
It’s okay to announce your intentions as early as a job interview, but be sure to put your line manager aside after you’ve spent some time developing your role.
Make sure you have enough time to prove yourself – bonus points for concrete examples – before you ask your boss to stay permanently.
McMackin notes that seasonal work is at a fast pace, and there may not be much time lost while you shift into a professional discussion with your manager. He says the easiest time to talk about it is right after the shift.
“Do you have five or 10 minutes after work?” McMackin recommends asking.
During the conversation, state your desire to continue beyond the hiring season and express your long-term goals. Let them know about the relevant things you do in college, if possible.
“A lot of people want to come back permanently, but what if they don’t do well on the job?” McMain said.
that’s when You are, the one who hit it dead, set out with a track record of making sure you survive long after the seasonal sales are over and the crowds disperse – no longer an anonymous rookie but a permanent employee.
Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder who specializes in stories about the gig economy.