by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Do you love working outdoors? Want to work in a park setting? Only have an interest in working seasonally? Have a passion for short-term work adventures? Then this article is for you — providing insights, tips, and expert advice for finding a seasonal job.
Benefits of Seasonal Jobs
The greatest benefit to a season job is that it provides you with the flexibility to pursue other options once the season is over. Season work also provides variety, especially if you move along with the seasons to other parks, camps, and resorts.
All seasonal jobs, of course, offer a decent paycheck… but some also include housing or an RV site with hook-ups.
For younger job-seekers, these jobs are often excellent entry-level positions to gain valuable work experience. For older job-seekers and retirees, these jobs provide the opportunity to control a flexible and varied lifestyle.
Finally, if you love the work — and the employer loves you — you may have somewhat of a permanent seasonal opportunity.
Size of the Seasonal Park, Camp, Resort Job Market
Resorts, campgrounds, and state and national parks hire tens of thousands of seasonal employees annually. The National Park Service alone hires 10,000 temporary and seasonal workers each year.
Types of Seasonal Work Opportunities
While every employer is different, there are some general types of jobs that are offered seasonally:
- Visitor/Guest Assistant/Greeter. These jobs — located at entrance station, visitor centers, concession stands, and campground offices — require excellent people skills.
- Park/Resort Guide. These jobs require mastering information about all aspects of the operation and using that information to lead tours, provide informative demonstrations, and answer visitor questions. Again, good people skills are important.
- Program Assistant. These jobs involve assisting in the development and implementation of activities for various members of park/resort visitors, from working with children to managing fishing/hiking excursions. There may be special skills or certifications required for these positions, such as CPR or lifeguarding certificate.
- Maintenance Assistant. These jobs, which often require a physical and mechanical inclination, include a wide range of physical labor — from constructing and/or maintaining trails to maintenance on vehicles, structures, machinery, furniture, and the like.
- Expert. These jobs — for engineers, geologists, foresters, and the like — are for professionals with experience and credentials in their field. These openings tend to be more temporary, less seasonal.
Finding that Ideal Seasonal Job
As with all good — and successful — job-hunting, your first priority must be that you have a solid grasp managing online job-hunting and networking. In many cases, you’ll be applying for long-distance positions online. In some cases, you may be able to hand deliver your application, but those will be rare.
Your resume should be sharp — and current. If you have any doubts, we suggest you first spend time on the many free resume resources (tips, advice, samples) we offer on Quintessential Careers.
Once your fundamentals are sound, then — and only then — should you go to the next step, which involves deciding on the types of work and employers. It is ALWAYS best to apply directly to each employer.
Federal Park Jobs: Go directly to the National Park Service. You may also want to go to the Websites of the independent lodges/resorts within national parks, as well as the NPS concession company, Xantera, as well as look for seasonal employment at other governmental agencies using USAJOBS.
State Park Jobs: Go to your state’s parks Website and find how they hire; some hire at the state level, while others hire at the local or district level.
Private Resorts/Parks: Search for these via Google by the location you seek. Then apply directly to each employer.
Seasonal Work Websites: There are also a number of seasonal and camp job Websites, as well as some specifically for RVers, that aggregate job openings and posting. Here are three sections of Quintessential Careers that link to the best of the best:
- Part-Time, Seasonal, and Work-Camping Jobs and Resources
- Summer, Camp, and Seasonal Jobs for Teens
- Cool, Unusual, Unique, and Seasonal Jobs
Final Thoughts on Seasonal Park and Camp Work
If you love the outdoors, only want to work part of the year, and seek control over your career and lifestyle, then seasonal park jobs may be the perfect solution for you!
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.