Tips for Finding a Dude Ranch Job

Are you ready to start you dude ranch job search in earnest? There are some things you can do to make sure your resume is a winner and that you stand out during the ranch staff recruiting period.

If you want to stand out, you should:

  • Honestly determine if you fit (square pegs should not work in round holes)
  • Know the rules
  • Know Your target
  • Let the ranch know that you have studied them
  • Follow Ranch practices
  • Make it easy for the ranch to check your references
  • The application starts on the top of the pile is the one that is “Neat and Complete”

Do You Fit into the Dude Ranch Industry?

After reading these pages you should have a sense of whether or not this culture and lifestyle fits you. If it does, then also read the outdoor jobs and summer camp jobs sections of JobMonkey. Be honest when assessing yourself:

  • If you cringe at the thought of sharing a bunkhouse bedroom with 5 other people, you will not be a cheerful person
  • If you can’t tear yourself away from your Instant Messaging for a full hour – you won’t be happy to be in a place that has no cell service.
  • If you have purple hair, facial piercings or neck tattoos then you will not fit. If you refuse to wear anything but droopy drawers with your underpants showing, then you will not fit.
  • If you love horses, and interact well with them, but you just don’t like people all that much this lifestyle will make you very cranky.
  • If you cannot adapt your language to delete “you guys,” “like” and “no problem” and “un-huh” and include “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” and “My pleasure,” then you will not fit into an old western culture.
  • If you need a lot of free time, or time alone, you will not fit.
  • If you have any rigidity in the way you see work, the demands for flexibility will drive you crazy. If you define tasks as “my job” and “not my job” you will very likely be voted off the ranch by the other staff.
  • If you have allergies to animals or flowers, don’t even consider working on a ranch!
  • If you need alcohol to have fun, you will not fit.
  • If you smoke, don’t bother to apply. You will not be allowed to smoke and will have nowhere private to “sneak one.”

“Fit” is the most critical issue in dude ranch employment. A surprising number of people take summer jobs on dude ranches and find that they are not happy, because the ranch is not what they expected. Unhappy people, if they are lucky, are quickly voted off the ranch by the rest of the staff. There are three other sections of this article that talk about “goodness of fit.” You would be wise to study them.

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