The holiday hiring season is upon us, and many of the largest retail giants will soon be looking to enhance the workforce so they can meet the needs and demands of the millions of additional holiday shoppers they expect to see this season. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. retailers will fill more than 700,000 seasonal jobs this 2018 season. This number breaks the previous record in 2014 of 696,000 jobs.
In addition to retail companies, large numbers of seasonal hires will be made by shipping, manufacturing and distribution companies as well. Some people who need work will grab these jobs and give little thought to the opportunities that seasonal and part-time positions can create. This is disappointing because with the right mix of performance, communication and relationship development, several of these positions can effectively be converted into full-time careers with better pay and benefits. And with a good plan, seasonal employees can experience more long-term success than might first be imagined from these types of temporary jobs. Here are some recommendations for how to best approach seasonal work.
Remember these points about seasonal jobs.
It is understandable that you have a goal to secure full-time positions with benefits. Most of us prefer regular, more long-term work. However, if you are in need of employment, I recommend you open your horizons to the opportunities of seasonal jobs. If you find yourself in a seasonal or temporary position over the holiday season, take it seriously, and remember:
- It’s still a job with real people who can positively or negatively affect your career.
- Attitude matters. Focus on the positive instead of the negative, and treat the position with respect.
- Show up to work on time everyday that you are scheduled to work.
- Don’t minimize the position, and don’t let others make you feel inferior just because your position is not defined as regular or permanent. You have a job with the company just like everyone else. Just because your role is listed as temporary doesn’t mean your work output is any less important.
- Be present and engaged on the job. Resist all temptation to talk about your outside job search or spend time looking for jobs while you are supposed to be working.
- Seek to create new opportunities within the position and even beyond it.
Demonstrate value by asking these three value-generating questions.
Find out what matters most to your employer. Be sure to demonstrate care and value for what your colleagues and managers care about. Go to work day in and day out with the idea of adding value. Here are three groups of value-generating questions that you can apply with your colleagues, supervisors and customers to stand out from the crowd.
1. How can I help you, or how can I best meet your needs?
Don’t limit this question to customers. Ask this question of your colleagues and your supervisors as well. It will help them begin to perceive you as a team player willing to contribute and support team and organizational goals. Once people see you as easing their loads, they want to keep you around longer.
2. What is important to you, and what is your preferred communication method?
These are great questions you can ask your supervisors and colleagues. While those in management are often seeking to demonstrate value to customers and other external stakeholders, you can stand out in a big way by showing your concern for their needs and honing in on creating internal value to achieve performance goals.
3. What should we do differently, stop doing, keep doing or start doing?
These questions will show that you have the ability to think strategically and serve as a catalyst for transformation and change. The high-performing managers and supervisors who appreciate innovation will be pleasantly surprised that you are asking questions like these. They will view you as a contributor – instead of an impediment – to achieving strategic priorities.
Better yet, after observing, listening and taking in information for a good while, you might even start to make recommendations for what could be done differently. This needs to be handled delicately. But if you get a good read from a receptive supervisor, she might decide she doesn’t want to live without your input.
Focus on creating and developing meaningful relationships.
While performance, attitude, timeliness, attendance, quality and showing up matter, relationships matter more. This is supported by the statistic that informs that 85% of all jobs are filled through connections. Our interactions, communications, conflict management and emotional intelligence skills are key here. People who are best at building and leveraging relationships will surely be better at converting that seasonal job into a regular one.
Never neglect to create and develop meaningful relationships. Use your position to network and connect with people and add value to their lives. Seek or create opportunities to stand up and stand out. You should be viewed as adding value and serving the needs of those around you. Instead of constantly touting how wonderful you are at your job and all of your experience and credentials, focus instead of how you can serve and elevate others. Think in terms of serving – rather than selling – when it comes to building relationships.
Even if you don’t end up getting hired into the regular position you want, you will still have the relationships that you form. If you continue to nurture them properly over time, the return on that investment could end up benefiting you way more than the regular job you were hoping for in the first place.
At the end of the day, the position and the benefits will be as big or small as you make them because, ultimately, seasonal work is still work. Be appreciative for it, show up as your best self and give your best effort. Take things one day at a time, demonstrate value for those around you and invest in creating and nurturing relationships for the long haul. If your job ends with the season, you have a better chance of getting hired down the line because of your newly formed contacts. You also have new experience – and hopefully great references – that can help you get hired elsewhere.
This article originally appeared on Forbes