Winter is coming, it’s literally just around the corner and you can bet that these last few months of waiting will be gone before you know it. Now for most of us that’s awesome news because we can’t wait to feel that cold on our faces again. But the coming of winter isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, for some of us it means it’s time to go through the annual ritual of trying to pull the $$$ to buy a ski pass out of our ass somehow, which is where part of the basis for this article came from. Because if you ski every winter you probably know that one way to finagle a pass for yourself on the cheap or at no cost is by working for a ski resort. The other reason for this piece is simple, just about everyone on earth needs to work so why not work in an industry that you love. Aside from the benefits and perks you’ll also have the peace of mind in knowing that you actually care about what you do for a living. Last year I wrote a similar article about the different jobs there are in the ski industry, and after some good feedback it became obvious that knowing what jobs are out there is only a small portion of the battle. The real fight is “How do you get a job in the Ski Industry?” So I’ve set out to help answer this in the following paragraphs. I don’t consider myself cocky, but I am confident and I always have been, especially when it comes to finding work. So while I don’t expect anyone reading this to think I know everything, I do believe you’ll get some good pointers on how to land that job in the ski industry. Hell, any job for that matter.
First things first: You’re not getting any job without applying for it and any application these days usually requires you to submit a resume and often times a cover letter. Since this is usually your future employer’s first point of contact with you and getting to see who you are they’ve got to be good. Now I don’t mean they have to be the end all be all of resumes and cover letters but they do need to set you apart from the pack. Which, these days the pack isn’t getting any smaller. So what consists of a well put together resume? The most important thing is this – It has to be clean and organized. No employer wants to pick up a resume and have to go back to the days of magic eye posters in order to decipher the information. I’m talking consistent font type and size (with one or two exceptions, such as your name at the top), black and white, and organized so that the readers eyes can flow naturally scan through without getting lost. Absolutely NO COLOR, NO BACKGROUND IMAGE, NO BORDERS, AND NO FANCY PANTS PAPER. You think I’m joking but you’d be surprised at what some people try to do in order to get noticed. Instead their resume ends up being the joke of the hiring department, framed and hung up over the trash to be used as a backboard. Seen it happen. Simple is your friend. Your resume should have an objective sentence (a quick brief sentence explaining what your goal is in finding a job, “to gain experience in the blah blah field…etc.) and it should be located at the top directly below your name and personal contact info. Next should come your educational experience followed by past work experience and finally your personal hobbies and interests.
Having a clean and well laid out resume is definitely one way to set you apart from your competition, it shows you’re smart, organized and probably have your shit together. These are good things. But it’s not the only way to get noticed. The next thing to do in order to stand out is to tailor your info where possible to be relevant to the job you’re applying for. The easiest ways to do this are as follows: 1. Use specific wording in your objective sentence. Just a few key words can show whoever’s reading it that you’re serious about getting this job. 2. Highlight your past work experience that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. So if you’ve had a lot of past jobs and some are more relevant than others, use those. If none of your past positions are specifically relevant but perhaps some of the tasks that were involved are then be sure to bullet point these things to show that even though you might never have never held a position with “management” in the title, your past work has prepared you to do so. Finally, show it in your personal interests. Wanna work for a ski resort? It better say you LOVE TO SKI in your hobbies. You need to show that you’re not just a drone who can get the job done. You also have a life and a personality and are going to fit in just great with the other employees.
Next up: the cover letter. Now these aren’t always mandatory but I’d send one regardless. It shows that you’re serious about getting this job, that you really want it and aren’t just blanketing the nation with resumes because in order to keep getting your unemployment checks you have to apply for jobs. Cover letters don’t have to be Pulitzer Prize winning novels. A good one will basically be comprised of a couple paragraphs introducing yourself, telling the employer why you’re interested in the position, and why you’re the person they need to hire. In fact, usually if you’re applying for several similar jobs throughout the same industry, you can just create one cover letter to use as a template and then simply change out the employers names and whatever other small amount of info is necessary. Again though, you’re cover letter should convey some sort of passion for the job and industry you’re applying to. Go off on how much you love skiing, how it’s changed your life, and how you would rather die than never ski again. Well maybe don’t say that, but let them know what the job would mean to you if given the chance.
