There are plenty of ways to save more and solve the “I don’t have money for the holidays” problem—from using digital coupon apps to adjusting your tax withholding. But cutting back is just one part of the equation. Another way to pad your end-of-year budget (and next year’s, too) is to bring in more income.
One option is to pick up a temporary job, which tends to be easier to do in the last three months of the year. In fact, according to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Q4 jobs report, a third of employers plan on hiring seasonal workers. (Bonus: If you’re looking to earn more year round, 62 percent plan to transition some seasonal staff to permanent roles.)
And it’s expected to be a particularly lucrative year for seasonal workers, as 47 percent of employers plan to increase pay. Of those hiring for the season, 75 percent will pay employees $10 or more an hour, and 28 percent will pay $16 or more.
“Lower unemployment means [a lot of] people aren’t necessarily looking for seasonal work to make money, but there’s still demand for seasonal staff,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “So businesses are in tight competition with one another to secure top talent.”
You might expect retailers to be the main seasonal hirers (hello, department-store Santas)—and there is a big need there. For example, Macy’s plans to hire 83,000 seasonal workers, and Target plans to hire 70,000. And last week, Amazon said it plans to fill 120,000 seasonal positions nationwide at fulfillment centers, sortation centers and customer service sites.
UPS and FedEx are also expected to hire about 100,000 seasonal workers, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas. But CareerBuilder also found that companies in IT, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and hospitality are hiring temporary or contract workers this quarter. They’re looking for workers to fill customer service, administrative support, accounting, shipping, technology, marketing and other roles.
Online jobs boards, such as Monster, Indeed and ZipRecruiter, allow you to specifically search for seasonal work. Recent inquiries netted more than 1,000 job results with employers as varied as the Salvation Army, PWC and Nike.
But for retail positions in particular, don’t overlook old-fashioned pounding the pavement: Consider checking in person if your favorite stores are hiring. (On top of the extra income, you can often score a nice employee discount, too.)
Want to improve your chances of landing one of these gigs? Start applying right now. “Even if a job doesn’t begin for another month, it’s best to get your information out there sooner rather than later,” says Haefner.
Beyond that, be as flexible as possible. “Holiday hours can be long and unpredictable, and employers are looking for staffers who are willing to work odd hours, such as early morning, late night or sometimes spur of the moment,” Haefner adds.
Otherwise, you can stand out in the application process by doing what you’d do for any other role: Highlight your related past experiences, noting what skills are transferable to the new job. Showcase quantifiable accomplishments as often as possible. And spruce up your online presence. “Tweeting, blogging and commenting about things you know builds up your credibility online,” says Haefner. “When an employer searches, you want them to find a knowledgeable individual who can fit well into their company.”
Of course, you might prefer to set your own work schedule this season. In that case, consider drumming up extra income with a side gig. It’s a great idea year round, but the holiday season—particularly from Thanksgiving through New Year’s—offers more opportunities than usual, says Lisa Chan, head of communications at TaskRabbit.
Holiday tasks might include assistance with shopping, gift wrapping, setting up and taking down Christmas trees and cleaning for dinner parties, cocktail events and the arrival of houseguests. For these jobs, Chan says hourly rates typically range from $27 to $40 an hour—but it’s up to you to set your own rate.
You might also take advantage of greater demand for care providers. “There is a surge in families looking for pet sitters for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” says Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor of Care.com. “When it comes to child care, many parents look for babysitters on Saturday nights in December to attend holiday parties.”
Sure, working extra hours may not be how you’d prefer to spend your free time this season—but earning enough to avoid going into debt over gifts and travel, and to start 2017 off strong, can make for very happy new year come January.