Tips for teens, retirees to find outdoor WA jobs

Visitors to Mount Rainier National Park view a waterfall during the summer season. Working outdoors is one of the best ways to spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Visitors to Mount Rainier National Park view a waterfall during the summer season. Working outdoors is one of the best ways to spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Working outdoors is one of the best ways to spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest.


There are plenty of opportunities near the Tri-Cities and beyond, if you know where to look.

Jobs with federal and state government agencies and their contractors can be an awesome, even life-changing, experience.

You can study forest insect infestations, help count fish on the rivers, answer questions for visitors to the parks, lead hikes, teach build trails, fight fire, and work on a variety of field, maintenance and environmental restoration projects.

Many summer job opportunities are available with federal government agencies like the National Park Service, the Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

There also are intern and technician opportunities with state, city, and county agencies that manage parks and recreation, state forests, wildlife refuges, museums, and preserves.

While there are plenty of summer job opportunities, you need to apply before the deadlines close.

Most youth job opportunities are open for applications for only a short period of time in the early spring. As you search, pay close attention to the closing dates for the applications. You see an opportunity and you apply as fast as you can.

Jobs such as hospitality, tourism, events and lifeguarding, are all available for teens at the local level. Work opportunities in a wide spectrum of technical and scientific fields are available for college students at parks and other remote locations all over the country. Hiring is usually done throughout the summer.

3 main search strategies

Nearly all job searching and application is done online these days. No matter where you are, you’ll want to adopt one or more of these strategies:

  • Any job in your location. Basically, you find work near where you live.
  • A specific type of job at any location. In this scenario, you go where the work is and live there.
  • A specific type of job at the location where you want to live. Here, you get to do what you want to do, where you want to do it.

Adopt the strategy that makes the best sense for you and focus on it.

Use the KSTRA Method

KSTRA is a mnemonic device, where each letter stands for a single important step in the process that turns the knowledge you can find online into opportunity you can leverage to improve your life. KSTRA stands for: Keywords – Sources – Tools – Results – Actions

Keywords are the words you enter into the search engines to get the results you need. In particular, you use Job Words, which include Job Categories, Job titles; Location Words, which can be the state, city, or even a country. You can also use specific Employer Words, which are the names of the government agencies and companies or organizations.

Sources are the Search Engines. You can use the General Search Engines like Google and Bing. If you click on News Search Engines, like Google News and Bing News, you can find the latest news articles and reports about job opportunities. You can also use the Job Search Engines like USAJOBS, Indeed, Monster and others to identify more opportunities.

Tools at each search engine help you refine the data you get. You add in and specify the geographic location using the state or the city.

Results: Now you study the results to identify and find jobs opportunities that match your skills to the jobs you find.

Actions: Once you identify the right jobs, you create an online application that explains why and how you are specifically qualified. Then you submit the application.

This job search process requires that you first know where to look. Second, you must carefully read the job application to make sure you meet (or exceed) the outlined requirements. Then you apply.

You must complete the KSTRA Process for each and every job you find that interests you. Apply, apply and apply some more. Search Find, Match, Apply. Repeat.

Only apply to jobs you’re seriously interested in/qualified for. There’s no guarantee you will get the job or jobs you are aiming at. The more jobs you apply for the better your chances will be.

Where to Look – The National Parks, National Forests, US Fish and Wildlife Service, other federal agencies and a large number of state and local agencies all post their summer employment opportunities at this site. There are several ways to find a current list of job opportunities:

  • Enter the name of the job title or the scientific field, like “biology” or “forestry” but make sure you use the words “summer employment”.
  • Enter the name of the agency, like National Park, National Forest, USGS, or NASA.
  • Enter the name of the state or the exact name of the park or the city and the state.

Job Search Engines – There are dozens of job search engines online including Indeed, Guru, LinkUp, Monster, the Student Conservation Association, Science Careers, Simply Hired, Youth Conservation Corps, and many more.

You apply the same tactics at any of the job search engines. The keywords “summer jobs for students” and with the keywords “Washington State” yields over 340 job listings.

Generally, unless you are a volunteer, you must be a US citizen 18 years or older when you start work, in good physical condition and health. Each job opportunity will then have specific qualification requirements and you may have to take a physical exam and a drug test.

Seasonal work is a great way for high school and college students to get great experience and learn more about your college majors, minors and other interests. This process can also be used by retirees who want to live and work at parks for the summer.

No matter what jobs you apply for, you are going to face competition from people all over the nation, so applying for lots of jobs is the best way to maximize your chances.

Start hustling now. Get your applications in on time.

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Tips for teens, retirees to find outdoor WA jobs


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