So, you want to find a cool place to work for the Summer? The internet is your friend! There are several websites full of nothing but cool seasonal jobs. The key is, knowing what to look for.
First of all, you need to go in with an open mind. You could have your heart set on a job in California, but completely miss out on an even better opportunity in Colorado. So, don’t rule anything out until you’ve done your research.
A website that landed me at one of my favorite summer jobs is coolworks.com and I would highly recommend checking it out. You can search for jobs by season, state, and category. They have over 20 categories for jobs from camp counselors, to raft guides, to administrative staff, so you’re sure to find something that fits you. This is also where most National Park jobs are listed. This website led me to Deer Valley Guest Ranch in Colorado and I will forever be so grateful for that summer. (Full review of my Summer at DVR coming soon).
Some other sites I’ve heard of, but don’t have any personal experience with are BackDoorJobs.com (the name sounds sketchy, but I’ve looked into it and I think it’s safe), Kareeve.coom, SeasonalEmployment.com, and MountainJobs.com. I can’t personally vouch for these, but it wouldn’t hurt to look into them.
While I was working in Colorado, I met a lot of people who were working for a company called “A Christian Ministry in the National Parks” (they’re listed on coolworks.com). They place people in park service positions in various national parks to minister to the park employees and visitors. This has the added bonus of having a built-in community aspect. However, the jobs are not always glamorous.
Another GREAT way to find a seasonal job is to look into jobs at places you’ve been. For example, in 2012 my family and I vacationed at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado and two years later I was back as a staff member and it was so much fun. This also allows you to have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting yourself into, instead of going in blindly. Love Disney World? Do the Disney College Program. Love the beach? Get a summer job at a resort. You get the idea.
So many companies and churches are beginning to host summer internship programs just for college students. These aren’t necessarily paid positions, in fact sometimes you have to pay a fee to participate, but they usually include short-term housing so it’s still a cheaper way to travel. My favorite summer experience was an internship at a church called Antioch in Bend, Oregon. If you’re interested in a more corporate atmosphere, Internships.com has a lot of options.
Finally, if you have a specialized skill, like photography or graphic design, there are opportunities to freelance wherever you decide to go. This is especially great because you get to choose your hours, leaving you free time to explore. The downside is the income may not always be steady. If you’re not interested in the risk of freelancing, you could always look for an internship under someone who is in the field you want to be in. Again, the pay probably won’t be great, but the experience is unbeatable.
To sum it up: get inspired to go, use your resources, and then make it happen. Now, you’ll want to know what to expect when you accept a job. Check out my post: What to Expect When You’re Expecting… A Summer Job.