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December 07, 2009

Rev Up Your Job Search During the Holidays

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Rev Up Your Job Search During the Holidays

By Anne Fisher, Fortune Magazine

Seasonal hiring is well under way, but it's not too late to get a temporary job - or a job opportunity that turns into a full-time gig!

Many companies are still hiring in December and January to replace people they took on earlier who didn't work out. Other companies have drafted out their new year business plans and are looking for qualified candidates now.

No matter which sectors you target, employers can afford to be pickier than ever because there are so many applicants for each available opening.

To maximize your advantage, here are four assets to take with you during your interviews:

1. Flexibility. This year even more than in the past, it's essential that you be available to work whenever you're needed, including nights, and weekends. If you aren't willing to take on inconvenient hours, the person behind you in line for the job will be.

2. Enthusiasm. You need to show a genuine upbeat attitude because interviewers want you to pass that along to customers and co-workers.

3. Knowledge. Study up on each company and its products or services, especially if the job requires you to deal directly with customers.

Around the holidays, with the crowds and the stress, customers tend to get impatient, and if you can't answer their questions, they get even more irritated than at other times of the year. Job interviewers are well aware of this, so go in knowing your stuff.

4. Experience. As with any other job interview, applying for a job you've done before gives you a real leg up. If not, look back over your work history and try to find something similar. That part-time job waiting tables, for instance, might have taught you a thing or two about mollifying dissatisfied customers, so be ready to talk a bit about that.

If your goal is to stay on after the holiday season and beyond, say so during the interview. It's important to express your interest in a full-time position up front, to give the employer a chance to evaluate your performance in that light.

Then do a great job and be proactive. Ask for extra work, and keep an eye out for what you can do that's above and beyond the job description.

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