Typically lots of short-term employment can wreak havoc on your resume, leading employers to believe that you are unreliable, flaky and worse – unemployable. The truth of the matter is seasonal employment is one of the only acceptable reasons for short-term work. That said, what are the benefits of seasonal employment and how do you use it to make you look good on your resume?
- Flexibility – Seasonal employment fills the gaps between jobs and school semesters. Also there are so many different seasonal jobs you can find one that fits your needs like early morning, late nights, weekdays or weekends.
- Earning Potential – Some employers pay higher or offer special bonuses if you work an entire season or return for subsequent seasons. There is often lots of hours available, increasing your ability to make more money. Don’t forget that seasonal work is better than no work.
- Travel Incentives – Some employers will pay for your travel to and from work, even if it is in a different country! Working holidays and temporary work permits allow you to work abroad and temporarily. This allows you to make money and take an adventure at the same time.
- Accommodations – Many resorts will subsidize or even provide your accommodations while you are employed there. This keeps your living expenses down and makes your earning potential grow!
- Trial and Error – Seasonal and temporary work gives you a chance to try out different jobs to see if you like them. You may think a particular career is your dream job and then you get a taste of it during a short-term work experience and find out that you are not cut out for that field.
- Practice makes Perfect –The whole process of finding a job can be intimidating. Searching for work, writing a resume and interviewing are learned skills. Practicing these skills by finding temporary work will help you to become comfortable with the process by knowing what to expect next time. Also, you can pick up on helpful tips from perspective employers during the interview and tweak your resume and job searching approach so when your dream job comes along you are more than confident.
- Learn by Doing – Any new job is an opportunity to learn new skills by trying new things. Many employers will even teach you or provide training so that you will be qualified to work for them. Some of this training will also give you certificates to add to your portfolio. Many of the skills you will learn will be transferable, meaning you can use them in other employment fields. For example, working with customers with in a restaurant requires the same people skills as working in a clothing store. You will also become aware of what you don’t know and what skills you need to brush up on.
- Character Building – Finding and going to work takes motivation and determination. It also builds your confidence and demonstrates your sense of responsibility. Depending on where you are working (i.e. the humane society, soup kitchen), it also shows your interests and values. Getting and keeping a job will challenge you to grow personally and develop good working habits. These are all good character traits that will impress any employer and even inspire them.
- Other Employer Perks – Besides travel allowances, accommodations, training and good pay, some employers will go the extra mile to attract and keep you working for them season after season. This may include things like great employee discounts, free activity passes (i.e. lift tickets if you work on a ski hill), special events, and other free things like internet access, laundry facilities, etc.
- The “Foot in the Door” factor – It has been said that, “You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.” How do you break this cycle? – with temporary and seasonal employment! Seasonal employers will often train you how to do the job, not requiring you to have any experience, however – they do require you to be teachable. Most employers agree that they are looking for someone with a positive attitude. Skills can be taught but a positive attitude cannot. Many employers will make room in their company to keep a seasonal employee on permanently if the employee has a good attitude and is a good fit. If they can’t keep you on, the least they can do is be a reference for future work. If you make a good first impression they may even call you back when a full-time opening becomes available.
- Resume Builder – Overall seasonal employment is a great resume builder. You can spin your experience to your advantage by mentioning on your resume, in your cover letter and during an interview what you learned and how you grew through your seasonal employment. If you are worried about how the length of the employment will look, you can omit the months (i.e. November 2008 – January 2009) and just put the years (i.e. 2008 – 2009). If you have lots of seasonal employment then just list the ones that are applicable to the job you are applying for. You can also explain how it was seasonal on your cover letter or in an interview or have a special section on your resume for “seasonal” employment.
Next time you are looking to make some extra money or to break into a new career field, try seasonal employment and see where it leads you. You might gain more than a fat wallet!
This article was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site, posted November 1, 2009. It is reposted here with permission.