Picture yourself working in one of the country's famous national parks this summer. Nature surrounds you, as do hiking trails and whitewater rafting trips through canyons. Or think of what it would be like to work for a ritzy resort on a tranquil, sunny beach. Are these fantasy jobs? Not likely. But they can be a great way to supplement your income during the summer months.
A summer job can be a lot of fun, but it is no vacation. Make sure you secure the best position by following these tips.
Know the Job's Demands
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Before you apply for a summer job, be sure you're aware of its day-to-day conditions. Mary Ann Burns, marketing communications manager for Agawam, Massachusetts-based Six Flags New England, urges applicants looking to work for her resort to consider how well they do outdoors, for instance. "Weather is a huge factor in our business," says Burns. "Most of the attractions, shows, rides and retail outlets require workers to be outside, [and] employees who are in character must be prepared to wear a uniform regardless of the weather."
Consider the Location
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A summer job's setting may mark the difference between a great experience and an unbearably boring one for you. For example, if you thrive on nightlife, working at a remote site with the nearest city an hour's drive away might not be the place for you.
"Some of our locations are quite remote," says J.B. Bettinger, senior director of human resources for Denver-based Xanterra Parks and Resorts. "They don't have television or email, and activities are limited." In such situations, socializing with other employees becomes a large part of your entertainment.
Moreover, if you're considering working somewhere far from your home base, be sure to evaluate the housing situation. Living at your work site has its pluses and minuses. "Subsidized housing is available for domestic and international workers when they work in the national parks," says Bettinger. "You will live and work with people from all over the world." Before applying, however, make sure you feel comfortable living in dormitory housing and sharing a bathroom with coworkers.
A Resume-Building Experience
Burns reminds job seekers that working at places like resorts can be a great way to gain skills you can use throughout your career. For example, you can get hands-on finance and accounting experience by working in a theme park's cash room. "We have quite a few departments that require seasonal help," says Burns. "They include security, first-aid personnel, food and retail. We also hire landscapers and park services personnel to maintain the park."
Moreover, working at an upscale family resort may provide you with direct access to some high-powered people. These connections could come in handy for future work opportunities.
Get in on the Action
Seasonal jobs are in high demand. Burns advises jobs seekers to dress to impress when applying for work. "Despite the fact that we're a theme park, we still look for people to dress as if they are going to work at an office," she adds.
You should also be flexible and willing to take on different roles, as shifts and positions may vary. For example, "you may work as a server in the morning and a housekeeper in the afternoon," notes Bettinger.
This article originally appeared on Monster.com.