Tips for getting - and keeping - a holiday job

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 15, 2010; 8:24 AM

With 15 million Americans looking for a job, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge. We talked to some hiring experts to get some last-minute tips for getting - and keeping - a job this holiday season.

Get social: The days of walking into a store and filling out an application are virtually over. Many companies require jobseekers to fill out those forms online. UPS workforce planning manager Matt Lavery said 95 percent of the company's ads for its 50,000 job openings this holiday season will appear on the Internet. UPS is on all of the major jobs sites, but it also has begun getting the word out through social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Know the company's value and messages: Once you get an interview, K.C. Blonski, a director at workforce consulting firm AchieveGlobal, says showing you researched the company's background and history can help you stand out. Even though you might not know how things work on the inside, understanding corporate philosophy can help you decide whether the job is a good fit.

Ask questions: The work doesn't end once you've landed a job. Experts said the best employees don't just do what they're told. They want to understand why and look for ways to improve on processes and add value. That extra step makes them more valuable to employees and more likely to stay on after the holiday rush is over.

Tell them what you want: Lisa Bordinat, senior vice president at consulting firm Aon Hewitt, said you shouldn't be shy about letting your bosses know you want to be considered for permanent work. Ask them what skills you'll need to keep the job and how you can develop them.

Be patient: Don't despair if your temporary position doesn't become permanent. Lavery of UPS said often the problem is simply that there are no open positions, not that the employee didn't do a good job. As slots become available, Lavery said managers will often turn to stellar holiday workers first. And don't forget: There's always next holiday season.


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