Living & Working in Great Places
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It's easy to write off seasonal work as something that you just do to make ends meet or to make a few extra dollars, but it can be valuable work experience. You shouldn't feel like you need to gloss over it, or that the person reading your resume won't want to read about it. If you frame it the right way, your experiences as a temp can easily make your resume stand out in a sea of bland applications.
Seasonal work can make you look versatile
Seasonal work can sell you as a well-rounded applicant. Think of it this way: if you have experience with multiple temporary jobs, you've picked up several extra skills that can be valuable to the company you're applying to.
Say you've got seasonal retail work on your resume – you're a customer-service expert who is sensitive to the needs of upset customers or clients. Do you have any experience working in a warehouse? You're a self-motivated worker who can achieve results with very little direction. Have you tried substitute teaching for a while? You're comfortable with public speaking.
It's all about perspective. Even if you weren't particularly fond of your seasonal jobs, they can go a long way in making you stand out from the crowd. It can be frightening putting multiple short-term jobs on a resume, but if you play up your versatility, you can craft a killer resume and impress a hiring manager.
Seasonal work can fill gaps in your work history
Times have been tough lately, and anyone whose eyes are going to scan your resume will probably understand this. Maybe you were laid off or have had a hard time switching careers or you could be a recent graduate. Whatever your situation is, seasonal jobs can be a fantastic way to show that you're a reliable, hard worker.
At the same time, if you're applying for a job that you have limited experience in, a seasonal job can catch a hiring manager's eye. Any amount of time spent working at a call center can go a long way if you're trying to score a position that requires good customer service. It's also important to think about how seasonal work often requires an employee to hit the ground running – you can likely use your temporary work history to show how flexible you are.
Long periods of unemployment can potentially look bad, so you shouldn't be terribly worried about your work history so long as it has consistent work. Temporary or seasonal work is significantly better than no work, so it can absolutely make your resume look better.
Here's how you apply seasonal jobs to your resume
When you're listing seasonal work, make sure it's obvious that it was seasonal. If a hiring manager sees multiple jobs in your work history that you only held for a few months, it will raise red flags if there's nothing explaining why they were so short term. You don't want to look like a job-hopper nor like you're unreliable in any way, so label them. Write “seasonal,” “temporary” or “contract,” in parentheses next to each job. Whatever term you want to use, so long as the person reading your resume understands that these jobs had end-dates when you signed on, you'll look good.
If you have a freelance experience where you worked with many different clients, then instead of listing them all on your resume and running out of space, you may want to just describe your work in general terms. Explain that you – for example – did computer programming or you built websites for multiple organizations, and give a few details if you feel you need to. Leave out dates if this is continuing work for you or something that you do on-and-off.
Make sure you're being honest. Looking over your finished resume and seeing that you were only at one job for one or two months might be discouraging, but resist the urge to tweak your time spent there. Somebody in HR will run a background check and find out the truth anyway. If you didn't hold a position long enough to learn any skills that might help you get the job you're applying for, you can leave it off – it may be better than just taking up valuable space on your resume.
If you're worried about just how short your short-term jobs are, consider simply labeling them with the year you worked there instead of the year and month. Seeing “2016” instead of “Jan-Feb,” will hide your flaws, look more pleasant and most importantly, it will be 100% accurate.