CoolWorks.com - A Seasonal's Best Friend
How to take advantage of one of the most important resources in the Seasonal toolbox
by Brittany Dufresne
any years ago, there lived a young woman from Vermont who spent her days teaching English to Thai children in a small Thai town. Her evenings were spent practicing speaking Thai and eating pad see eew or ka pow gai at her favorite local food spot.
Always a dreamer, she felt the call of the Alaskan Wild and knew that her next job would be there. But doing what? To find the answer, she turned to CoolWorks.com.
Here she was swept away in a stream of fate. She found an office job with a kayaking tour company in Ketchikan, AK.
Qualifications - check.
Great job perks - check.
Housing and livable salary - check.
Application, interview, job offer - check, check and CHECK.
After accepting the job she flew into the Ketchikan unknown. She spent the next five months seeing breath-taking scenery and incredible wildlife, learning new skills and hobbies, and forging friendships that just won’t quit.
As lovely as that story is, this article wasn’t born because the story (okay, my story) needed to be shared. It was born because the website needs to be shared. Even though I am smitten with the time I spent in Alaska, I am head-over-heels in love with the fact that there is a virtual place dedicated to connecting people with places through jobs.
If it isn’t already obvious, I get giddy whenever I have the chance to introduce someone new to this amazing resource. The site was literally created for seasonal workers to find cool work. Whether you are already living the seasonal life, or still just dreaming about it, you NEED to know about CoolWorks.com. For me, being a Seasonal is all about sharing. Sharing experiences, sharing meals, sharing a beer, and sharing resources.
The HELP WANTED NOW section of CoolWorks is basically Seasonal porn. Seriously Check it out.
First things first - searching for work on this site isn’t like a typical job-search engine, which can be filtered by career level or pay. Before diving into the listings, I recommend zeroing in on your priorities. Already know what type of job you want? Search using Categories. Is the love of your life spending their winter in Colorado? Search by State. Are you on the site every day looking for opportunities? Use their What’s New page to stay up-to-date. Trying to get a sense of what jobs will be available in 6 months? Search by Season. Did you just get fired for being an asshole and need to pay some bills? Head straight to Help Wanted Now (and stop being an asshole). It’s obvious that this site was created by seasonal workers - they know what we’re looking for and how we look for it.
Many of the listings will boast powerful hooks like “Discovery waits in the land of awe” and “Where do you clock in!? Kirkwood Mountain Resort is now hiring for the winter season!!!” The trick is to get under all that marketing and excessive punctuation and decide if this job will really meet all of your needs. Beyond location and actual job, it’s important to consider things like housing options, staff size, perks, transportation, and of course pay.
That being said, those key details aren’t always obvious in a posting. If a potential seasonal takes a look at this posting, a lot of questions are raised. What is the salary? Is housing included? Any other perks? What is the company all about? From a job seeker’s perspective I don’t have a good grasp of what I’m walking into here, and before I commit to offering my next season's labor to them, I am going to need a little bit more information.
On the flip side, check out this posting. I have fewer questions. Pay is listed right at the top. In the sidebar, I can see that there is housing and meals provided. Under “Compensation”, I get a clear idea of what they’re offering and the kind of lifestyle I’m looking at. Below that, the company reveals a bit more of what they’re about. I’m not saying that just because one posting has more info than another that the gig will necessarily be better. I am saying, though, don’t forget to gather all the info that is important to you before you go all in.
"See a job that seems crazy awesome? Pull the trigger and apply. The only investment required is time, and reward could be a lottery-winning level of life-changing. "
When you do finally apply for a job, I really hope you don’t need me to tell you what to do or how to go about it. However, if that is the case, hit me up. My hourly rate is very reasonable and I will spend that money on memory-making adventures (and maybe some good beer). In the meantime, here is some advice for free. Remember that the application/interview portion is prime time to turn up the heat on the enthusiasm that has been simmering in your core. Go full throttle into the unknown (after you’ve gathered your facts, of course). Make your dedication to the job and the lifestyle clear to the potential employer. You WANT to be there and there should be no mistaking that. Adventure is on the horizon and the only barrier is a little virtual paperwork and some charming conversation. See a job that seems crazy awesome? Pull the trigger and apply. The only investment required is time, and reward could be a lottery-winning level of life-changing.
As much as I’ve focused on the job listing aspect, this site also has a ton of other resources for Seasonals, like FAQs, a Job Seeker Guide and a Community page. The FAQ page is exactly what it claims to be. It is full of questions like “I need a summer (or winter) job. When is best to apply” and “I can’t work a full season. Should I still apply”. For all the aspiring Seasonals out there, the Job Seeker Guide is like a crash course in being a Seasonal. There are plenty of short, easily digestible articles about things like making an application stand out, logistics of seasonal gigs, and a few category-specific run-downs of what it’s like to work at a dude ranch, a camp, or ski resort. The Community page takes you to an entirely new page with forums, blogs, groups, and general opportunities to connect. It’s not what anyone would consider a hip, happening place but it has its potential.
CoolWorks.com has a lot to offer Seasonals, but in my mind, the most powerful part isn’t the site itself. The most powerful part is the alternative reality it represents. Not everyone knows that there are more than one, two, or three different ways to earn a paycheck, or that there are so many beautiful places to earn it, or even how to go about it in the first place! This site is here to make the connections, and to remind us that if you want them, there are opportunities to live the adventures that most people only live when they’re taking a break from their regularly scheduled lives. These opportunities don’t just exist on CoolWorks either. My advice to any seasonal job seeker is to start on this site and let it inspire further exploration into the opportunities that exist throughout the country and beyond. Find a job or a place that calls to you and get to Googling! There are plenty more opportunities out there than this little site offers. Tap your resources, put yourself out there, reach for what you want, and let the stream of fate guide you on to your next seasonal adventure.
Think there won’t be enough variety? Think again. Here is a list of my favorite job ads I've seen.
Groomer/Snowcat Operator (No experience needed)
“We love farmers,combine drivers, heavy equipment operators and snow plow drivers!”
Marketing- On Snow Media Coordinator (Skiing/snowboarding and video experience necessary)
Lodge Services Team Members (No experience needed)
Alpine, WY (only accessible by snowmobile!)
Ice Castle Builder (Seen previously on CW)
Rafting Guide (No experience needed)
Buena Vista, CO
Summer Travel Program Leader (Some experience needed)
All over the world!
Wellness Coordinator (Some experience necessary)
(And there is even more where these came from!)