Although some of you out there are still seeing snow, if you are thinking about doing any workamping this summer, now is the time to start looking.
Facebook!!! Find Me A Job!!!
In the past few weeks, I have seen numerous posts all over Facebook about people looking for workamping jobs. I realize a lot of people might be new to full-time RVing, testing the waters to see if they would like it, or are planning to hit the road full-time by the summer and want to have something lined up. There are better ways to find work.
Too many people just jump on Facebook, or any other social media and ask who’s hiring. That might work out OK for you but there is a much better way to do it. If you just throw it out there on social media, you are getting just a very small picture of what’s actually out there and available. With a little effort, you can find your own workamping job and not rely on throwing caution to the wind and trusting social media. By doing your own research, you are in control of what you find and the location of the job. Besides, we find it fun to search for jobs.
Start Searching In Advance
We found our first workamping job many months in advance. We were really nervous and excited at the same time. You can search as far in advance as you want but remember the longer you wait, the more limited you are. That especially holds true in the winter. The summer months you can basically pick and choose an area you would like to be in and generally find something in that area.
The winter months are a little more challenging because you don’t have nearly as many campgrounds to pick from. Most of the northern state’s campgrounds close for the winter. Many of the longtime full-timers head south to warm weather and return to their same jobs every winter. Remember I said challenging not impossible.
Campground Jobs Only Please
The type of jobs you can do working off the campground is almost unlimited. It’s almost like working a 9-5 except at the end of the day you return to your RV, not your sticks and bricks. I am not going to be talking about those jobs or any kind of self-employment work here. Instead, I am going to focus on campground jobs. Since I have previously written a blog on some of the duties you can expect to perform while working at a campground (see campground jobs blog) I will instead be focusing on searching for and securing a campground job.
There are many ways to look and apply for campground jobs but I would say the first thing you should do is put a resume together. Be completely honest on your resume. Don’t be afraid to say you are new to workamping. Everyone starts somewhere and besides there is probably something in your background that the potential employer will find valuable even if you don’t think so.
Can I Do Electrical Work, Yeah, I Invented Electrical Work!!!
If you don’t know electric work then don’t say you do. Same applies to plumbing and carpentry. Also, if you have physical limitations, list them. Don’t apply for a landscaping job if you have crippling allergies or you can barely walk. If you lie and say you can do these things when in actuality you can’t when you get to your new job both you and your boss will be very unhappy. It could even lead to your dismissal. Now the season is already in full swing which means now you have to start searching all over again with much less to choose from.
Before I go any further, let me say one thing. Do not ever be afraid to leave a job if you are being taken advantage of or mistreated in any way. Even though there will be much less to choose from many times you can find something where the workamper had some kind of emergency and had to leave their job. The campground owner now needs to fill that position as fast as possible. We saw this first hand at our first workamping gig in Amarillo. This happens more than you think.
Some Work/Others Might Not
We have had 2 workamping experiences since we started almost 2 years ago. The first one worked out great. The owners and their family members were awesome and the season totally flew by. We also met some other great workampers there who we now call our friends. The second experience was a very short-lived one. To make a long story short, the managers we interviewed with and were hired by, retired shortly after we got there and It just did not work out with the new manager. We left and I decided to take the winter off and make some website upgrades and Chris chose to work off of the campground.
Ok, back to finding work. Once you are happy with the resume you have created, you have options on how you search. There are numerous free sites that publish jobs regularly. I have some of them listed on my How To Make Money on the Road page. There are more and more sites popping up all the time. Just Google it and see how many you get…lol.
So Many Resources
We check out many of the free sites but also chose to join 2 paid subscriptions as we feel they are the most reliable and organized. The sites are “Work At KOA” and “Workamper News”. The nice thing about these sites is that they have templates to make your resume. Then if you find a job you can send your resume from within that site. We find that very convenient.
