Contributing columnist

Editor's note: Action Line is a weekly column from the Better Business Bureau answering consumers' questions and concerns about money and business issues.

I am a single mother working on one income and I'd like to make a little extra cash this holiday. I know sometimes retailers hire for seasonal help. Do you have any ideas how I'd go about applying for a part-time seasonal job?

Dear Reader:

If you are looking for temporary work, now's the time to do it!!

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are expected to hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday season. Better Business Bureau serving Central California recommends applicants apply early, research potential employers and be cautious of fraudulent job offerings.

With the national unemployment rate hovering at about 7.8 percent, competition for seasonal jobs could prove to be quite difficult. Here are a few tips applicants can use to position themselves as ideal candidates:

* Do research ahead of time. Find out which companies are offering seasonal employment opportunities, and whether that would be a place you would like to work. Then, use to find additional information on the company including consumer complaints about the company and other details.

* Be suspicious of "too good to be true" job offers. Many consumers use online listings to search for local job openings. Unfortunately, scammers flock to these sites, posting fake jobs aimed at stealing money or the identities of job seekers. Never give your personal information without thoroughly researching the company first.

* Work where you shop. Employers want applicants who know their products well. So, if you shop at certain stores frequently, chances are you know a lot about the company and the merchandise they sell. This will make you an attractive choice because they may not have to spend as much time and money training you.

* Be available and flexible. Holiday hiring managers are drawn to candidates who will be available and have a flexible schedule. Seasonal employees will likely find themselves working long, inconvenient hours, and often on holidays.

* Put your best foot forward. Job hunters need to dress their best and be prepared for the interview. This includes being familiar with the company's brand and its products. Retail job hunters in particular need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skill set -- which is a must when dealing with stressed shoppers, long check-out lines and holiday returns.

-- Joey Fernandez is assistant director of business services for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.