The Comprehensive Guide to Seasonal Jobs
Ever wondered how some lucky folks get to work in breathtaking locations like Yosemite or the snow-capped mountains of the Colorado Rockies? More often than not these people are working seasonal jobs.
Yep, seasonal jobs are the not-so-big secret that allow any aspiring, nature-loving, adventurous individual the distinct opportunity to work in awesome places that only some people dare to dream to try.
If we’ve piqued your interest, and you want to learn more about what seasonal jobs have to offer, read on. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about all things seasonal employment.
What Are Seasonal Jobs?
Seasonal jobs are any kind of work that you hold for a certain period of time–usually a season–like summer or winter. Now, some seasonal jobs require you to work full-time (40 hours or more per week), while others need part-time (i.e. 20 hours a week or less). This all depends on what type of seasonal job you are looking for.
Types of Seasonal Employment
Seasonal jobs are not a one-size-fits-all kind of job type. There is something for anyone and everyone. These jobs are cross-industry, with positions located all over the states (and world, too).
Let’s paint the picture. Remember the last vacation you took solo or with family and friends. Do you recall being greeted by a host or given a tour by the local tour guide?
If you’re a skiing seasonaire, your ski lift operator helped you get to the top of the slopes. And don’t forget the lovely ski resorts that you oh so frequent. There was a bartender that served you happy hour drinks, and someone who helped you assisted you with renting equipment.
And remember that one time at summer camp? Your awesome camp counselors, I mean.
All of these people I just mentioned are working seasonal jobs. Most, if not all, are different kinds of seasonal employment.
Job Places & Industries That Hire Seasonally
In general, you will find seasonal work opportunities in these industries:
- Tourism & Hospitality
- Cruise Lines
- Beach/Holiday Resorts
- Outdoor / Sports
- Ski Resorts
- National Parks
- Summer Camps
- Golf Courses
- Food & Beverage / Retail
- Shopping Centers
- Delivery & Transportation
- Package Delivery
- Truck Driver
Pro-Tip: Seasonal jobs and Holiday jobs are used interchangeably. However, holiday jobs generally refer to jobs in the winter holiday months of November-January. Holiday jobs are also typically retail-oriented, though certainly not limited to that.
By the way, we’ve barely scratched the surface; there are so many that fall outside of the traditional scope of seasonal work, too. Feel free to take a look at our latest job listings. Because seasonal work is inherently unconventional, you’ll tend to find jobs much more interesting than your average 9-5 job.
Just to give you a taste, consider the following seasonal jobs:
- Island caretaker
- Au Pair
- Scuba Diving Instructor
- Alaskan Fisherman
There are plenty of jobs out there that may be just the right fit for what you’re looking for.
The Benefits of Seasonal Jobs
Working seasonally in most cases is a lifestyle choice, which provide benefits that the typical salaried job doesn’t offer. Perhaps the most significant benefits are:
- Flexibility and freedom of your time. If you want to maximize your time to pursue your favorite sports like skiing or surfing, seasonal jobs can provide that perfect balance of earning money in places where you can immediately access your favorite activities. In fact many of these industries hire seasonally.
- Work in the outdoors. For nature lovers and aficionados, seasonal employment offers many opportunities to work outside. And let’s be honest, the benefits of working in nature speak for themselves. Spending time outdoors makes you happier, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress levels, to name a few.
- Meet amazing, genuine people. Seasonal work tends to attract wonderful humans. That just happens when you work in a place you love.
- Great experience to add to your resumé. With each seasonal job, you’ll work with all different kinds of people and organizations, all of which you can add to your resume.
Who Are Seasonal Jobs For?
Now, the big question. Are seasonal jobs the right fit for you? The answer depends on what you’re looking for in life and in a job. Is it flexibility? More than ever before, flexbility in the workplace influences how much you enjoy your job. Especially among the growing millennial workforce.
Seasonal jobs offer incredible flexibility. Flexibility to not be bogged down by yearly commitments. Freedom to leave after a season. In addition, there are other questions to consider:
- Do you want the freedom to travel certain months out of the year?
- Are you looking for a fun and adventurous way to earn money and meet awesome people?
- Do you want to work and live in a place where only some dare to travel?
- Do you value the freedom to be in the outdoors?
It’s important to ask yourself these questions. Knowing the answers will help you decide if seasonal jobs are a good fit for you and what you want to do.
Students & Recent Grads
If you’re still in high school or college, seasonal work is a great summer job for you in many aspects. Because many different industries hire seasonally, you can find many different kinds of seasonal job that suit to your interests. You might even discover an industry or job you would’ve never considered otherwise.
