Polarization dependent vanadium L edge x-ray absorption spectra of BaVS3 single crystals are measured in the four phases of the compound. The difference between signals with the polarizations E perpendicular to c and E parallel to c ( linear dichroism) changes with temperature. Besides increasing the intensity of one of the maxima, a new structure appears in the pre-edge region below the metal-insulator transition. More careful examination brings to light that the changes start already with pretransitional charge density wave fluctuations. Simple symmetry analysis suggests that the effect is related to rearrangements in the E-g and A(1g) states, and is compatible with the formation of four inequivalent V-sites along the V-S chain.