Splendid, now that you are armed with a resume and cover letter it’s time to go get a job. The first thing you need to do is make a list of what kind of jobs you want and places you want to work. Figure out exactly what types of positions you are looking for, what companies you’d like to work for, or even what areas of the country you’d like to live in and check to see if those jobs could be located there. Because how can you know where to look if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. There are all kinds of Ski Industry jobs, but if you’re looking for one that’s going to provide you with a pass then your best bet is with a ski resort. Once you know where the companies are you want to apply for start by going to their website and looking for their “employment” page. Most companies have them but not all so you’ll also want to start combing the classified sections of their local papers and watching for openings. Also get on Craigslist and search that cities “jobs” section. If the city where a specific resort or company is located doesn’t have a Craigslist page, go to the nearest cities (geographically) and look there. Outside of those three, get on MALAKYE.com and http://jobs.vailresorts.com (I realize this isn’t an all-encompassing industry job site, but they do have a lot of resorts), and also just search the term “ski industry jobs” on Google. There are a few others out there that are worth their salt. Once you’ve got your search places nailed down, check them every day. This isn’t an option, if you’re serious about getting a job then you have to know immediately when one comes open. Furthermore, even if there aren’t any jobs available with a certain company you’re interested in don’t be hesitant to send them your resume and cover letter anyway. This show’s your ambitious and they’ll be more likely to remember you when one does come open. Finally, one of the best places to look for a job is through those people you’re already connected with. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it happen in real life; jobs don’t go to those most qualified, they go to those who know people who know people. You’ve heard the phrase…”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, well it’s true. So exploit your connections and use them to get a job in the ski industry!
We’re making progress here. You’ve found some prospects and sent you’re newly refined resume and cover letter off to snag yourself that Ski Industry dream job, but unfortunately this isn’t a “apply and wait” situation. Your best bet is to try and contact each company you apply with every week until you have some sort of answer. Hell even call with the companies with who you sent in a resume who didn’t have a job open, but maybe cut it back to once a month so as not to be a pest. And remember (I’m about to sound like your Mom right here…), always be polite when you call. You don’t need to say much, just let them know who you are and that you’re calling to check and see if they’ve made any progress with their application process or something along those lines. Make sure to remember the names of the people that are leading up the hiring process and ask for them. This will help you get past annoying secretaries and front desk people who have been told not forward along calls. But definitely call, this shows you’re interested and motivated to get the job.
Ok…homestretch. You got yourself an interview, bomb, congrats. But while it probably feels like an accomplishment in itself (and it is, just a little one though) you still don’t have the job so listen up. First thing’s first, make sure you’re ready! This means pick out your clothes and make sure they’re clean, prepare some questions to ask your interviewer (yes you’ll be asking them questions), and make sure it’s all ready the night before. For the interview, make sure you bring some paper and something to write with. Taking notes during the interview shows you’re prepared, organized, and taking things seriously …they’ll like that. If you have access to one, throw your stuff in a nice casual briefcase/bag. Or just bring a nice notepad. Make sure you dress up for the interview, business casual, wear a button-up shirt and some nice pants. Show them that you’re putting in the effort. Now you already know you’re going to be asked a bunch of questions, after all it’s an interview. But this is just as much an interview about them as it is you. This is your chance to find out a little more about the company, the job, and anything else you might be wondering. And by flipping some questions their way you’re also telling them a lot about yourself. It shows you either know their company or have at least done your research. That you care about what the company and position you’re applying for are like and you’re not just trying to get any job, and also that you’re inquisitive about things. These are all great qualities to have in an employee. So what kind of questions should you ask, they don’t have be super complicated, questions like “What’s the vibe like in the environment you’ll be working?”, “What’s a typical day going to be like?”, or even ask your interviewer how they got to where they are today. If you don’t already know it, do some research on the company; this will help throughout the interview. Other than that just make sure to look them in the eyes and give em’ a good firm handshake. People like this sort of thing, shows them you’re not some sketchball. When you’re done make sure to establish when you’ll hear from them about their decision and if they aren’t sure when that will be, call them once every week or two just like when you were checking in before the interview.
There ya go, you got a job! Ha, I know it’s not that easy but trust me all this info will help. It’s rare that a job is always fun, but it surely doesn’t have to always suck. So do something you love, or at least have your work be related to something you care about. Not only will it do wonders for your work life, but I guarantee it will have a positive influence on the personal side too. Good Luck!