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How to Turn a Seasonal, Temp Job into a Permanent Position

If you want your seasonal job to turn full-time, here’s what you need to know.

It’s that time of year again – eggnog, pumpkin spice, parties and gift giving. With all the shopping and merry-making, the holidays have a way of thinning our wallets. This means you may have decided to join the more than 650,000 temporary seasonal workers this year.

Some shoppers love to have an extra cushion to soften their holiday spending. Others simply love being busy and can’t stand sitting at home with nothing to do. Though these part-time, temporary jobs help increase our holiday budget and soften Black Friday’s blow, like Frosty, they melt away soon after Christmas, which leaves us scratching our heads wondering how to turn a temp job into a permanent position.

However, your future may be a little brighter than expected. Hiring managers may want you to stick around after the shopping season comes to a halt. CareerBuilder recently learned more than 20 percent of companies plan to transition their seasonal workers into more permanent roles.

If you’re looking to stick around after the holidays, here are four tips to help you know how to turn a temp job into a permanent position.

1. Check your attitude at the door.

No matter the job, the hours or how much it pays, there are some workers who just don’t want to be there but have few options. Seasonal jobs are no different. Most people who take on temporary roles during Christmas are not very happy about it. They prefer to spend the time with family and friends, not stuffing boxes for minimum wage. Don’t be one of those unhappy people. Their dissatisfaction often is obvious and hurts any chance of transitioning into permanent roles.

This isn’t a prison sentence, though it may feel like parole at the end of the day. Think of your current situation as paid training. You’re learning new skills, networking with potential employers and building your resume. These positions give you the chance to practice other skills as well.

One of the best ways to turn a temp job to a permanent position is by being positive. Having a good attitude will set you apart from your co-workers. Happier workers produce faster, make less mistakes and help reduce others’ anxiety. These traits are noticed and will increase your chances at being offered permanent work.

2. Make them remember you.

Floor managers recommend potential candidates to the hiring manager. The only way to get their vote of confidence is by getting noticed. Take time to reach out and build a professional relationship with your manager. Many managers won’t take the initiative to reach out because they expect you to leave within a short timeframe. Go above and beyond your responsibilities to help. Volunteer for more difficult tasks. Be the first to accept overtime. Just don’t go too overboard.

Focus on building rapport with other full-time team members. Like the managers, they probably won’t go out of their way to welcome you because they expect you to leave within three months. Make it a point to get to know your co-workers in a way that helps to build a professional friendship. Don’t be afraid to ask them for the occasional pointer or offer help when they need it most.

3. Go the extra mile.

On that same note, if you want the manager’s recommendation, you have to prove you are a worthy candidate. Treat your seasonal job like a full-time position, or act like you’re interviewing for a new job. Show up early for each shift to give yourself time to prepare. Don’t race out when it’s time for lunch or the end of the day. If you act like you’re leaving soon and don’t give it your best, the floor manager will assume this is your typical work ethic and give the recommendation to someone else.

Show the manager you’re willing to go the extra mile. Volunteer to take other co-worker’s shifts when they call in sick. Stay late when needed. Don’t be afraid to ask the manager what he needs. Explain to him you want to transition into a permanent role and would like to take on extra tasks to learn the job. Ask the manager if you can shadow some full-time workers to learn more about the department and standard procedures.

4. Talk to the hiring manager and supervisors.

No one will know you want the job unless you tell them. There’s nothing wrong with talking to human resources and asking about full-time opportunities after the holidays. They may need to fill a position quickly. You’re timing helps remove extra steps from their already hectic schedule. Also keep your supervisor in the loop.

Don’t wait until the last minute to tell them what you want. The last week on the job is not the best time to ask questions about full-time positions. Many managers already have made their decision and submitted recommendations, and human resources is already making plans for the new crew. Be straightforward from the start. Tell them your intentions. On the other hand, don’t be too pushy. If they tell you jobs will be posted after your temp contract expires, be patient and take the time to prove your effectiveness.

How to look for the best seasonal job.

Turning a seasonal opportunity into a permanent role starts with choosing the right job. There are more than 600,000 according to Forbes. Many of those are lower paying gigs in the retail or warehouse management sectors. Just keep in mind, turning those low paying jobs into full-time opportunities comes with raises and more benefits. Here are a few tips on finding the best seasonal job.

When to Apply.

Seasonal positions typically are in high demand the entire season, from Halloween until New Year’s week. While good opportunities may present themselves the week of Christmas, starting early reaps the cream of the crop. October is the best time to apply for seasonal work. Many companies place Christmas decorations and stock shelves with gifts in preparation for Black Friday shopping festivities. Pre-Black Friday Jobs pay more and yield more permanent opportunities.

Where to Apply.

Three industries hire the majority of seasonal workers during the holidays – retailers, entertainment and shipping. Most retail and shipping companies advertise positions on popular job boards, including Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor. Filter your search terms to “temporary” and “seasonal.” Don’t forget to search job sites for the major competitors, Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Target, etc. Restaurants and entertainment venues typically list their holiday positions on local job boards or advertise in the paper. Some place signage around the property announcing hiring opportunities and interview dates.

Looking for Opportunities.

Most seasonal jobs don’t come with benefits (i.e. sick days, vacation, insurance, etc.). But some companies offer incentives to promote their listing. Look for positions offering discounted services, shopping rebates, etc. Amazon and eBay often offer shopping discounts to temporary employees. Also scan the job listing for permanent hiring. Many large retailers indicate they will retain a percentage of seasonal workers. These jobs have higher potential for staying long-term.

Now that you know how to turn a temp job to a permanent position, it's time to start applying. Need help with your resume? Take advantage of our free critique today!

Landing your dream job starts with the right plan.

Download your free action plan now to get the job you deserve.

Land your dream job.

Landing your dream job starts with the right plan. Download your free action plan now to get the job you deserve.