October 3, 2010
Jobs in store: 'Tis the season for holiday hiring
Special to NWjobs
Emily Helander doesn’t have to shop around for a retail job this holiday season — she already has one lined up.
The 18-year-old landed her first real job this past spring — within two weeks of applying — as a sales associate for the new Fireworks Gallery gift store at Westfield Southcenter mall. Now at college, Helander will return to Fireworks during the Thanksgiving and Christmas school breaks to help out during the holidays.
“People have made me realize how lucky I am that I have a job set up already,” says Helander, a Kent resident.
It isn’t too early to start looking for seasonal retail jobs, says Dedee Rosen, manager of the Fireworks store at Seattle’s University Village shopping center. “If people are interested in working for the holidays, they should be out there right now,” she says.
How to get hired
Hiring managers offer these tips for landing a retail job:
Apply often. Apply with several retailers, and for multiple jobs with the same retailer. Walking in to fill out an application holds no advantage over applying online, most retailers say.
Be flexible. Extended holiday shopping hours can mean odd shifts. Be willing to work whenever you’re needed.
Dress appropriately. Don’t dress too casually when dropping off a résumé or interviewing. Check out the store ahead of time to see what employees are wearing.
Have a good attitude. Retailers want energized employees familiar with the store’s merchandise.
The state’s economy has been rather flat, says Jan Teague, president and CEO of the Washington Retail Association. The number of temporary retail jobs available this year should be comparable to the number from 2009, she says — about 8,600 jobs statewide from September to December.
The good news for local job seekers, Teague says, is that our area has 62 percent of the state’s retail business. “Puget Sound is probably where the bulk of [the seasonal] jobs will be,” she says.
Job seekers who concentrate their search in the region’s strong retail pockets may have a better chance of finding a job this year, says Teague. For instance, in Bellevue — with its higher wage base and lower unemployment rate — “I think there will be a lot of need for [holiday] hiring,” she says.
Retailers both large and small are planning to add staff in the coming weeks.
Macy’s is hiring several hundred seasonal sales and support workers in the Seattle area, says Krista Kinney, director of regional employment for the Northwest. Sales positions will be posted on macysjobs.com about two weeks before the company’s Oct. 19 Holiday Hiring Fair, she says.
Candidates may apply online or at in-store kiosks; those being considered will be invited by e-mail to interview at a local store during the fair. “We look for candidates with good availability and those with previous experience working with the public,” Kinney says.
Fireworks owner Michele Manasse says 40 percent of the annual sales in her six Seattle-area stores happen in December, so she’s planning to boost total store staff by about one-third, or 25 employees.
Showing enthusiasm and knowledge about the store and its products can make an applicant stand out, according to several retail managers.
“I want people that are go-getters,” says Jackie Glover, manager of the Southcenter Fireworks store, “that want to come to work, do the job, have fun and just take care of business.”
- career profile (166)
- cool jobs (71)
- education and training (63)
- entry level (70)
- etiquette (107)
- events (71)
- featured (430)
- finding your passion (98)
- health care (76)
- interviewing (90)
- job fairs (61)
- management (94)
- market trends (92)
- networking (278)
- resumes (103)
- salary (85)
- social media (92)
- technology (116)
- unemployment (57)
- work/life balance (92)