Top Tips for Getting a Christmas Job

Getting a Christmas job
iStock.com/shironosov
Work may be the last thing you want to think about
at Christmas, but it can help build a presents fund!

As the festive period approaches once again, you might be daunted by the prospect of having to budget for all those gifts. Your student loan came in many months ago, and since then it’s had to endure Freshers’ Week, Halloween and of course, rent. But what if there was a way to fund the purchase of presents, have money left over AND improve your chances of employment upon graduation?

Part-time jobs are popular among students, particularly around Christmas time when, thanks to the distant student loan payment and having gifts to buy, money is both short and desperately needed. Many employers offer flexible contracts and shift work, meaning that within reason, you can work as many or as few hours as you wish. 

To give you a helping hand in finding work as easily as possible, we here at The Complete University Guide have put together some top tips for getting a Christmas job:

  • Focus on retail and hospitality – Hospitality and retail are undoubtedly the two areas of employment most likely to have Christmas vacancies. The retail industry in particular will be looking to hire temporary employees, with the festive period by far the busiest time for shopping. Focusing your job search on specific industries will help save you time, especially when using online search tools which may otherwise list jobs that don’t interest you.

  • Focus on big shops – Large chains such as Marks & Spencer and Next employ a huge number of seasonal workers each year. As such, their stores will have more vacancies and you will stand a greater chance of finding employment there. While the charm of a smaller shop may be appealing (and they certainly shouldn’t be omitted from your job hunt) it’s best to start where the most jobs are.

  • Apply online – As with most things, job applications are now mostly done online. The days of handing in a CV in person aren’t quite over, but it’s increasingly common for shops to refer you to the website should you wish to apply. Save yourself a trip to the high street and begin your job hunt from the comfort of your own home.

  • Get in quickly – It sounds obvious, but the longer you wait, the less chance you have of finding a job. The job market is extremely competitive, and recent research has suggested that jobs in retail and hospitality attract an average of over 25 applicants per position. Although an employer may list a closing date for applications, it is not uncommon for them to bring this forward should they find a suitable candidate. As such, you should apply for a position as soon as you find it.
  • Make yourself available – Very few people will want to dedicate all of their free time to work. As it happens, employers are also unlikely to be offering Christmas work on a full-time contract. However, it is important to let them know that you are available. During the application stage, many employers will ask you to list the hours that you are able to work. By listing as many free hours as possible, your chances of being called to interview are heavily increased. Employers won’t expect you to work all of those free hours, and instead will find it appealing that you can be flexible as to which shift pattern you take.
  • Apply for every job that you can do – As we’ve already mentioned, the jobs market is extremely competitive and it would be naive to think that you’ll get the first job you apply for. Employers with an online application service will often have an option for you to create an account and save your details, making it much easier to apply for several different vacancies. It is also common for employers to advertise each opening as an individual role (e.g. several Customer Assistant openings), and by applying to each one, you stand a far better chance of getting noticed.
  • Be prepared to be offered the job – With the demand for new employees being so high, employers may wish to offer you the job in the interview. This is beneficial for them as it means that you can start as soon as possible, and the business can therefore reap the rewards of your work much sooner. In order to accept a job, you’ll more than likely need to show them your passport, your National Insurance number and a proof of address. Coming in prepared will help ensure that you don’t miss out should they offer you a position.

Check out our Careers section for info on graduate jobs, internships and the job prospects of your degree.