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Seasonal Jobs: Tips & Tricks for Youth

The holiday shopping season, when retailers experience an increase in sales, is a great time for teens to look for part-time employment. Local retail stores, including pharmacies and grocery stores, are hiring now for seasonal employees. Ski resorts, such as Greek Peak, Song Mountain, and Labrador are hiring staff for the quickly approaching winter sport season.

Many employers advertise specifically for seasonal employees, indicating that people should not expect to stay on after the holidays or the ski season end. Seasonal employees are typically expected to be available at night and on weekends, often on the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and even Christmas day if the employer is open for business. If you are not willing to work these hours, you will probably not be hired. Be honest on your application. If you absolutely cannot work certain day or time, don’t say that you can and wait until you’re hired to tell your employer about your schedule restrictions. They will have already invested a lot of time in the hiring process and it isn’t fair to expect them to accommodate limits that weren’t presented up front.


To prepare for completing job applications, you should first gather the information you will need. These items include identification (birth certificate, Social Security card, and state identification if you have it), names of former employers (if applicable), and references (name and contact information). Employers prefer references who understand business and are well-established members of the workforce themselves. These references may include teachers, staff in youth-serving organizations (like Cortland Works Career Center or the Cortland Youth Bureau), and other involved adults, such as coaches and religious leaders. Be sure to ask people if they are willing to serve as references before providing their name on an application.


Although seasonal employees are usually temporary, many employers will hire an employee for a permanent position if they have performed exceptionally well. To make a good impression and improve your chances of permanent employment, you should arrive on time daily, demonstrate a positive attitude, and work every shift you are scheduled. The top complaints employers have about young workers is that they are often late and can’t be relied on to show up for scheduled shifts. It’s easy to make a good impression simply by being punctual and actually coming to work. Even if you are not invited to stay on, these behaviors will earn you an excellent reference that will help you land your next job.


To find seasonal and other part-time jobs, Indeed.com is a good place to look. Local retailers such as Big Lots, Kinney Drugs, and Lowes currently have jobs posted and you can complete your application online. Many businesses advertise through Cortland Works Career Center, whose staff can help you find job openings and create a resume. You can also visit local businesses to look for help wanted signs and ask if they are hiring for seasonal help. If you are looking for jobs in person, dress professionally and be prepared to speak to a manager. While many businesses require you to complete an application online, a good first impression always helps.


Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from employers, especially if you are under the age of 18. Working hours are more restrictive for minors, especially when school is in session. Persistence is essential. Keep a list of places you have applied, and don’t be afraid to call and follow up on job applications (usually after two weeks). Remember that learning how to perform a job search is a valuable skill in and of itself and, above all, that the job search process takes time.


For assistance with seasonal employment or any employment needs, Cortland Works Career Center invites you to make an appointment to meet with an employment and training specialist, who can help you reach your goals.

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