5 best seasonal jobs in winter for international students

seasonal jobs in winter
Don't let the holiday season slide without earning a few extra bucks. Source: Pascal Guyot/AFP

The winter holidays are approaching, which means you’re nearing the end of your Fall term. Festive celebrations aside, winter opens up a window of opportunity for international students to gain valuable work experience through seasonal jobs.

If slogging through the snow to clock in at work sounds like an onerous task, just think about the perks you’re getting in return. A part-time job allows you to replenish your student bank account and build up some savings ahead of the new academic term at the start of the year.

You’ll gain insights into the local workforce and pick up a skill or two along the way. Plus, a winter job is a welcome addition to your resume to make you stand out in summer internship applications in the future. 

Seasonal jobs are meant to be short-term and last only a few weeks to about three months. With more countries relaxing work hour caps on student visas, it’s time to make the most of your short break by raking in a few extra bucks. Here are our top picks for you to consider:

seasonal jobs in winter

Foot traffic at popular shopping districts will soar leading up to Boxing Day, so look out for part-time vacancies from retailers near you. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Top seasonal jobs in winter for overseas students

Sales associate

Look up any local jobs board for a part-time gig around this time of the year, and your search results will be flooded with sales associate vacancies. Retailers will start hiring additional workers ahead of the Christmas and Boxing Day rush, so look out for positions at the malls or shopping districts in your area.

A retail job is perfect if you’re someone who prefers working on your feet. Training is usually on-the-job, which suits students with limited working experience. You develop well-rounded skills that include interpersonal communication, operating a point-of-sale system, commercial awareness, and teamwork in a fast-paced environment.

Gift wrapper

While you can get employed at gift-wrapping stations in retail stores, why sell yourself short? If you have the knack for turning wrapping into a work of art, start your own service. This gives you the flexibility to work at your convenience and determine pricing on your own terms.

You can set an hourly rate, or charge by weight and size. Get the word out by posting your services on campus Facebook groups and start uploading your handiwork on social media. Most people have neither the time nor talent for wrapping — so you might just cash in a good income without even leaving your home.

seasonal jobs in winter

It’s time to turn your DIY hobby into a money-making side hustle. Source: Monica Schipper/Getty Images/AFP

Customer service

One of the most in-demand seasonal jobs at the end of the year, the need for more customer service associates soars in proportion to the number of disgruntled shoppers. Extra hands are needed on deck to handle refunds, exchanges, complaints, and surveys during this peak sales period.

Customer support also includes work at helpdesks and call centres. Your campus libraries and gyms are some of the best places to begin your job search, as they favour hiring students who are already familiar with the environment.   

Hotel and resort jobs

The holidays will see an uptick in travellers, leading to extra vacancies at hotels and resorts as they try to manage foot traffic at full occupancy. Look up hotels, local bed and breakfasts, or cottage retreats in your area — there are plenty of positions to choose from.

You can work in reception, housekeeping, food and catering, or at the recreational facilities. Working in the hospitality industry, especially in chain establishments, is a good introduction to a more formal employment setting in the corporate world since you have to observe industry dress codes. 

Snow remover

It’s not the most prestigious job on our list, but don’t count this gig out so easily. It takes a lot of grit, energy, and self-motivation to clear blocks of snow out of the driveway — which is why people are willing to pay someone else to do it. You’re also helping those with limited mobility to keep their yard nice and tidy for the holidays.   

All you need is a good, sturdy shovel and a pair of waterproof snow boots and you’re good to go. There’s no experience required, only perseverance.