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All I want for Christmas is... a temp job!

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High-street shops, department stores, cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs are all beginning their search for Christmas holiday staff. In other words, tis the season to start temping...?

According to The Mirror, 2013 has seen in excess of 73,000 Christmas jobs across the country. The Royal Mail have created 18,000; Sainsbury's need 15,000 extra employees; Argos are looking for 12,000, Boots want 7,000 and Wetherspoons is advertising 3,000 new roles in their restaurants. Spoiled for choice right? Which one of these thousands of jobs should you pick? You're clever, sociable, have customer service experience- you're bound to get hired. Unfortunately it's not that simple. There are not enough jobs for everyone and you're up against some tough competition, including the rest of the clever, sociable, experienced students all desperate for some holiday cash.But there are some sneaky ways to boost your chances of getting a temp job and stand out against the crowd...

Think Outside The Box

The first places that spring to mind when you think of Christmas jobs are probably shops, more specifically WH Smiths, John Lewis and Boots, or pubs. Whilst these places clearly will be on the lookout for more employees, don't be naive and only tackle for these roles. Christmas jobs will be popping up in places you don't expect. Sit down with a pen and paper and make spider diagrams of all the things to do in your area. You'll end up with far more places to approach than if you just wandered down your high-street. Places like cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys will need extra staff. Local businesses might be looking for someone to cope with the extra paperwork or the council might need more hands on deck to cope with the massive amounts of Christmas recycling. Nowhere is off limits- funeral directors, garden centres, hotels, airports, banks, sports centres- the list is endless so get exploring!

Don't Be Picky

At the end of the, day, you'll be back at uni soon and this job is for 6 weeks at the most. If you limit your options to a niche sector you automatically eliminate thousands of perfectly good money-earning opportunities. So what if you really don't want to stack shelves all day? Its temporary- you can suck it up for a few weeks. Be open-minded about your temporary job and try to see the plus side to every role you apply for. Prioritise applications for jobs that you are better suited for or passionate about, but if these are yielding disappointing results then it's wise to broaden your search.

Get Everyone Involved

Short of marching down the high-street with a megaphone yelling "I'm looking for a Christmas job! Employ me!? you should be doing every kind of self-marketing and job hunting possible. Now there are obvious constraints on what is feasibly achievable by one person- you can't be in every shop at once talking to managers, whilst being at home working on your CV and on the phone to the local pub. And obviously you shouldn't get anyone else to hand out your CV for you or submit any application forms. But, where others can help is by asking around for job offers and reporting back to you any they find, and letting people know you are looking for a job. People are more likely to hire people they know (sad but true) and you never which family members or friends need some extra hands over the holidays with their businesses. The more people that know about your search the better, so spread the word!

Be Willing To Work All The Hours God Sends

Employers hiring Christmas staff will be looking for people who will make their life, and their existing workforce's life, easier. This means taking one for the team. Many professions require working on Christmas eve, Boxing day, New Years and even the big one itself; Christmas day. Perks of this are that it often comes with double or triple pay, but it does mean that your festivities with family and friends is pretty much non-existent. However, if you do want to get a job, making it clear that you will work these antisocial hours will put a huge plus point next to your name, showing you are serious about your dedication to the role.

Go In Person

It's all very well filling out application form after application form and submitting them online in the hope that yours will get selected for further progress. In reality, all the forms go to a big server which uses algorithms to sort through and find the supposedly most relevant ones. After this, they might get seen by a human pair of eyes, but the chances of yours leaping out at them (for the right reasons) is still fairly slim. By all means submit online applications- some companies prefer this as they are easier to sort, however if you are going to do this make sure you mirror the language in the ad, edit and format your CV and tailor your application to each role. A potentially more beneficial strategy is to go into wherever you are targeting and ask to see the manager. Hand them your CV and cover letter, explain you're looking for work and that you hope to hear from them soon. That could be the day they decided to hire more staff and hey presto, you've landed straight in their lap, saving them weeks of agro and application sifting. This won't always work, but making a personal appearance can only help your chances. So, quit your mistletoe and whining (get it?) about how its soooo hard to find a job. We've just told you how- so get crack(er)ing!
anna pitts grb author

Anna Pitts studied English Language at the University of Sussex and was a marketing assistant and online researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. She now works in Marketing and Advertising for Hearst Magazines UK.

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