Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Tips for Older & Bolders on How to Use CoolWorks

You are approaching or nearing retirement. Or maybe you’ve already been through the vacation period of retirement, and now you’re feeling like getting back to doing “something”. 

As Baby Boomers retire and lifespans increase, more and more people are looking for their second – or third – working opportunity. And with that, the interest in seasonal jobs among the Older & Bolder community has increased.

If you’re a member of the O&B community, and you’re interested in exploring the world of seasonal employment in some of our country’s most magnificent places, here are some tips to help you navigate CoolWorks and some things to consider when searching and applying for seasonal jobs. 

First things first, Start with the Basics – you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the website, how it’s organized, and how you can streamline your job search. There are a lot of employers and jobs on CoolWorks, and that can be a tad overwhelming when you first get started. So head to this overview on Using CoolWorks and make sure to watch our short video tour of the site. 

We have found that many O & Bs know they want to work in a National Park or a specific state. This is a good way to begin to narrow your search – pick some National Parks or some states you’d like to experience for a season. 

Next, consider registering for an account. It’s free, and although you don’t need an account to search and apply for jobs, having one allows you to favorite employers & job posts, save search criteria and receive emails when a new opportunity comes on the site that matches up with something you are interested in.

Once you figure out where you want to go, identify your “deal breakers” before you start your job search in earnest. What would your best case seasonal work experience look like? What aspects of working seasonally are you good with, and what are your deal breakers? 

That leads us to seasonal housing. Typically in the world of seasonal work, some type of housing is offered and the accommodations are shared. However, since COVID, we have seen many more private rooms offered. And although many National Park Concessionaires house their employees in dorms or shared rooms, some set aside one they designate as quiet, which is where many of the O&Bers prefer to stay.  

When I worked in Yellowstone in my late 20’s, some of my best buds were O&Bers who lived in the quiet dorm, and I loved visiting and hanging out after work on their dorm front porch with them. There was a real sense of community there.

And if you’re home is on wheels, there are lots of seasonal employers who have RV sites available, many with full hookups. Sometimes these are included as part of the compensation and sometimes there’s a payroll deduction. Also, if you’re wanting to bring your beloved pet along for your adventure, this is the best option as pets are often not permitted in staff housing. But there are exceptions to every rule!

Lastly, one of the questions we commonly get asked by O&Bers is, “Will employers actually consider me?”. So if you’re wondering, make sure to check out this article that enumerates many reasons why retirees can be considered perfect candidates for many seasonal employers.

So, with all that said, where do you see yourself living, working and playing next season? Ponder that, and when you’re ready, check out this article to learn when the best time is to apply for different seasons. Enjoy the adventure!