How to look for a job in Banff
Banff National Park, Alberta
By John McKiernan
Although Banff is not generally considered a place where people come to follow their careers, it has a lot else on offer for the prospective worker. The variety in jobs to work is practically endless. The best way to start looking for work is by heading to the Job Resource Centre or simply turning up and picking and choosing between the ‘Help Wanted’ signs. However, there are alternatives.
Depending on the season, competition can be fierce for the jobs in town. Get into the Job Resource Centre and ask for help “localizing” your resume. Banff is a bit different to what you may be used to. One page of your resume will usually suffice. It has to be concise and informative. Keep in mind that employers have to read through a mountain of resumes, they may not want to read about your pet parrot, even if it can sing the Canadian national anthem. Though we would never suggest lying on your resume about experience, the odd …exaggeration is almost expected up here!
Working on the ski hills is a popular option during winter in Banff
There are a lot of great bars in Banff. It is very easy to hand out a few resumes and sit contently in the bar waiting for that phone to ring (don’t forget to always have credit on your cell). What you should notice fast is that employment is a revolving door up here. The reasons vary. Often after the summer season, there is a huge exodus as French Canadian workers return east, students head back to the library / student bars and those that remain move up in the pecking order. When Sunshine Village opens in November, many people leave their jobs in town to start work on the hill. Employers wont mind if you return every week asking if there is any vacancies. If anything, they will be impressed by your persistence.
Lower Your Standards
As mentioned earlier, this is not the place to come to follow that lucrative career as a child Psychologist. Though there may be limited opportunities in your chosen field, it is more likely that if you want to be able to ski / snowboard around Banff in winter, you will have to try something new. Just like you would when drunk in a bar, you have to be ready to lower your standards. For example, it is difficult to jump straight into serving with those beautifully large tips on offer but there are other ways in. Dishwashing or dish pig as it is affectionately known in Banff is a good way to get your foot in the door. It is a small town and in the blink of an eye, you too could be looking back nostalgically on those days spent having fun in the restaurant kitchen.
Yes, some jobs pay absolutely awful but have a look to see what perks are on offer. Many employers provide accommodation and food either free or subsidized. Many employers such as Sunshine Village will provide you with your ski pass which saves a small fortune. If you work in a ski clothes store, you will get big discounts for your gear and possibly ski passes too. The difference between $9 an hour and $15 an hour may seem huge but ask about the perks and you may be surprised.
Which Job Suits Your Social Life?
Like most seasonal workers, it is likely you have moved to the Rockies with the main purpose of hitting the slopes as much as possible. Ask questions about what hours and shifts you may be working. There are few things more depressing than finding that your work schedule is so hectic that your ski’s or snowboard remain practically unused.
Where to Look For Work
Look at the local boards around town and check the local free papers which come out on Tuesday and Thursday. If you are currently reading from out of town, here are a few sites to get you a head start.