How to Find Holiday Jobs

From retailers to pet sitting, Tory Johnson has tips on how you can find a job.

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 18, 2009, 6:43 PM

Oct. 19, 2009— -- It's only October, but it's not too early to plot and plan if you're in the market for a holiday job. The early numbers tell us there will be greater competition for fewer positions.

In 2008, retailers added just 384,000 jobs during the holiday season -- the lowest in 20 years and almost half of 2007's total, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Already this year, 62 percent of retailers are seeing more seasonal applicants than last year, but 40 percent say they'll hire fewer seasonal workers, according to consulting firm Hay Group.

Some companies are giving their existing staff first shot at picking up extra hours, which is good news for those workers, but it means increased competition for anyone who wants to break in.

But all hope is definitely not lost; opportunities exist, so let's look at where the jobs are.

Look at big box, big names, especially in retail and package handling because this is their busiest time of year. Similarly, look at the same types of businesses in your own backyard.

UPS will hire 50,000 seasonal package handlers and drivers' helpers. (That's down from 60,000 two years ago, but it's a big number of openings.) These are fast-paced, physically demanding roles with average pay starting at $8.50 an hour. lists all the openings by location.

Just as we see a giant like UPS hiring, so too are local independent delivery services. My small messenger service adds walkers, bikers and drivers for the holiday rush. Look up the locals in your area and just cold call.

Toys R Us will hire 35,000 seasonal employees nationwide, which is on par with its workforce for the last two holiday seasons. Apply online at

In addition to applying to the giants, walk the mall and your neighborhood looking for "help wanted" signs. And even without the signs, chat up store clerks to find out what's available and when. If you're friendly, you'll often get the inside scoop, even on unadvertised positions.

You'll be thrown in with little ramp-up time, so establishing that you have solid customer skills and that you understand the company's products and services will set you apart from other applicants.

Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the workplace contributor on ABC's Good Morning America. Visit her Web site at and talk to her anytime at

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