You’re looking for a seasonal job, and you need a resume. But classic resume tips and how-tos typically apply to job seekers looking for permanent full-time or part-time jobs. Since you’re looking for a seasonal job that will only exist for a few months, these guidelines might not meet your needs.
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you how to write a resume for seasonal (typicaly temporary) jobs that spring into high demand during the summer vacation season, the winter holiday season, or the peak of the annual business cycle in your target industry.
With many employers already gearing up for Christmas this summer and fall, follow these eight guidelines to grab the attention of busy hiring managers who need skilled help fast during the holiday hiring season.
How to Write a Resume for Seasonal Work
1. Plan ahead and act quickly
Seasonal hiring typically happens on an accelerated schedule. For example, a company might not need to hire anyone at all in the spring, but will need to hire a complete, fully-functional team for the holiday season. That entire team may need to apply for the job, step in the door, get trained and be ready for work, within a few weeks or months. So, if you’re pursuing a seasonal job, timing matters. Contact your target company and find out exactly when they’ll start accepting resumes for the upcoming holiday season, keeping in mind that the hiring period may begin as early as summer or fall.
2. Create a summary
Just under the contact information at the top of your resume document, draft a few lines that summarize both your credentials and your intentions. Use just a few sentences to explain exactly what you can do, and exactly what type of work you’re seeking. If possible, shape your summary statement to the precise parameters of your target job. If you’re looking for seasonal work on a whale watching boat during the peak of beachside tourist season, make that statement clear. Don’t claim you’re seeking a “maritime position in the hospitality field.” Just be direct. At every turn, make your reader’s job as easy as possible.
Contact your target company and find out exactly when they’ll start accepting resumes for the upcoming holiday season, keeping in mind that the hiring period may begin as early as summer or fall.
3. Briefly describe your experience
Use the next section of your document to list your most relevant previous jobs or seasonal experiences, with the most recent experiences listed first. Keep each entry short and clear. If you worked last summer for a similar boat company, name the company and your job title, then explain your responsibilities in three to five bullet points. If you worked in a warehouse, office, factory, restaurant or accounting firm, explain what you did and do your best to mention transferrable skills that are relevant to the job at hand.
4. List your special skills
Just below your experience section, offer a list of your most important and relevant skill sets. For example: crowd control, food prep, customer service, document processing, gardening, or inventory management. Be sure to include all relevant software skills, foreign language skills, technical skills, and interpersonal skills (for example, sales) as these can help set you apart from the competition.
5. List your educational credentials
Seasonal hiring managers probably won’t probe deeply into your educational background or scrutinize your transcripts from years ago, but they’d like to confirm that you hold the relevant degrees and certifications required for the job. These may include licensing credentials, so list those here as well. Include each degree or distinction you’ve earned, followed by the institution that granted it. If you choose, you can also include the year in which you graduated or received your qualification.
6. Keep it short and sweet
Keep your seasonal resume to a single page. For many full-time, permanent jobs, more information can’t hurt, and employers often like to have all available data within reach so they can make a serious and lasting decision. Seasonal employers, on the other hand, would usually rather have upfront access to the most vital information only. They want a fast answer to one important question: Can you learn the ropes quickly and help the company grow? Can you step into your role with minimal training and thrive within that role? If so, they’ll want to meet with you in person to learn more.
7. Emphasize your reliability
Your skills are rare, valuable, and hard-earned. You know how to do things other people can’t do, and your seasonal employers appreciate this. But here’s something they appreciate just as much: reliability. Too often, seasonal managers hire exceptionally skilled candidates who flake, show up late, call out, or don’t show up at all. And due to accelerated timelines, seasonal employees are not easy to replace and retrain. So, send a clear message: You’re not only skilled, you’re dependable.
8. Write a cover letter
Cover letters aren’t always top-of-mind for seasonal employees since often these jobs are procured at job fairs or by walking into businesses and applying in person. When choosing between two candidates with similar experience, a well-written cover letter can be the tipping point in the decision-making process. A well-written cover letter shows of both your clear communication skills and your commitment to finding a seasonal job, both of which will be appealing to a manager.
Seasonal employers may not have time to carefully review each resume multiple times, and they may not have a file in which they keep runners-up and candidates they might consider the following year, so seasonal hiring tends to be a straightforward yes-or-no process. Make sure your resume falls into the YES category.