Thinking about taking a gap year? Seasonal jobs are a fantastic way to spend a year away from the books to work in an incredible place. You are a product of your environment. What better way to spend your gap year than in a stunning destination?
Moreover, seasonal employment attracts people from all walks of life. So, be rest assured that you will meet awesome people, and some will even blossom into friendships that last for a lifetime. You just never know.
If you’re a teacher and looking to supplement your income, definitely consider seasonal jobs as a possible way. Many employers only hire during the summer, and it usually overlaps quite nicely with the typical school year calendar.
Seasonal Job as a Lifestyle
For many, the life of the seasonal worker is a chosen lifestyle. In other words, they work seasonally because they love travel, adventure, flexibility, the outdoors, or a mix of all of these qualities. Many choose to work seasonally because they don’t want to be tied to a desk. They want to be out and about exploring the world. However, seasonal jobs can also turn into permanent jobs for candidates who work hard and prove that they deserve a year-round position.
How to Find Seasonal Jobs
Job search engines are a great place to start looking for jobs in general. However, the usual downside to using such sites like Indeed means your application sits in a sea of thousands of other applications. Moreover, job listings are updated less often, and you may end up applying for jobs that are already filled.
If you are dead set on applying for seasonal jobs, look into niche job boards that specifically focus on whatever industry you’re industry. For example, our job board at PeakSeason focuses on seasonal jobs, with special emphasis on resort locales. If this is what you’re looking for, then definitely browse through our latest job offerings.
Alternatively, if you already know who you want to work for, check your organization’s site, and apply directly there.
When to Apply for Seasonal Jobs
How long do seasonal employees work? It depends on the geography and the season, but most seasonal employees work at least 3 months. Because of the seasonal nature of such jobs, we recommend you apply in the following windows. There will always be some exceptions of course, but most will follow this calendar.
- Summer Season: Most seasonal employers start the recruiting January-March, with a goal to be fully staffed by April for the summer season.
- Winter Season: Employers will start recruiting July-September, with a goal to be fully staffed by October.
- Shoulder Season (Spring and Winter): Shoulder season is also known as the off-season. There are the least amount of jobs available around this time, but you might be able to find some jobs. Alternatively, this is your best opportunity to take some time and travel and pursue your personal activities.
- Year-Round: Seasonal Employers usually do offer minimal staff year-round jobs for upkeep.
Applying and Interviewing
Leaving a good first impression is important. Treat the job application process with due diligence and care. Make sure your job application is flawless. Is your resumé up-to-date? Did you check your application for typos?
Putting in the extra time pays off, as this tells employers that you care, and you mean business. How you present yourself on social matters, too. Your personal brand may make or break your application.
Once you’ve applied, many employers will often follow up with an interview over the phone, Skype, on in person. Once your date is set, start prepping! Think through the big questions like, “Why do you want to work here?” and “Why are you the best candidate for the job?”
Other Factors to Consider
As in all other jobs, it’s important to have some key considerations. Seasonal jobs are no different in that sense. Nevertheless, factors are a bit different when it comes to seasonal employment:
- Nomadic lifestyle. Because jobs are seasonal, you may always be on the move, always on the hunt for the next job. It’s important to find the right work-life balance for you.
- Housing. Housing may be fully covered, subsidized, or not at all. If you’re balling on a budget, this is definitely something you should research before taking any job offers.
- Varying hours. Depending on the job, some may require longer work days than others. Your interview is your time to ask these questions.
- Required skillset. Some jobs require technical experience. For example, most ski instructor jobs require proper certification, while the skills to be a hostess can be learned on the job.
- Getting there. If you’re taking a seasonal job in an awesome place far, far away from home, you’ll probably need to take care of your own transport.
- Health insurance. Health coverage varies from employer to employer. And if you plan on taking on activities like skiing or rock climbing, then we strongly recommend getting insurance. If you are under 26, you can still be covered under your parent’s insurance via Obamacare.
There may be personal considerations not listed here. Whatever you may have, jot them down on a list, and have them ready for employers to provide answers.
Seasonal Jobs Are a Great Fit for Those Who Value Adventure and Flexibility
Seasonal jobs aren’t meant for everyone. They’re for the intrepid spirit who is looking to take on an alternative lifestyle of fun and adventure, full of incredible experiences.
If you’re itching to do something fun and different for your summer break, or want to say yes to a more mobile lifestyle, then finding seasonal work may be the answer for you.
Just make sure to do your research, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and take your time to apply for the job and destinations that are right for you.
Have you considered seasonal jobs before?