I haven’t blogged for a while but have been thinking about things I could share with the MyCoolworks group that would be helpful for 2009. I am going to do a series of blogs covering my knowledge of the seasonal employee journey. I am going to cover every step I can think of, from your first thought of seasonal employment to your first day of work and beyond.
This blog is my rundown and predictions of what 2009 will bring for anyone interested in a seasonal job. My expertise is Alaska, and most specifically the cruise industries effect on Alaska. But I know people in other places and feel anything I tell you here will apply for the most part to the entire U.S.
I thought I would start with a little about myself so you know who it is that is trying to give advice. I work for Princess Cruises and Tours at the Mt McKinley Princess Lodge in Denali State Park Alaska. I worked 4 years seasonally as a bellman, front desk clerk, and departmental supervisor. As a full-time manager I’ve been a Front Desk Manager and now a Hotel Services Manager. I currently oversee the front desk, bell staff, gift shop, security, and housekeeping departments. So the short version, I’ve been involved with the industry for some time, from both sides.
Here are the key factors I see affecting 2009.
1. There are going to be fewer seasonal jobs available in 2009.
In 2008 I had 114 employees under me. I hope this isn’t a news flash, but I won’t have 114 employees under me in 2009. The economic climate is definitely affecting the travel and hospitality industry. Fewer people will be traveling which means seasonal employers will need fewer employees. This shouldn’t scare you away from pursuing your dream seasonal job, but it should tell you that there will be greater competition for the jobs that exist.
2. There are more people applying for the jobs that remain.
More people will apply for seasonal jobs in 2009 than ever before. There are a couple reasons for this. Thanks to sites like Coolworks, amazing seasonal jobs are no longer a secret to many people. The word is out and people are jumping on the bandwagon. Also, layoffs are happening across the country. This means more and more people needing new jobs. Many seasonal jobs come with very affordable housing and meal plans, making them a very attractive option right now. I usually get really busy hiring in January, but this year I was getting e-mails and phone calls in October.
3. There are fewer jobs, but the variety is greater.
When I started looking for a seasonal job 10 years ago, the options were much more generic. Hotel jobs and restaurant jobs were most prevalent. Now on Coolworks.com you can find jobs from rafting guides to housekeepers and everything in between. No longer are just the big resorts available, but now you have a shot at everything from a 460 room property like the Mt McKinley Princess Lodge to a 10 room roadhouse. Seasonal jobs are now as exotic as the locations they serve.
The outlook for 2009 isn’t as rosy as it was for 2008, for employees or employers. But there still are jobs out there for you. Seasonal work in the hospitality industry is a wonderful way to earn some money, make some friends, and experience amazing places. That won’t change, even if traveling drops some. The moral is you may have to work a little smarter, and a little harder, to get that once in a lifetime experience. I hope to do one of these blogs each week. Next week I am going to address choosing the right employer. There are a lot of great ones, but you need to find the right one for you.