Christmas is just around the corner and you might be hoping to get a bit of extra money in the bank to see you through the festive period. The good news is that many businesses are looking to bolster their workforce with seasonal staff during this busy period.
If you're hoping to land yourself a seasonal role, you need to create a strong CV and cover letter that shows why you’d be a good addition to any business this Christmas. And we’re here to teach you how!
Shout about your transferable skills
When looking for a temporary Christmas role there are certain industries that are more likely to be looking for additional staff. Because of this, you might find that you’re applying to roles with no previous experience in that industry.
In order to prove you’ve got what it takes, you need to shout about the transferable skills you can bring to the role. Key skills such as organisation, customer service, timekeeping and communication are going to be important in most seasonal roles.
Make sure to give tangible examples of how you used these skills in your work experience section, rather than merely stating them. For example, you might say that you “Resolved 95% of all allocated complaints within 2-day target timeline”, rather than simply claiming you have good customer service skills.
Discuss your availability
One of the key things that employers will be looking for when hiring seasonal staff is flexibility and availability. This is a busy period and might require some longer and more unsociable shifts.
You can briefly mention your availability in your CV personal profile and then build upon this in your cover letter. Make sure to use the job ad to your advantage here. For example, if the ad specifically asks for applicants who can work on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, clarify that you’re available then.
Letting employers know that you're flexible and can work their required shifts can set you apart from other applicants.
Tailor your application
These sought-after seasonal roles receive a huge number of applications, so you need to make yours stands out. One of the most important and effective ways to do this is to tailor every application you submit.
This means you need to spend some time researching the company and role you're applying for, figuring it out what specific skills and experience they need. Then, armed with this knowledge you can tailor your CV and cover letter for the specific role and employer.
This shows you have a genuine interest in their job and that you aren't just trying to land any old seasonal role on offer.
Focus on your top quarter
You might be up against hundreds of other applicants for temporary Christmas role, meaning it’s extra important to make the most of the top quarter of your CV. This is where you’ll find your contact details (so make sure these are clearly displayed) and your personal profile.
Spend time getting your profile perfect. It needs to be short and snappy, but also grab the recruiter’s attention. You should explain who you are and list some of the key skills that make you right for the role.
It can also be beneficial to mention that you're flexible at this early stage. Just remember to keep it concise - between 50 to 150 words is the ideal length.
Keep it clear and concise
The final thing to remember is to keep both your CV and cover letter clear and concise. Busy Christmas recruiters won’t have time to read lengthy CVs – and, in all honesty, will probably chuck anything over two pages straight in the bin!
Your CV should be no more than two A4 pages and should use sub-headings and bullet points where necessary. Similarly, your cover letter should be just one page long and made up of a few short paragraphs. Choose a clear layout for both and don’t forget to proofread both documents before you submit them!
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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