4 key reasons to become a Christmas Temp

Working at Christmas can be interesting, challenging and lots of fun.  Some people hate working at this time of the year and argue that the time should be spent with family and friends. However, the latest research has revealed that over a third of employees really enjoy working over the festive period.

To keep you in the festive mood when working at Christmas, read on for four key benefits for Christmas temp work and how it can dramatically enhance your career moving forward.

1. Pick from a chocolate box of training & experience

Working at Christmas can be like a box of chocolates – there are some fantastic experiences and training to choose from, but everyone has their own preferences. The breadth of available Christmas temp roles gives you the opportunity to choose a position which can help you earn skills complementary to your career aims. Roles such as Shop Assistant or Bar Staff help develop sales skills, customer service skills, interpersonal skills, and so on.

In most instances, you will receive some form of training, whether it be greeting customers, till-training, or even window displays. By being in any role, there will always be something you can learn and develop as a practical skill. For example, by being in a customer service role, you’ll likely have learnt how to engage with a diverse range of people.

Some of the most stringent graduate job or graduate scheme requirements have key prior experience and specific skill sets they desire. Most graduates don’t realise that very simple work experience can often satisfy these requirements. For example, if a job posting calls for graduates with problem-solving skills, you could call on negotiation and conflict-resolution skills learned to satisfy demanding customers in a hospitality job. Anyone who has worked in a pub or restaurant can tell you that creative problem-solving is essential to dealing with irate or overly-merry holiday customers.

How to make the most of your experience & training: Begin by identifying all the new skills you may have learnt whilst working at Christmas. Make sure that any skills learnt in training are practised and developed, and finally add that skill to your CV. Collect key examples which demonstrate when you have shown those skills – make notes which you can keep to remind yourself before an interview.

2. Find the perfect ‘present’ – discover what works for you

One thing you’re guaranteed to get from working at Christmas is a sense of whether a job is for you or not. Like the perfect pair of cosy festive socks, ask yourself how does the job make you feel, and do you feel of value? Are you passionate about the work you are doing, or the company you’re working for? And finally, does it bring you fulfilment?

If the answer is yes on all counts, then it is likely that this is the area or industry for you. Though this may not be the exact role or company you’ll continue to work for, this experience will help give you a strong indication of where your strengths are.

Graduates looking to join schemes offered by big retailers such as Morrisons, Asda or John Lewis would benefit greatly from being able to say they’ve already worked for the company and have developed an understanding of the business. In fact, Asda offers Christmas temp-ers a head start on their retail graduate scheme. The kind of insider knowledge gained on the floor during the busy season is invaluable when it comes to persuading employers you’re right for a particular job.

How to make the most of self-discovery: Working at Christmas as a temp is similar to an internship, and like internships, Christmas temp jobs are an excellent way to make connections. So how do you get asked back? Be willing to work hard and step up to the plate. It may mean you have to miss the Christmas Eve night out or struggle through an early shift on New Year’s Day, but you’ll be glad of your sacrifice when you’ve got some cash in your pocket. If you’ve made a good impression, your manager may be willing to keep you on, act as a referee on your C.V. or signpost you to further opportunities within the company.

3. Become one of the ‘wise men’ – be part of the team

Working at Christmas, you’ll usually be working within a large group of people. This is a great way to exercise your ability to listen, co-operate, support and effectively communicate, which are all crucial attributes for almost every role. By working alongside so many diverse personalities and people, it’ll teach you how to interact and engage with a lot of different people – and give you plenty of examples to discuss at interview.

How to make the most of working within a team: For many of us, we tend to naturally form friendships with those who are most similar to us. This is not the best approach, particularly when talking about the workplace, so do your best to engage with everyone – there’s so much you can learn just by speaking to someone new, and who knows you could end up forming bonds that you never expected. Learning to get along with any and everyone is an ultimate tool because the employer will always be looking to see whether you would be able to ‘fit in’ with their company culture.

4. Fix any dead bulbs in the Christmas lights of your C.V.

Working at Christmas as a temp offers the perfect opportunity to plug any ‘holes’ which may have come up in your applications. If you’ve been politely declined because of a lack of experience, a holiday job can prepare for the next time round. Lack of sales experience? No problem, “I worked on the deli counter in Waitrose and upsold my socks off.” Not enough customer service skills? “I assisted customers throughout the Christmas period ensuring they got the perfect present for their loved ones.”

How to make the most of plugging gaps in your CV: Make sure you have asked for feedback from prior interviews and analyse your C.V. carefully so you know where the key skill gaps are for the industry or career you want. Try and think carefully about how you’ve developed those skills during the temp role. You can always discuss how you can improve or gain additional experience with your current employers – self-awareness, reflection and a desire to learn are a big tick for any employer, whether you are temporary or not.


Octopus Personnel has a wide variety of roles, either permanent, temporary, part time or full time. All our jobs are based locally here in the South West of England including Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. Register online or call 01747 825568. As registered candidates (register here) you’ll receive a text, email or telephone call as soon as a relevant position becomes available so many of the jobs are filled even before they are advertised.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.