Alaska Job Search
Both you and your employer will be happiest if you’re a good fit for the company and job. Here are some questions to ask yourself (and potential employers) during your job search.
Your Summer Job Assessment
- What kind of summer job do you want? Alaska summer jobs range from typical tourism industry jobs in hospitality, guiding, and summer bus driving jobs to seasonal science jobs monitoring animal migration or performing soil surveys. Different jobs have different qualifications; some are more open to entry-level applicants than others.
- How flexible are you? Some jobs will have regular day-shift hours, while others may involve overtime, flexible schedules, and/or unusual shifts. Are you working during the evenings and weekends? Are you willing to work several days in a row with no time off?
- What other skills do you have? Some employers may want you to fill in for a variety of jobs. For example, some resorts prefer summer workers with basic carpentry skills. CPR and First Aid certification can also give you an edge. To be a van or bus driver you’ll need a commercial driver’s license.
- How far from civilization do you really want to live? Some job sites may be more than 100 miles from the nearest town. Some people love roughing it; others prefer the option of going to a movie on the weekend.
- How do you feel about living in a group environment? Employers in Alaska usually provide housing for summer employees, and this housing is often communal. You may even have a roommate.
- Are you OK with camping out? As a guide, you may be leading tours that last several days, which means you camp out. If you’re a person who prefers showers and flush toilets, this is not the kind of job you should be considering.
- How many hours will you be required to work and will you get any time off? For guides these are very legitimate questions. Although you can expect to work several days in a row, you should still be given some days off to recover before each new tour begins.
- Does the employer provide housing and/or meals? Some hotels/motels provide their employees with a room and meals while they are working. Make sure you know ahead of time if you’ll need to find a place to stay or whether lodging and/or meals are provided.
- Will I be required to perform duties outside the typical ones for the position? This is an essential question to ask. You can’t assume that as a waitress, all you’ll need to do is wait on tables. For example, one of our profile subjects is part of a bluegrass band hired to perform at a hotel. However, these band members are also expected to perform household duties and take care of the animals on the premises. It’s not all glamour for these performers.
- Am I entitled to any discounts? If the restaurant that employs you doesn’t provide meals, you may still be entitled to a 50 percent discount. Some hotels or tour facilities also offer their employees discounts for other services, or for their friends and family members. It’s always a good idea to ask about these additional benefits.
- Are my priorities a good match with the potential employer’s? For example, some companies are strongly committed to environmental ethics, and prefer employees who share the same goals. You’ll be happiest with an employer whose passions match yours.
Since every employer is different, look carefully at the websites of companies you’re interested in. Consider contacting them if you have further questions; you’ll save both you and the company time if you realize you’re not a fit for the job. On the next few pages you can read interviews with some different kinds of employers, but keep in mind that they’re not representative of all Alaska tourism companies – every company is unique.
It’s also a great idea to read our employee profiles and talk to others who have worked a summer job in Alaska. While the scenery is beautiful, the work is often hard. You need to make an informed decision before signing up to work in Alaska.