Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

If You Can’t Commit to a Full Season

Kelcy Fowler

Most seasonal employers understand limited availability dates due to school schedules or other factors. We recommend providing the employer with as much availability as you can. However, be honest about your dates! Don’t claim to have more time available then you truly do. Make sure you factor in travel time or other commitments when coming up with your window of availability. Employers need staff to cover their entire season, so many will hire a combination of full-season staff, early-season staff, and late-season staff. In our experience, preference is given to those who can work the entire season – but there are plenty of short-season opportunities out there as well.

Many resorts and national park operations have extended their visitor seasons well into the fall. The typical university student or teacher will return to school well before their visitor seasons have ended. For this reason, and because travelers are active during the late summer and throughout the fall, additional employees are often recruited to join the staff for August, September, and October. If seasonal employment is new to you and you’re free in the autumn or spring months – you may want to consider applying for shorter-term employment – maybe 6 weeks at the end of a winter or summer season – to see what it’s all about. This offers a terrific opportunity to travel during a less busy time, meet great people, and learn a new skill in a great new place.

If you’re a student job seeker limited by your school break, don’t give up hope of a great seasonal job in an amazing place – just start looking and applying earlier! The winter holiday break is a great time to start the job hunt and submit applications. Keep in mind that these short-season opportunities are in high demand and they’ll get snatched up quickly. It’s also helpful to consider the typical season length in the industry you’re interested in. National parks and resorts tend to run long, while summer camps, dude ranches, and Alaska employers tend to have shorter operating seasons. If you are not able to snag a short summer gig in your favorite park, why not put it on your wish list and apply again when you’re dates are open-ended? A camp counselor job or a dude ranch staffer position are both incredibly rich, rewarding, and immensely satisfying opportunities. And Alaska is a big adventure! Whatever opportunity works for you, grab it and get ready for the ride of your life!