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Holiday Season Jobs Open!

By Susan P. Joyce

If your job search isn't moving forward quickly enough and cash flow is becoming a serious problem, it might be time to consider getting a seasonal job. These jobs may be an inside track to a permanent job with one of these employers, or they could lay the groundwork for a job with another employer.

"Holiday season jobs" typically last from October through the end of December, occasionally into January. Stop by your local mall or big box retailer, and you'll probably find a table with job applications near the entrance to each store.

The seasonal jobs available range from part-time (typically fewer than 20 hours a week) to full-time (35 to 40 hours per week). While retail has traditionally had the greatest growth during the holidays, this year (2016) is slightly different than in the past, with the biggest growth in transporting and warehousing since more online holiday shopping is anticipated this year.

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700,000+ Seasonal Jobs with Retailers and Shippers

Retailers and distribution companies like UPS are planning to hire over 700,000 people for the 2016 holiday season, according to outplacement company Challenger, Gray, and Christmas

The end-of-year holidays provide great opportunities, particularly if you are interested in jobs in retail sales, working for a retailer, or working in another business associated with the holidays.

But retail jobs are definitely NOT the only seasonal jobs available this year!

Shipping/Distribution Jobs Growing Faster than Retail Jobs in 2016

Don't assume that every seasonal job is a sales job at a retailer. Again, Amazon leads the list of employers hiring for the holidays with 120,000 jobs, and UPS is second with 95,000 jobs. Amazon's seasonal jobs are all in their fulfillment centers where holiday orders are packaged and shipped. UPS jobs are in distribution and delivery.

The large retailers are also hiring, not surprisingly, although not in the large numbers we have seen in the past. And, not every job with a retailer is a sales job. While many of their jobs are sales jobs, these large retailers also have staff supporting all of their sales activities, from accounting to marketing and, for many, distribution.

The Large Employers for 2016

These big retailers have announced their hiring goals for the 2016 holiday. Collectively, the goal is filling nearly 400,000 jobs, and they are hiring NOW. Go to your local branch of the store, or click on the employer's link below to find their job postings:

  1. Amazon
    In October, 2016, Amazon announced that they are hiring 120,000 seasonal workers across the USA for the holidays this year, a 20% increase in their holiday hiring for 2015. The jobs will be in their fulfillment and sorting facilities across the country.
  2. UPS
    UPS has announced that it will be hiring 95,000 workers for the holiday rush, the same number as in 2015.
  3. Macy's
    Big retailer Macy's is adding 83,000 seasonal jobs this year, a bit of a drop (2,000 jobs) from 2015.
  4. Target
    Big-box retailer Target is hiring 70,700 seasonal workers for both their stores and their distribution centers, up 10% from their seasonal hires in 2015.
  5. Kohl's
    Retail Kohl's is adding 69,000 seasonal workers, down about 10,000 jobs from 2016, for both stores and distribution centers.
  6. FedEx
    As usual, like UPS, FedEx is supporting the growing online retail business and hiring 50,000 seasonal workers in 2016, down about 10%, typically in the traditional areas of package handling, driving, and other distribution support jobs.
  7. JC Penney
    Penney's is offering a wide-range of opportunities for 40,000 temporary staff for the holiday season in their department stores, many of which are located in suburban malls.
  8. U.S. Postal Service
    USPS is filling thousands of temporary jobs for the sorting and delivery of all those holiday cards and gifts.

Don't assume that these jobs are the only jobs available. Check your local shopping mall and other local stores and businesses, including grocery stores. Often the best way to apply for a job at one of the smaller stores is ask to meet the store manager, and apply in the store.

Tax Season Jobs

January starts tax season in the USA, and that means serious data collection, number crunching, and tax form completion. If you are unemployed with an accounting or finance background, these could be very good options for you.

A number of services are available to help us all submit correct tax forms in a timely manner. But, do NOT wait until January to apply! You will likely need training (or updating) in the tax code and how to complete the forms properly. So, apply ASAP:

  • H&R Block
    H&R Block is the largest tax service in the USA with employment in all 50 states through their franchisees.
  • Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
    Jackson Hewitt covers all 50 states and most large cities with their franchised services.
  • Liberty Tax Service 
    Liberty covers much of the USA through their franchisees.
  • IRS Jobs
    The IRS has full-time and part-time seasonal jobs helping people survive tax preparation season. Opportunities are available for Data Transcribers, Clerks, Tax Examiners or Contract Representatives during tax filing season, January through May.

    • The IRS also has a program just for veterans.
    • IRS Tax Volunteers
      The IRS needs volunteers to help provide two categories of assistance: VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) to help low-income families complete their forms and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) to help those over 60 complete their tax forms. Volunteering won't help you pay your bills, but it could be good networking and, possibly, a foot in the door for a federal job.

People often do these jobs every year, particularly if they are retired or not available to work the whole year.

More About Seasonal Jobs

More About Temporary Work Options


About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.