Many people seek seasonal employment this time of year, either full-time or as supplementary income. A new survey from CareerBuilder suggests that these job-hunters should act fast.

The survey of 2,400 employers found that 45% of those  planning to hire seasonal employees in the fourth quarter would not be accepting applications past the month of October. Those planning to wait until December will have an even harder time, with 80% saying they don’t plan to hire seasonal employees after November. “Job seekers looking for seasonal work should prepare their resumes and look into open positions sooner rather than later, as a significant number of employers start hiring for seasonal positions in October,” said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, in a press release.

If the promise of just a couple months of work  isn’t enough to motivate you to start mailing resumes, consider that those who land seasonal jobs may ultimately find opportunities that extend beyond the Christmas season. In fact, 40% of employers planning to hire seasonal employees say they are likely to transition some into permanent, full-time positions, up from 31% last year.

Even if you’re not looking for something long-term, you should try to show interest during your interview – 59% of hiring managers listed “lack of enthusiasm” as a pet peeve, and 31% are irked by potential hires who are only in it for the employee discount. Indeed, the usual common-sense interview rules apply. Of surveyed employers, 30% reported they were deterred from hiring a candidate due to lack of knowledge about the company, and 15% even reported job applicants who showed up wearing the uniform of a competitor.

As usual, most of the available seasonal jobs are in the retail sector, with 33% of employers recruiting for retail positions (cashiers and sales associates, for instance) and 31% looking to hire employees for customer service jobs. That, of course, is the one downside of these seasonal jobs – while there are jobs aplenty and room for growth, working as a customer service rep or cashier during the hectic holiday season can be a nightmare. So readers, do you have any horror stories from working retail during the holiday season?

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