It was hard to narrow down where to start looking. Luckily we had done some research before we started traveling full-time so we had some resources under our belt when the time came to replenish our travel savings. We both accepted positions to work near Glacier National Park for the summer season and here are the resources we found to be the most helpful for obtaining that seasonal work!
My number one favorite website is CoolWorks which was established in 1995. CoolWorks has been a leader in connecting people seeking meaningful and exciting work with the employers who are looking for their enthusiasm, energy, and knowledge. They believe that you can and should love your job, and they want to help make that happen! On their website they feature job opportunities in great places such as National Parks, ski resorts, dude ranches, retreat centers and everything in between!
We mainly used this website because there was such a great variety of jobs available in so many awesome places! In addition almost all of the postings include a contact name and phone number. This proved to be exceptionally beneficial for us since we had unique circumstances that needed to be addressed before we could accept a position. Our biggest challenge was our two dogs and camper. A lot of the companies listed on CoolWorks provide free lodging and meals or very discounted meals. That would have been ideal for us but unfortunately all the places we came across like that didn't allow pets and there was no place to put the camper for the season.
We were able to save ourselves a lot of time by not actually applying to positions in mass quantities and hoping to hear back from people. We called the contact person listed on the job posting. We were pleasantly surprised by the high number of people that actually called us back. In this day and age where everything seems to be online, it was so nice to speak with human beings and learn what options were available. The other cool thing was we had numerous people that couldn't accommodate our situation but they still made some suggestions on other places to contact that potentially could!
Happy Vagabond is another website that is chock full of jobs in really amazing places! On this website are work camping, camp host, campground and work camper jobs. They also provide a contact person and phone number or email. The only issue we found is some of the positions had already been filled but the listings were still up. That is another reason to call and see if the position is still available.
USAjobs.gov is the best place to find federal government work. Normally there are a ton of people applying though and there is no contact information. But if you want to work for the government this is by far your best place to find those types of jobs and apply!
You can also just go to the websites of the companies you really want to work for. Let's say you want to work at Zion National Park. If you go to their website and click on "Get Involved" and then "Work with Us", they will provide information on how to find seasonal work with them. The biggest contractor with the National Parks is Xanterra. So if you are open to working at any National Park, check out their website and see what catches your eye that they have available!
Some of the things we learned while interviewing with potential employers is to make sure you are not getting taken advantage of. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If there is a pay structure that is confusing and convoluted just run from that company because most likely you are just getting the minimum of what they said and not anything else. Make sure your get paid every 2 weeks and not at the end of the season or if certain situations happen. For example, profits were increased by a certain amount, or you brought in so many people, etc. Any company that isn't straight forward and fair is not a company you want to work for.
Also be aware of how the person you are communicating with interacts with you. Are they respectful? Do they follow up when they say they would? Are they prompt? What sort of reviews does the company have on Google, Yelp or TripAdvisor? You don't want to be stuck working for a chauvinistic jerk who will make your seasonal experience a living nightmare. Just be aware of the interactions you have with a potential future employer and just walk away if it seems sketchy. Listen to your gut! And know that there are a TON of jobs out there in the hospitality industry. If you walk away from one, there will be many other ones available for you to pursue!
Our biggest recommendations when trying to land a seasonal position is to start a few months earlier than when you actually plan on working. That will give you the biggest variety of options and most likely the best living situations as well. In addition, picking up the phone and calling is never a bad idea!
In the hospitality industry it is all about customer service so by speaking with someone they can learn a lot about you just from a conversation. When you do call, introduce yourself, explain why you are calling, provide a short description of our past work history, and what type of work you are looking for. If you start early in the season they may just direct you to apply online. But if it is a company you really want to work for, calling and explaining your reasons for wanting that position will increase your odds tenfold of actually getting it!
Blog post written by Amy Karras
For the love of travel and new adventures, we live our lives for the next dream fulfilled!