BBB urges seasonal job hunters to get jump start

As retailers gear up for holiday shopping, Newton and Rockdale residents on the hunt for seasonal jobs are advised to get a jump start on filling out applications. Competition for these jobs will likely be fierce, and the Better Business Bureau recommends that applicants apply early and research potential employers.

"The holiday season will boost the number of job openings, particularly in the retail and restaurant industry," said Fred T. Elsberry Jr., BBB president and CEO. "While the jobs are usually temporary, this is great news for struggling families and others who have had problems finding work."

BBB offers the following advice for job hunters this holiday season:

Start your job search earlier rather than later. Retail, shipping, restaurants and catering companies are common sources of seasonal employment. This is the time for job hunters to determine which job suits them best, identify companies they'd like to work for and then begin submitting applications and resumes.

Work where you shop. Try to identify seasonal employment opportunities at businesses where you shop. You will already be familiar with the company and its products, and discounts available to employees can mean significant savings when shopping for gifts. Discounts can range from 20-40 percent for seasonal employees.

Put your best foot forward. Even if you are just picking up applications at stores in the mall, dress neatly and be prepared for an interview. This includes being familiar with the company's brand and products. Retail job hunters need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skills because they may be dealing with stressed-out shoppers, long check-out lines and holiday returns.

Be flexible. Full-time employees usually have first choice on preferred hours and shifts. As a seasonal employee, you can expect to work long, sometimes inconvenient hours, possibly including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. If this is a second job in addition to your day job, be upfront and clear with your new employer about your available hours.

Reasons To Get A Seasonal Job

BBB thanks Snagajob for these helpful tips.

1. Make money for the holidays. Whether you already have a full-time job and you want to work part-time to supplement your income, or you just need extra money for gifts, you'll definitely have more green in your wallet after your first paycheck of the season.

2. Flexible scheduling. Are you a student on winter break? A parent who has to watch your kids now that school is out? Holiday jobs offer a variety of scheduling options, and because stores and restaurants are open later, there's bound to be a shift that fits your needs.

3. Get a great discount. Don't want to wait until Christmas Day to wear that sweater you've had your eye on all season? Many companies offer their workers employee discounts on merchandise, even if they're only on the staff for the holidays. So you can get gifts for everyone on your list -- including yourself -- at cheaper prices.

4. Learn a lot in a few weeks. Though holiday jobs can start anytime in October, November or December, most are over sometime in January, making seasonal employment a great way to test the skills you already have, as well as pick up some new ones to use in your next job search.

5. Find your next job. A seasonal job is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and make a good impression, which can turn into part-time or full-time work after the holidays. Some employers ask superstar seasonal workers to remain on the staff once the holidays are over, so if you do your best, you could have a spring and summer job as well.

6. Test drive a new job. A part-time job during the holidays allows you to try out a job you're interested in to decide whether or not it's really right for you. Whether you end up loving or hating it, your pockets will be fuller either way.

7. Make new friends. Most businesses are fully staffed during the busy winter months, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and bond with coworkers. Suggest a company Secret Santa drawing and you could even get yourself an extra gift.

8. Get a reference for your next job search. When the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, ask your boss if he or she would be a reference for you when it comes time to search for summer jobs.