Tis the season to be landing a retail gig for Christmas

Tis the season to be landing a retail gig for Christmas




It’s no secret, the three months before Christmas is the quarter within which Australia’s retail sector makes its most significant revenue killing for the year. Given that it’s now September, there’s no better time to land a retail job for the Christmas/holiday season, and remember – fortune favours the prepared.

Over the next few weeks the job boards will have a higher number of vacancies as they try to lock-in extra staff they need to cater for the ‘silly-season’ shopping frenzy. Based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ retail trade figures, Australian’s spent a whopping $11 billion on Christmas presents last year.

Without stating the patently obvious, any job seeker looking to capitalise on this spending frenzy in the lead-up to Christmas is most likely to find greater opportunities within those retailers selling food and alcohol, dining (bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs), gifts and decorations.

As a result, your CV needs to ‘job-ready’, and while the vast majority of jobs these days require applying on-line, don’t overlook the ads in shop fronts which might say something like, casual staff required, apply within. Equally important. Don’t forget the value of word-of-mouth. So if you’re looking for a summer gig, then put your business in the street, and let family, friends and acquaintances know about it.

A retail gig shouldn’t be a form of self-abuse

But before you start applying, make sure you know what hours you’re prepared to work, whether you’re up for weekend work, and how you might feel about working Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day or even Christmas Day itself in some cases.

Another trick to applying for a retail gig over the Christmas period is to try and match the type of retail environment with your own personal interests. For example, if you’re studying to become an optometrist, why not try working for one as a sales assistant. Likewise, if you’re studying fashion design, maybe you should look for a sales gig at a big department store or boutique that sells high-end brands?

Given that there should be a plethora of casual Christmas jobs available, don’t feel pressured into taking the first one you’re offered. Assuming you’ve applied for two or more jobs, you can start to compare how they rate across different criteria, like hourly rate, working conditions, perks – if any – and location.

Whatever you do, don’t take a job with an employer that wants to pay you below an award rate or minimum wage, and don’t let employers take advantage of you if you’re an overseas student. This hoary old chestnut is one we no longer tolerate in Australia.

Equally important, avoid like the plague those organisations that already have a reputation for shafting their employees, and if you’re in doubt, a quick Google search will reveal all you need to know.

If you’re new to retail, why not visit a branch of the company you’re applying to and just watch how things go down. Take a look at how the counter staff operate, how hard and/or efficient they seem to be working, and equally important how customers treat them.

Retail can be a tough gig, so if you’ve got a low threshold for dealing with a cross-section of the ‘human condition’, maybe retail isn’t for you.


You may want to read