5. Convention Center Jobs
The nitty-gritty: Convention centers in major cities can be wellsprings for a wide range of part-time jobs with various skill requirements. The panoply of shows rolls in and rolls out. Set 'em up and tear 'em down. Each week, the venues play host to various industry events from exotic food to car and boat shows, as well as concerts and even sports competitions. The demand for workers is a moving target — the perfect scenario if you're looking for the occasional paycheck. Some part-time jobs include nurse, parking lot attendant, parking lot cashier, set-up worker/cleaner, usher and information booth attendant. Many of these jobs have little to no physical labor. There are also food service opportunities for banquets and special dining events. The center's kitchen facility often hires line cooks and servers on an as-needed basis. In some towns, outside vendors will lease space inside a convention center and staff-up for each event. These positions can range from being a barista for a coffee stand to working at a concession stand. Sign on with one of these businesses, and the vendor will call and ask your availability depending on weekly needs.
The hours: The work schedules are irregular and no minimum number of hours is guaranteed. Work is typically available on all days of the year, including holidays. Evening and night hours may be required depending on the job.
Median pay range: Typically $10 to $20 an hour.
Qualifications: This is showtime. It's all about the customer, so people skills matter. Working knowledge of the event industry — including trade shows, conventions, consumer shows, concerts, athletic events and meetings — is a plus for some positions. Pre-employment drug screening and background checks are common. Many convention centers outsource their personnel management to companies that specialize in doing this for large convention and event centers, and hire locals to come in and do specific jobs for individual events. You might stop by at an event and ask booth operators about future openings. Your local convention, sports and entertainment agency should be able to provide employment information. Other job hunting sources: Tap into Convention.net or event management companies such as SMG World, a firm that manages convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters and specific-use venues such as equestrian centers.
Cotton candy, anyone?
Kerry Hannon is a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report and the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.
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