Key to getting a holiday job: start early


by picrossing

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The sales picture for the holiday shopping season is looking down compared with the recent past. Surveys done before the stock market drop this month were already showing that retailers, along with shipping and delivery services, that typically need help around the holidays, plan to hire about 20 percent fewer seasonal workers than in 2007. Major retailers, such as Macy's and Wal-Mart, suggest that job seekers call hiring managers at local stores to get the process started. Online sites, such as EmploymentCrossing.com, can also be useful in looking for less-obvious opportunities. Thirty-four percent of potential employers said they value a positive attitude above all, according to a survey done in September, while 25 percent cited previous experience as their No. 1 criteria in evaluating applicants. One out of 10 managers said a commitment to work the entire holiday season was a strong plus. Surveys also show that Target, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and other so-called "value retailers" will be doing the most hiring, because of the anticipation that more holiday shoppers will rule out higher-end retailers in a down economy. Additionally, shipping companies, such as UPS and FedEx will be looking for extra help, as always, particularly in package-handling positions. Companies that keep track of retail inventory, such as SRGIS, also do extensive hiring around the holidays to help monitor sales and returns of holiday purchases. Macy's plans to hire about 23,000 temporary workers nationwide between Oct. 6 and Dec. 12, according to Arlene Tumbaga, director of associate recruitment for Macy's West. Online shopping also continues to expand and could become a growing source of job opportunities during the holidays at retailers' packing and shipping facilities. Last year, online holiday sales increased 19 percent to $29 billion, according to the Challenger, Gray and Christmas survey.

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