5 reasons you should be a Christmas temp

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Temporary jobs over the Christmas period can be a gift for students and graduates getting ready to start your careers.

Temporary jobs over the Christmas holidays, or Christmas temp for short, usually last around six to eight weeks over the holiday period to help businesses cope with the festive rush and January sales. They are usually found in three main areas: retail shops and department stores, post office sorting rooms, and venues which host Christmas parties, like pubs, restaurants and bars.

Despite these jobs being short-term, there are a number of reasons to consider a Christmas temp job. Don't make the mistake of thinking the only advantage to six weeks of selling garish stocking fillers to the grandmas of the UK is the store discount.

Here are five very merry reasons to get a temporary Christmas job.

All I want for Christmas is... transferable skills

Gaining experience is at the top of the list. The breadth of available Christmas temp roles gives you the opportunity to choose a position which can help you earn skills complimentary to your career aims. Roles such as Shop Assistant or Bar Staff help develop sales skills, customer service skills, interpersonal skills, and so on.

Some of the most stringent graduate job or graduate scheme requirements are for prior experience and specific skill sets. Most graduates don't realise that very simple work experience can often satisfy these requirements. For example, if a job posting calls for graduates with problem-solving skills, you could call on negotiation and conflict-resolution skills learned satisfying demanding customers in a hospitality job. Anyone who has worked in a pub or restaurant can tell you that creative problem-solving is essential to dealing with irate or overly-merry holiday customers.

First down the chimney

For forward-thinking graduates, Christmas temp jobs can be the foot in door for a graduate scheme. Graduates looking to join schemes offered by big retailers such as Morrisons, Asda or John Lewis would benefit greatly from being able to say they've already worked for the company and have developed an understanding of the business.

In fact, Asda offers Christmas temp-ers a head start on their retail graduate scheme. The kind of insider knowledge gained on the floor during the busy season is invaluable when it comes to persuading employers you're right for a particular graduate scheme.

Gifts that keep giving

Working as a Christmas temp is similar to an internship, and like internships, Christmas temp jobs are an excellent way to make connections. This is especially important in your final year so that you can lay provisional plans.

If you're looking at your last Christmas as a student, holiday temp jobs offer the possibility of securing some kind of future employment. If the business you work for likes you, there is a reasonable chance you will get invited to return after graduation. Rather than signing on, you could be gainfully employed while you search for a graduate career - which means you can account for your time if it takes a while to find the right position.

So how do you get asked back? Be willing to work hard and step up to the plate. It may mean you have to miss the Christmas Eve night out or struggle through an early shift on New Year's Day, but you'll be glad of your sacrifice when you've got some cash in your pocket in July.

Plugging gaps

Last week covered ways to account for gaps in your CV or job application. For graduates and final year students who have already started applying to graduate schemes and internships, Christmas temp jobs are the perfect opportunity to plug any holes which may have come up in your applications.

If you've been politely declined because of a lack of experience, a holiday job can prepare for the next time round. Lack of sales experience? No problem, "I worked on the deli counter in Morrisons and upsold my socks off." Not enough customer service skills? "I assisted customers throughout the Christmas period ensuring they got the perfect present for their loved ones."

Taste of Christmas

It is likely that many of you in your final year or post-graduation will still not be sure what you want to do for a career. Though the Christmas selection is somewhat limited, temporary seasonal jobs can still give you a taste of what a career in a certain sector is like.

For instance, if you find yourself enjoying your work in a supermarket or other retail outlet, why not consider applying to retail management graduate schemes? The same goes for Christmas roles with companies places like Royal Mail or other distribution and logistics organisations.

While Christmas temp and part-time jobs are not our speciality here at graduate-jobs.com, we want to make sure you get the most out of your Christmas holidays. So put down the sherry and mince pies and go find some work!