Well, this hasn’t exactly been my most thrilling week as a full-time RVer. There’s been an awful lot of job searching going on, and not a whole lot else. So when it came time to write today’s blog post, I figured what better topic than finding temporary jobs for RVers, since hey, it’s been on my mind and I’ve been learning a few things about it.
This isn’t going to be about typical RVer camp hosting type jobs, as those are almost exclusively part-time, and if you’re not getting a retirement check, earning additional income in some other way, or sitting on a big pile of money, that alone won’t cut it. It also isn’t going to be about the somewhat more lucrative seasonal summer opportunities available to RVers working at parks and tourist destinations, because those options aren’t available everywhere and are limited to a specific time of year. I’m talking about regular old temporary and contract employment here, which is a very viable option for RVers but talked about much less.
It’s really not that much different than job searching when you’re sticking to one spot. You still want to keep your resume updated and tailor the resume and cover letter for the specific job you’re applying too. For best results, spend as much time as you can spare for applying to jobs. I’ve been job searching almost exclusively while Julie has been working, which means I’ll have spent about 40 hours by the end of the week on it. I heard somewhere once that if you really want a job, treat the looking for one like a full-time job itself and results will come much sooner.
There are a few key differences though. For starters, since your house is on wheels, the whole of the country becomes a viable place to look for your next job. This is a good thing, but can become overwhelming when you’re suddenly faced with an almost infinite number of job possibilities and no clue where to start.
Pick a city, any city. Well, not any city. Pick one that you’re interested in, that you’ve always wanted to visit for some reason for another. Since you have the flexibility of options, might as well think about where you’d like to travel first. You’ll also want to do a preliminary check of RV parks in the area, to make sure that they exist, are available, and within a price range you can afford. Factor the cost of the site into how much you’ll need to make at your new job.
If you’re starting the job search before traveling to the area, you’ll want to start online. Heck, I’ve done the vast majority of my job searching online anyhow, even now that I am in the area. Indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, and snagajob.com have been my three go to places, in that order. I also checked state and national government websites though too, I’ve signed up for a few different seasonal jobs through the Forest Service for this summer for instance, which is another thing to consider.
Maybe you haven’t done the kind of work that lends itself to temporary employment before, but chances are jobs you’ve held in the past have given you skills that can be applied to other types of work, things you might not have considered previously. Working with laboratory animals in an outdoor setting for instance gave me the skills and experience needed to apply as a Biological Aid, working with various wildlife programs. It’s not something I would have though of, but I decided to check the https://www.usajobs.gov/ website and discovered that it was something I could do.
Don’t rule anything out when you’re getting started, and it doesn’t hurt to apply even if you don’t quite meet the qualifications. If you can create a convincing argument in your cover letter about why you’d be better than other applicants, or if no one else applies who has all the qualifications either, you could still end up on top. The more places you apply to, the better your chances overall.
One problem travelers have that regular folks don’t is the address thing. A lot of job sites these days will let you fill out an application, and then they’ll automatically send similar job opportunities like the ones you’ve already applied to directly to your mail box. How great, this saves some time having to ferret them out. Only problem is, they’ll send them for jobs in your area, meaning wherever your domicile address happens to be. For me this is South Dakota, and I’m certainly not looking for temporary work up there this time of year.
Likewise, every application you send out with your domicile address is going to make the employer wonder what you’re doing so far away from ‘home’, and if you’re just interested in relocating to the area, or what. This is why I always send a cover letter when I can, to explain the situation, and to ease the employer’s fears that I am indeed serious about the job and in the area, as well as to state why I’d be a good candidate.
On my last blog post, a reader asked a good question. What do you do when you can’t find a job for an extended period of time? Well, expand your search. Have a backup city or region that you’d like to work in, just don’t wait until you get so low on funds that you can’t afford the gas to get there. Bonus points if you search ahead of time for regions with RV parks that have lower monthly rates, because if it comes down to this it shouldn’t be about sight-seeing but about staying afloat.
Apply at temp agencies too, any city of significant size will have several. I applied at Kelly Services, an international temp agency with offices is many US cities. I figured this way I can keep using the same one and not have to fill out the application for new temp agencies every time I travel, I’ll give an update at some point to let you all know how it goes.
If this doesn’t turn up anything right away, don’t be afraid to take up part-time work, or a less than ideal job to at least be earning something while you continue searching for something better. Look at Craigslist for wanted ads from people who have odd jobs that they need done. Most cities also have an unemployment office that you can make use of. If you’re really looking for work, you won’t starve. Also as an RVer, a lot of expenses can be modified to fit your budget. Cook more meals inside the RV instead of going out, cut back on sight-seeing and touristy adventures, and take day trips closer to home to save on gas.
Also, have an emergency fund. I’ve talked about the RV emergency fund and it’s importance before. It’s money set aside in case of a medical mishap or if something major were to happen to your RV, but it also covers things like this. I personally have $5,000 in mine, as that is the deductible for my health insurance, but I could also live off of it for a good 3 months without any cutbacks in spending in the event that I just can’t find a job as a last resort, but the chances of it coming to that are almost nil.
And that’s the gist of it. Any more questions about temporary or contract employment for RVers? Fire away in the comments section!
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