As if 2020 hasn’t felt enough like a time warp, here’s another stark reminder: Hiring season for the upcoming fall and winter months is upon us.
The good news is that there are ample opportunities to score a solid gig at the United Parcel Service — and don those Pullman Brown uniforms.
Despite the pandemic, UPS says it expects a strong holiday season this year, with its 20-million-per-day package rate slated to double in the coming months. To handle the surge, the company is going on a hiring spree.
“In order to make that happen, once again we’re recruiting about 100,000 people for some of the country’s best seasonal jobs,” said Chief Operating Office Jim Barber in a hiring announcement. The company hired the same amount of seasonal workers in both 2018 and 2019.
As the announcement notes: “That’s enough people to populate a city the size of Albany, N.Y.” The small army of seasonal workers comprises part- and full-time positions.
Seasonal positions at UPS have the potential to turn into careers. The company boasts a strong culture of internal promotion, and many permanent employees started out in seasonal or part-time roles.
“Over the last three years, 35% of the people UPS hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over, and nearly a third of our current U.S. workforce started in seasonal positions,” the announcement stated.
A Look at the Seasonal UPS Jobs
Seasonal UPS gigs fall into three main categories: drivers, driver helpers and package handlers. According to the job listings, these positions are entry-level, though driving-related jobs have additional requirements unrelated to work experience.
UPS offers two delivery positions: one using your personal vehicle and another using a UPS delivery truck. Neither delivery position requires commercial licensing, but you will need a valid driver’s license in the state you’re working and a clean driving record.
To drive your personal vehicle, you will need to be 21 or older. To drive a UPS truck, you won’t need to be 21, but you will have to pass a physical exam by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Sometimes UPS trucks are staffed by two people, a driver and a helper. The helper rides along, unloading packages and carrying them from truck to stoop.
Lastly, the package handlers work behind the scenes in warehouses. Requirements are laxer for these positions and may not require wearing the UPS uniform.
All of the seasonal positions can be physically demanding. The ability to lift, carry and/or slide between 35 and 75 pounds is required.
Even part-time positions are eligible for tuition reimbursement and medical, dental and vision insurance under certain stipulations. Pay varies by position and location, but based on Glassdoor data for seasonal UPS workers, drivers typically earn between $18 and $21. Package handlers and helpers earn between $11 and $14.
From Seasonal Gig to a Career
Your gig doesn’t have to have a hard end date. It’s possible to turn seasonal positions into permanent ones — especially at UPS. Here’s how.
1. Treat the seasonal gig like an extended interview. Since UPS frequently promotes internally, your manager may already be drafting a short list of permanent candidates. If you approach the seasonal position as a pathway to a new job from the get-go, you’re sure to be on the top of the list.
2. Prove yourself. The temporary nature of seasonal gigs may tempt workers to not take it very seriously. Don’t fall into that trap. Basic things like a strong work ethic, punctuality and flexibility go a long way in distinguishing yourself from tens of thousands of other seasonal workers.
3. Ask your supervisor directly about staying on permanently. Letting your boss know that you want to stay on is the most overt step you can take to secure a permanent position. Since seasonal jobs are fast-paced, consider asking your boss to chat for five or 10 minutes after your shift to avoid any awkward interruptions.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at Codetic. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.