You can also pick an area you want to visit, look up all the campgrounds in that area, and send an email to all the campgrounds in that area attaching your resume. We only put our names on the resume and ask that we are contacted via email. Once you have an employer who is interested and a job has been offered then you can provide them with additional contact information.
What Do I Do Now?
So now that you have numerous ways to search for jobs, what happens when someone gets back to you? That depends on how you contacted them. If you went through the “Work At KOA” or Workamper News site, they will already have your resume. You would then move on to a phone interview.
If you were just sending random emails or went through an unpaid site, the next step would be to send your resume out and get some information on the job. At this point, you should have someone interested in you in an area you want to be in, know a little about the job, be ready for the next phase.
Find A Quiet Spot, A Fully Charged Phone, Pen And Paper
At some point after the emails stop if they are interested, you will get a phone interview. It is extremely important that at the time of the interview you are in a quiet spot, and have a piece of paper with any questions you may have and to take notes. Remember, it’s not like a 9-5 where the employer is sitting across from you and can make an assessment from a face to face interview. This phone call could be over an hour sometimes so make sure your phone is charged or there is a place to plug in where you are sitting.
Make sure you discuss things like when you should arrive and how long after completion you need to leave, starting and finish date, your exact duties, your compensation package, whether or not you will receive a W-2 or 1099, how often and how you will be paid, the number of hours you are expected to work each week, your days off, and anything else you discuss. Over time you will develop a set of questions that are customized to your needs.
Let Me Think About That
Just like with your resume, answer all questions honestly. You might really want the job but lying about your qualifications can make for a miserable season. Sometimes you will be offered the job on the same phone call as your interview. Sometimes you or the employer will need to think things over and will require another phone call.
If you are offered the job but want to think about it, that’s ok. Maybe something was said during the interview that you didn’t realize would be part of the job and you are not sure if you want to do that. If you told them you would get back to them in a few days, then do it!!! Stick to what you say. Don’t tell them you will get back to them in a few days and a week later they still have not heard from you. If I was that employer I would just hire someone else. To me, it would show me that you are unreliable and no employer wants that kind of employee during their busy season.
WooHoo!!! You Got The Job!!!
So you have decided to accept the job. Congratulations!!! What do you do now? I would suggest that you have the employer send you an email outlining everything that was said and agreed to in the phone interview. This will eliminate any confusion or misunderstanding that could happen in the excitement/nervousness of the phone call. Some employers will want a signed commitment. Make sure everything you discussed is in that agreement.
After we accepted our job in Amarillo, the owner sent one of the most detailed emails I have ever seen. There was absolutely no misunderstanding of what they were expecting and what was expected of us and the compensation package involved. It does not get any clearer or better than that.
They Are Counting On You
Keep in mind when you have agreed on a job and time frame, the owner is counting on you to honor that. Outside of an unforeseen emergency or being mistreated by the employer, there should be no reason why you should leave early or prior to the time you are committed to. Unfortunately, sometimes you will get to a job and the owner will expect you to do things that were not discussed and agreed on or try and completely change the terms of your agreement. You should always try and work it out first.
Don’t complain to other workers about it. Talk to the manager/owner directly. Show them the agreement they sent you in an email. Remember that agreement I talked about earlier. This is why that agreement is important. Thankfully, this is rare. My point is don’t just take off because you found out your friends are at another campground and can get you in.
No One Will Ever Find Me Here!!!
On another note, make sure you hold up your end of the bargain. You are there to work and make the paying guests experience the best camping experience they ever had. You are not doing any good if you are supposed to be in an area working and you are off hiding somewhere.
So hopefully you have some ideas to get you started on the workamping trail. With a little planning and common sense, you can have successful workamping jobs as you make your way around the country.
One last thought on workamping. Workamping in a campground will not make you rich. You will, however, meet many different and interesting people along the way. You may even meet other workampers or even owners that will become your friends. You also will not be sitting in long traffic jams trying to get to work. To me, it’s worth it just for that.
Good Luck With Your Workamping Adventures!!!