Workplace Rights

Weekly (11/7/11)

Topic of the Week  Inside Job: Turning a Seasonal Job into Permanent Employment

 Inside Job: Turning a Seasonal Job into Permanent Employment:

  • DO ask for a permanent job.
  • DO offer help before asked.
  • DO seek out projects.
  • DON'T remain quiet.

Inside Job: Turning a Seasonal Job into Permanent Employment

According to a poll of hiring managers, about 30% of retailers are planning on hiring seasonal workers before the end of the year (with more than half paying $10 or more an hour). Of those hiring, about a third are planning on hiring some seasonal workers as permanent ones. Which reminds me of Marlon Brando. Widely considered one of the best actors of his generation, he still had to audition for his role in the Godfather, mainly because he was considered difficult by the studio. After his successful audition, he went on to win the Academy Award.And like Brando, if you ace your audition you can also take home the gold by turning a seasonal job into a permanent one. Even though many people don't think they should have to audition, given the economy I'm not sure many of us have a choice.

To help you make a mark in your seasonal job, I've included three Do's and one Don't below. This isn't just my advice, it's from a survey of hiring managers.

DO offer help before asked. 66% of the hiring managers said that excellent customer service was the key to getting hired. Whenever I think of great customer service, I think of a guy out at Microsoft. Turns out that a lot of the calls to tech support involve computers that aren't plugged in. Instead of asking a demeaning question, one engineer would say that a small amount of dust on the plug can impair the computer's operation. So he would ask them to pull out the plug, blow on it and plug it back in. Isn't that an elegant way to be sure the computer is plugged and ensure that customers feel good about themselves?

DO ask for a permanent job. 49% of the hiring managers suggest that you need to ask to be hired on a permanent basis. Most of us expect our bosses to connect the dots for us. But in reality we're the only ones who can do it. So you need to wait for a time when the boss is in a good mood or is complementing you and ask them what it would take to get hired permanently.

DO seek out projects. 45% of hiring managers want to see someone who is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Which reminds me of the rule of thumb that you should dress one step above the job you want when you go for a job interview. And when you're doing a seasonal job even if you're getting paid minimum wage, you can't act like a minimum wage person.

DON'T remain quiet. 39% of hiring managers like employees who ask questions about the company. Not suck up questions or smarty pants ones, but thoughtful questions that show an interest in how the company operates.
Remember not all seasonal jobs are for sales clerks, companies are hiring now for jobs in technology, accounting, inventory management, etc. Ladies and gentlemen start your auditions.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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