By Julie Chickery
With the boom in RV sales, there has never been a better time to try work camping. It is a great way to fund some of your RV travels while you’re exploring the country. Below are some work camping tips from the experts. This includes where to find potential jobs, how far in advance you need to apply, and how to make your application stand out.
Finding work camper positions
Kama Humphrey, Director of Training and Events Manager for Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), says the company’s resorts employ about 2,100 teams per year. While most KOAs are locally owned franchises, they post listings (currently 367) for Work Kampers to a central job board at WorkAtKOA.com. This is a paid membership that costs $50 per year, but it has some unique benefits. One of the perks is a travel program that gives you free stays on your way to your next job. Another benefit is the resume posting website where KOA campgrounds can view your resume, experience and skills.
If you are looking for more diverse work camping jobs, try Workamper® News. It is a subscription-based magazine, website and jobs-listing service that runs thousands of employment ads. For the best work camping tips and tools, we recommend joining at least 10 months before you want to begin your first work camping job. This will give you time to review all of the different types of opportunities out there. Even more importantly, it is early enough to refine your resume and work-wanted ads. Finally, you’ll be able to connect with other Workampers to help boost your confidence in moving forward.
Applying for work camper positions
Jodi Duquette Anderson, Executive Director of Workamper News, recommends applying for your dream work camping job six months before the date you want to start. They see Workampers looking for fall/winter jobs beginning in April. Summer season recruiting begins in October, with a big push right after the holidays.
According to Jodi, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find a job on short notice. There are always last-minute openings, often thanks to no-call/no-shows. In addition, work camping has not been immune to the lack of workers that we are seeing across the country this year. To make sure you are opening yourself up to the largest pool of opportunities possible, start your research early.
Getting ahead of the competition
If you are interested in a KOA work camping position, the Work At KOA program also has online training and certifications to give your application the edge. Kama Humphrey noted that most of their Work Kampers are retirees and don’t have a background in hospitality. However, they can stand out by emphasizing related experience such as customer service and communication skills. She said that KOA is in the “memory-making business” and anything you can do to showcase your willingness to help others enjoy their stay will help give you an edge.
Workamper News works with a wide range of employers and recommends these additional tips to improve your chances of being noticed and landing a job:
- Follow the instructions provided by the employer when communicating with them.
- Have a complete, easy-to-read resume with the info that employers want to see, but not so much text that they’ll just avoid reading it.
- Keep your resume up to date. As soon as you accept a job, revise your availability date and preferences to the next season you are available for.
- Include good photos of yourself and your RV with your resume (where you and your RV are clear and are the primary object in the photos).
- If you submit an application or make the first contact with an employer – follow up! Wait a couple of business days for them to get back to you and if you don’t hear from them, send an email or call and leave a message (if they provided a phone number in their advertising) to check in to see if they received your inquiry.
- Network with other work campers. They may connect you with your next dream job. A referral from a former work camper of that employer may move your resume ahead in the pile.
- Don’t do all the talking in the interview. Allow the employer to (and make sure that they) lay out all of the details of the opportunity. You need to get to know them as much as they need to get to know you, so you both can make the best choice in moving forward or not.