It’s that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner, and retailers are looking for casual staff to provide extra help during the busiest season of the year. If you’re thinking of getting a Christmas casual job this year, now is the time to start looking!
According to data from job-seeking site Indeed, employers start to advertise Christmas casual jobs in August. By the time December rolls around, there are fewer positions still available, but there are always businesses looking to fill a few last-minute roles!
The holiday season is the perfect time for international students to make some extra money – especially this year, considering the effects that the pandemic has had on casual workers. It is also an opportunity to gain valuable practical experience.
1. Find the right Christmas casual job for you
Think about the kind of role that you want. What are the things you like doing and the stores you like visiting? An important consideration is whether you enjoy speaking to customers or not. If you do, there are a variety of casual retail and sales assistant roles available over the Christmas period. If you do not enjoy speaking to customers, you might consider applying to do packing, online fulfilment, forklift operation, and any other behind-the-scenes role. Deciding what type of role you are interested in will help you to narrow your search and prepare accordingly.
2. Update your resumé
Do not use your internship resumé for these roles. Christmas casual employers are looking for very specific things, and it is important that your resumé takes these into consideration. During this time, employers are usually time-poor and receive multitudes of applications. Help your resumé stand out by following these tips:
- Make sure your resumé is no longer than two pages.
- Mention your contact details on top so employers have quick access (many employers will call to assess communication skills over the phone).
- Put your availability near the top, mentioning the flexible hours/days you can work.
- In most cases, there is no need to mention the details of your course – the university and program name will suffice (though if you are studying hospitality and applying for a hospitality job, it can be helpful to include your GPA).
- If you possess key skills that are relevant to the job, mention these (for example, people skills, organisational skills and communication skills are crucial in most Christmas casual positions).
- Remember to mention any leadership positions you might have held, including in school.
- Mention any previous casual jobs or volunteering roles you have had.
- A short note on your hobbies and interests can help to showcase your personality.
3. Research the brand
While most Christmas casual listings do not ask you to provide a cover letter, you may be asked why you are interested in the role or the company.
Before writing a response, have a look at the company’s website and read through the brand values. Matching your response to these values, and aligning them to your own values and experiences, shows the employer that you will be a fitting addition to their company and teams.
If you have ever held a job in retail or customer service, make sure to mention skills such as point-of-sale handling, bagging and gift-wrapping.
4. Listing your availability
When employers hire additional staff for the holidays, they are looking for people who are flexible in their availability. No employer will want to spend time training you if you can only work five hours per week. The upside is that international students are more likely to be able to work unlimited hours during university holidays.
However, do not rule yourself out of a position because you think they are looking for 24/7 availability. Be honest about your capacity but try to be as available as you can. We recommend listing full-day availability on the days you can work. Also be reasonable about the time you’ll need for other commitments, such as study, internships and relaxation time. If you have a holiday planned, mention it in your application.
If you show your employer that you are right for the job, they will likely offer you a role and shifts even if your availability is slightly limited.
5. Do not limit yourself
Just because you have never worked in a retail store does not mean you should not apply for Christmas casual jobs. Roles such as being a photographer’s assistant, Santa’s helper and other customer-facing roles can be extremely fun experiences too. Be open-minded and apply for jobs that intrigue or excite you, and you will be gaining on-the-job experience before you know it!
6. How and where to apply
Now that you are prepared to apply, here are a few places you can look for Christmas casual jobs:
- Google ‘Christmas + casual + your location’ to get an idea of the Christmas casual roles nearby.
- Type ‘Christmas casual’ on job search sites such as Seek, Indeed, Nuevo and Jora.
- Most large organisations are keen to employ international students but will ask you for your visa and passport details. However, they need to ensure you have a right to work in Australia before they invest more time in your application. When you apply, label these documents in this format: <FirstName_LastName_DocumentName> (for example, ‘John_Smith_Passport’).
- For smaller retailers and cafés, we recommend applying in person with a printed copy of your resumé. These places are usually looking for someone who can enhance customers’ store experience and will want to meet any prospective employees.
It is important to keep in mind the location of these stores. Christmas casual jobs usually require long hours, often late into the night. Remember to be mindful of your own safety and ensure you work in a location you are familiar with.
7. The interview process
Your hard work paid off and you get a call for your interview. Remember to:
- Be on time. Punctuality matters, particularly during this busy time of year.
- Carry all relevant documents (original and photocopy) that they have asked you to bring.
- Carry a pen and paper for filling out any paperwork.
- Dress appropriately. Formal clothing is not required, but make sure to match the expectations of the brand. Jeans are alright if you are interviewing for McDonald’s, for example, but they will not be acceptable for a luxury brand.
- If it is a personal interview, send them an email with a thank you note after the interview. This will keep you top of mind.
Remember, most organisations have the scope to offer permanent roles once the holiday season is over. If you do a great job, you have pushed your way through the first step of securing a more permanent role.
Hopefully, you are now well-prepared and ready to ace your Christmas casual interviews. Good luck!