The most common questions we get from people is about how we were able to find work in our travels. I've been on both sides of hiring workampers, so I can actually answer those questions.
First, if you have any specialized skills or professions, use them. I studied massage and was able to get work as a therapist in many places. We had a friend in Austin who is a butcher and has worked at several supermarkets as they move around the country. We have met several traveling nurses in our travels. And I talked with someone online who is an accountant and works four months during tax season wherever he is based. So just because you are traveling and/or retired, doesn’t mean you have to stop the work you are trained to do.
On the road we found work mainly through three sources:
There are many sources for finding job postings or posting your resume on the web.
One of the most popular for anyone trying to find a workamping job is Workamping News. Most of the postings are in some way related to campgrounds, sights or destinations along the road, or national and state parks. The jobs very from volunteer work to paid employment and also range from part time seasonal to full time year round work and everything in-between. We were able to find our jobs at Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Amazon, MLB Spring Training and Custer State Park through this periodical. They have a website, www.workamper.com, where you can sign up.
When I was hiring for Grand Canyon Association I used them for seasonal hiring and also for replacement hires mid-season. My one complaint is that Workamper News is making people pay more for better treatment, creating a hiring hierarchy, so I looked for other sources too.
Another source I've used for both hiring and searching for seasonal jobs was Cool Works. They launched a new section of the site for jobs with RV spaces, www.coolworks.com/jobs-with-rv-spaces. Many of the bigger organizations use this site, and they are easy to use.
Workers on Wheels will usually have some good leads. While their site at http://www.work-for-rvers-and-campers.com/job-listings-for-RVers.html isn't the fanciest, they are easy to work with and you can find some jobs not listed elsewhere.
2. Temporary Agencies
When you are camping around a town you can also find jobs through temp agencies. You might not strike it rich at one of these jobs, but it does help supplement your income. For several years Sue and I were able to get steady work in the winters through several agencies. When you apply you will have to take about three hours of tests before they place you, depending on what skills you list. But once we were in, we were able to use the same agencies several winters without problems.
3. Word of Mouth
When you are meeting your new neighbors, it does not hurt to talk about what jobs you have done. Many people are happy to refer you to friends and acquaintances if they know where you are going. This has helped me get some massage gigs and a couple of landscaping jobs during our travels with little or no outside advertising. I will also add to this section nepotism. I’ve been lucky enough to get some consulting work from my father that has helped fund our travels. So don’t forget the people you know and they hopefully won’t forget you.
There are many other ways to find jobs in your travels. The federal government has thousands listed at www.usajobs.opm.gov. You can also look on the state and local government websites for jobs in the area you plan to go. And there is online job markets like monster.com or even craigslist where you will find more opportunities.
The key thing for finding work on the road is to plan ahead. Know where you want to go and start looking for work at least six months in advance. While you can sometimes find jobs at the last minute, it is not the best way to go if you are on a budget and count on working to supplement or provide your income. It is also important to know how much you need to be bringing in each month. If you know you need to earn $3,000 per month after taxes, you might not want to sign up with a temp agency.
- Everyone wants someone with good communication skills.
- Keep your resume up to date – and make sure to trim it down to 1 page.
- Appearances matter – both yours and your rig’s.
- Expect to do some grunt work and don't think you are above stocking shelves or dusting.
- Follow through on promises and expect the same from whomever you work for.
The jobs are out there, so don’t be afraid to step out and find them.