The holiday season can be a great opportunity to meet employers, earn extra cash, and even land a full-time gig.
"Look at a seasonal job as an opportunity to build your network, get references, or get a referral," says Michael "Dr. Woody" Woodward, author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy.
A seasonal job can be a chance to impress employers with your dedication and passion, and to show off your potential. "I'm a big fan in getting in front of the right people," says Dr. Woody.
Whether you're looking to make a career move, or earn extra spending cash, we've put together a list of jobs in high demand this holiday season:
1. Errand running: Are your closets color coordinated, and your list of chores alphabetized by category? If so, this might be the perfect job for you. The busy holiday season makes it more difficult for people to take care of everyday tasks like picking up dry cleaning, getting a car inspected, or booking airline tickets. Or, they might want someone to decorate their front yard, go holiday food shopping. Search and apply for Care Gigs on Care.com or Task Rabbit.
2. Babysitting: Between last-minute runs to the mall, and office holiday parties, parents need extra help with childcare around the holidays. You can update your profile on Care.com or spread the word among mom groups in your city.
3. Toy assembly: If you're a wizard with a screwdriver, and always dreamed of being a Santa's helper then this job's for you. Retail stores like Toy's R Us need handy employees to put together bikes, train sets and doll houses. Visit careerplanner.com.
4. Mall retail: According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are projected to hire between 480,000 and 500,000 temporary workers this holiday season. Seniors who don't have experience working the cash register can find jobs as a gift wrapper or greeter, welcoming shoppers who walk through the door. You can go directly to the stores at your local mall to fill out an application or check out careerbuilder.com
5. Delivery jobs: "Online sales continue to grow each year," says Dr. Woody. Companies that deliver goods need help getting packages to eager customers on time. The job can be physical and fast-paced, and it's a good fit for workers who like to stay on the go, and who want a flexible schedule. Contact career services at FedEx.com, dhl.com, ups.com. Also consider stopping by your local florist or catering company, if local delivery is more your speed.
6. Tutor: Fall semester grades usually come in before winter break, and kids may need a little extra help with algebra or biology. Care.com is designed to link tutors with students (learn how to post your tutor profile), and organizations like Kaplan and Princeton Review always seem to be hiring tutors and teachers for standardized test prep.
7. Secret Shopper: Do you love spending other people's money? Secret shoppers are hired by companies to measure quality of service or compliance to regulations. On the job you can stay at four star hotels and dine at some of the best restaurants. To find out more, check out Certified Field Associate, Coyle Hospitality , and ICC Decision Services.
8. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking: The holidays are always a whirlwind. Families often travel or have relatives visiting and don't want to kennel their furry friend. Love animals? Sign up to be a pet sitter or dog walker during the holiday breaks.
9. Driving Services: The holidays are the busiest travel time, and you can make some quick cash getting families to the airport gate on time. The elderly may also need someone to help them get to the mall to pick up gifts, to the post office, or to doctor's appointments. Use Craigslist, post flyers in town and update your Care Gig profile to recommend this service.
10. Small party catering: Do friends beg you to make your chocolate cheesecake for their dinner parties? If so, you may want to consider joining what the National Association of Catering Executives estimates is a $7.1 billion a year business. Before you book any jobs, check with your local health department to find out the regulations in your area. Dr. Woody advices you tap into your friend network on Facebook and Twitter to spread help spread the word about your business.
Before you apply for any of these jobs, Dr. Woody recommends you join LinkedIn, which can be one of the easiest ways to build an online professional presence. Employers usually turn to Google as a first reference, and in this competitive job market it's important to put your best foot forward. "Make sure your online profile is accurately projecting what you want to portray," says Dr. Woody.