Basics for Getting a Seasonal Job in a Tough Economy

Getting a seasonal job in tough economic times can be difficult, but it's definitely doable. The trick is to know your markets, and plan in advance.

Seasonal work basics

Basic rules of getting seasonal work:

  • Never just assume seasonal jobs are available.
  • Always check the local job markets and make comparisons between types of work and pay.
  • Don't spend your pay, makes sure you stick to your budget as closely as possible.

Seasonal work usually equates to working in agriculture or tourist based areas. By the start of the seasons, the employers are usually snowed under with new arrivals in their towns, looking for work. It's a pretty chaotic situation, and that chaos does nothing for your own prospects of getting a seasonal job.

The best way to get seasonal jobs is to do some research and look for good options well ahead of the season, preferably about six months ahead, while you still have time to be selective and plan your own movements. 

Planning options

You need to be well organized to do seasonal work effectively and take advantage of opportunities. Planning will also allow you to do some costing, and figure out how you want to handle the money position. After you've decided where you want to go, you can start doing some numbers.

Example

  • Air fare $350 return
  • Accommodation $500
  • Wages $4000 for 5 weeks
  • Net Profit $3150

Note that this is based on known figures for wages. You need to know what your seasonal job will pay, to make sure you're not costing yourself money.

Important: Never overestimate your pay, it can really put a hole in your budget. Seasonal jobs can pay brilliantly, but some don't, particularly in tough economic times. You must check them out thoroughly.

First, contact the local employers. If you've done seasonal work in the area before, call your contacts first. Make sure they're hiring as usual. Agricultural and tourist work can be very unstable, and you can't just show up hoping for work to be available. It's advisable to check out a few local employers in advance, so you have backup options if you don't get your first preference.

Networking

Having confirmed that work is available, you may be also able to get a seasonal job over the phone through a bit of advance networking. Some seasonal employers won't hire people in advance, but some will.

If you've worked with an employer before, and have a good work record with them, your chances are pretty good. You can also check out with the employer about the local conditions, and get first hand information about the work situation. That alone can save you much difficulty in your seasonal job hunting. Because you're doing all this in advance, you can avoid counting on jobs that aren't there, and spend time hunting down other work.

Your networks will also be able to give you job leads, even if they don't have work themselves. Local business information is usually reliable, and will point you in the right direction.