The turning of the season from Summer to Autumn begins the traditional start of the holiday hiring season. Job Seekers should find the 2021 holiday season to be much different than the norm.

For the Job Seeker, this holiday season finds the nation still within the COVID-19 pandemic. The difference, however, is that business is mightily trying to stay open this year with as much normalcy as possible. So, you will see many of the usual holiday openings available during 2021. The urgency for companies to hire for the holidays are further highlighted by the current labor shortage being felt by many industries. This combined scenario should lead to a very good employment situation for those seeking a seasonal job.

Things are not all rosy for Job Seekers, however, as COVID-19 has to be on the minds of those seeking employment. The first decision that a person needs to decide is how much human interaction they are comfortable with in their job. The time spent with others (and a variety of different people) increases the exposure and subsequent risk of contracting COVID-19. A person also will need to navigate the vaccination situation that will exist at time of hire. If a person is vaccinated, then that is one less thing to worry about; not so if you are unvaccinated, as you will have to be educated on your prospective employer’s policy on the situation.

There are many reasons why someone would be seeking a holiday season position. Some people are looking to supplement their full-time income with a position over the holiday season to, perhaps, secure the funds for gifts. There are other Job Seekers who seek work over the holidays, but do not desire year-round work. This may be due to family requirements, or perhaps they are retirees. Finally, some of you seeking holiday employment may be unemployed from your last position and are seeking a transitional job. Sometimes, even holiday seasonal positions can lead to full-time employment when you impress enough people.

The type of positions available should continue the progression of how consumer shopping has changed over the last ten years. Let’s take a quick look at some of the options that may be available to you:

  • Traditional retail still exists and will, of course, see a November and December surge. The combination of changing consumer habits along with safe COVID-19 practices will most likely see more internet shopping than ever this season. Not all positions have to be customer-facing, as larger stores will have dedicated staff just for stocking shelves, especially if you would like to work a night schedule. Finally, a growing position within traditional retail is individuals that pick internet orders for curbside pick-up or home delivery.
  • Western New York has seen the growth of e-commerce companies over the last several years, opening up positions that serve the internet to home retail market. These companies often see a huge boom in Quarter 4, opening up positions ranging from those who material handle product to those who select orders for shipment.
  • Related to this surge in e-commerce is an increased need to deliver packages. This can be from one of the big delivery companies, or locally handling gift packages or flowers. If you like to drive and know the area well, then a delivery job could be what you are seeking.
  • In-bound call centers may also see a surge in need during the holiday season, dependent on what they are servicing. If they are handling a product that surges during the holidays then naturally there will be more customer calls and e-mails to respond to regarding mis-orders, shipping delays, etc. This work may fit better for those with strong oral communication skills, who want or need a less physically demanding position then some of those noted above.
  • In previous years, I would probably emphasize the catering and restaurant business, but this is an area hit hard by COVID-19. Fewer companies, either because of social distance concerns or due to the staff working remotely, are having holiday related food events.

We are entering the traditional holiday hiring season, but 2021 will certainly provide a unique situation for Job Seekers. Once you have decided that you are interested in a seasonal position, then determine the type of work that you want to perform. Finally, it would not be 2021 without also having to decide your current COVID-19 situation and how it matches the policy of your prospective employer.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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