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Turning a Holiday Job Into a Permanent Position


Think of it as an audition for a full-time gig.

As companies hire extra workers for the holidays, some of these seasonal employees are already wondering: How do I turn this temporary position into something permanent? And, in this economy, can I?

Retailers who are typically big seasonal employers are suffering through a prolonged slump in consumer spending that's forced many to cut back staffing. Other employers, such as the United States Postal Service, have implemented hiring freezes. So, while these companies are employing temporary help, they don't expect to make many permanent offers.

Still, personnel consultants and company executives say there are plenty of opportunities for hard-working seasonal employees to stay on even after the new year. Shipping giant UPS Inc. (UPS), for one, says it could eventually hire thousands of workers who make it through the frenetic holiday season.

The first step in nabbing a job: Make it clear that you're interested in the company, and looking for a permanent role. Most seasonal workers never get a chance at other jobs because they simply never ask, said Jeff Joerres, the CEO of staffing company Manpower (MAN).

But be tactful, and don't pester management.

"Make yourself available for additional opportunities," he said. "But don't over extend yourself."

More tips for making the transition from temporary help to full-time employee:

Remember the Basics

Even when a job is short-term, employees need to behave as they would in a full-time, permanent position. So, arrive on time, follow your schedule and don't request time off work unless it's absolutely necessary.

Seasonal workers do tend to get the less desirable shifts, such as late nights and weekends. But to make a good impression, just smile and keep working hard.

"In a temporary employee, that's the No. 1 thing employers look for: reliability and dependability," said Craig Rowley, vice president of the global retail sector for the Hay Group, a consulting firm.

In a survey of 25 companies, including Best Buy (BBY) and Target (TGT), Hay Group reported 49% of retailers said they will hire 5% to 25% fewer seasonal workers compared with last year.

Along with that, show that you're willing to be flexible. If managers ask you to work longer, do it. Likewise, if they need someone to pick up an extra shift, be the first to volunteer.

Small gestures can go a long way in winning over employers, Joerres said.

"There's an amazing amount of people who show up for work and want to collect a paycheck and don't show that they want anything more than that," he said. "And I think that disappoints employers."
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