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BBB Tips: Apply wisely for holiday season jobs

by Michelle Gleba, Better Business Bureau | October 14, 2018 at 5:05 a.m. | Updated October 15, 2018 at 11:19 a.m.

With retailers and shippers planning to hire the most seasonal employees in several years this holiday season, job seekers should polish up their resumes, research potential employers and apply right away. While holiday jobs are usually temporary, many retailers end up hiring some holiday workers permanently.

Major retailers like Walmart, Target and Macy's and shipping companies like UPS are all planning to hire seasonal workers this year. According to a Challenger Gray analysis of federal jobs data, retailers are predicted to hire more than 700,000 seasonal workers this year, the most since 2015.

Job hunters should consider the following advice 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.

Beware of classified ads for mystery shopper jobs. These are usually scams that steal money from victims, often through an overpayment scheme using fake checks, or use their personal information to commit fraud. Annually, Better Business Bureau reports receiving hundreds of reports of mystery shopper fraud via BBB Scam Tracker.

For assistance, check with BBB at or by calling 573-886-8965.

Michelle Gleba is the Mid-Missouri regional director for Better Business Bureau.

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