Between Christmas presents, the annual trip back home and general merry-making, it’s no wonder our wallets are a little (or a lot) lighter than usual during the holiday season. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend more than $1,000 on holiday celebrations this year.
To make a little extra to cover expenses, thousands of people search for part-time jobs, which is good news for retail giants, including Amazon, Kohl’s, Target and Macy's, which are on track to hire more than 700,000 seasonal workers in anticipation of big holiday spending, according to CNBC.
And it’s not just big companies looking for workers: short-term employees help small businesses keep up with the increased demands of the season by waiting tables, restocking shelves and keeping checkout lines moving briskly. If you're in search of part-time work to help take the edge off of your holiday spending, these are the best jobs to look for.
The best seasonal jobs
Interested in finding a part-time job to help pay for holiday expenses? These are four of the most common types of jobs seasonal workers land each year.
Amazon warehouse team member
Thanks to Amazon's massive supply chain, the company has warehouses all over the country. As a seasonal worker, you help sort, ship and deliver the large number of packages that move through its fulfillment centers as Amazon customers flock to the ecommerce marketplace to order gifts, decorations and groceries for the holidays.
Starting this month, Amazon has increased the base hourly pay for all of its employees to $15 an hour, with the potential to earn more.
Retail is one of the most common industries to find seasonal jobs. Supermarkets, shopping malls and grocery stores commonly search for employees to handle the influx of inventory and long checkout lines. In fact, dreaded checkout lines prompted Walmart to announce the launch of roving teams of checkout employees, so customers can get their items scanned and paid for right where they find them on the shelves. If you're a relatively cheerful person, know your way around a cash register and can bag items without bruising the fruit or the egos of weary shoppers, you’ll have your pick of open retail jobs.
Nationwide, retail workers earn an hourly average of between $9 (at Walmart and J.C. Penny) and $13 (at Trader Joe's).
If you're more comfortable on the slopes than behind a register, you might find work at your local ski resort. If training aspiring Olympians on the art of navigating a Black Diamond trail isn’t your thing, there are also a number of other roles ski resorts need to fill, including chair-lift supervisors, rental-desk employees and staff for the lodge restaurant.
In general, these jobs pay between $9 to $15 an hour, but if you're an experienced ski instructor, you can make upwards of $20 for each hour you carve the mountain (or watch that first-time skier attempt to).
Shipping companies, such as UPS, hire holiday helpers to handle packages and deliveries during their busiest time of the year. You don't have to be a driver to find help, but being licensed and willing to drive is a plus. Even though there are only a handful of large shipping companies, they hire a large number of seasonal employees to help during their busiest time of the year.
On average, UPS holiday helpers earn $10 per hour.
5 places to find seasonal jobs
But where do you find these jobs? While some small businesses still rely on the tried-and-true "Help Wanted" sign to advertise open positions, larger employers have moved online, and there are several apps you can use to locate these jobs. Here are five apps and websites to help you find short-term jobs this holiday season.
Formerly called Snagajob, this app specializes in locating and applying for part-time jobs in your area. You can also search for full-time careers on their platform, but unlike bigger job sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn, seasonal work has been woven into their platform from the beginning.
SeasonWorkers calls itself the "working travel website," and it caters to professionals looking for seasonal jobs in a new location. For example, if you're traveling to the mountains to the winter and looking for a job as a ski instructor, this is the site for you. Other job categories include childcare, sport, water and outdoor jobs, and teaching English as a foreign language.
FlexJobs focuses specifically on finding jobs with flexible schedules and locations. This platform is ideal for a stay-at-home parent who wants to put in part-time hours without having to worry about daycare for their kids. Unfortunately, FlexJobs isn't free. Members are required to pay $14.95 per month in order to view and apply for most jobs. But in exchange, the platform weeds out all of the scammy and unreliable short-term job postings, which tend to pop up among seasonal job postings.
The usual major players
Of course, all of the major recruiting sites don't miss the opportunity to market seasonal jobs. Sites like Indeed, SimplyHired and Monster all allow you to filter for seasonal work—and at no cost to you. While "free" is an attractive word for workers already struggling to make ends meet, know that you may have to slog through the occasional shady posting during your job search.