Hostel jobs are some of the most sought after traveler jobs because they are flexible, informal, offer a consistent place to sleep, and are most importantly fun. You will have the opportunity to meet people from around the world, and get the chance to learn more about a city or region by remaining for a longer period of time. Securing a good hostel job is not impossible it just takes a little determination, effort, and sometimes a grassroot approach.
Before I begin, I have compiled a list of the most desirable skills that I can come up with for finding a hostel job.
Good Skills to have before a job search
On a CV:
- Speaking Additional Languages – No you do not have to be fluent in 3-4 languages, but have a strong, preferably usable, second language and/or maybe be able to get by with some others. It is a good skill to have in this business because travelers come from everywhere. Communication is key.
- Relevant work experience – Relevent work experience is very helpful when you are trying to get a hostel job. Anything that can stand you apart from others by showing that you can handle general responsibilites and handle money.
- Well-Traveled – This skill is helpful, but not essential. It demonstrates to the hostel manager that you know how to deal effectively with other cultures with ease by making them feel welcome and comfortable.
Desirable Personality Traits:
- Good Work Ethic
In my experience these skills, both personality traits and more tangible job skills are extremely beneficial in attaining a job at a hostel. If you possess any combination of these skills then there is a good chance that you can find a hostel job with some ease. Now, I will offer my 4 Step approach to finding a hostel job.
4 Step approach to find a hostel job
Step 1: Make a CV. In order to get hired in the rest of the world, people use CV, or Curriculum Vitaes, to demonstrate their skills sets, work, and education experience. To Americans, a CV is similar to a résumé except the format and length are slightly different. Find a good template in Microsoft Word or on the internet, combine your skills list, and write it out. A well-written CV will help greatly with finding a job.
Step 2: Check websites that are known for listing both formal and informal jobs. Websites like Craigslist, Gumtree.com, loquo, or others. Most importantly check www.hosteljobs.net or www.hostelmanagement.com, both have tons of listings and openings. Although be advised that the competition is more fierce. HelpX is also a good site that usually has many opportunities, but generally they are all work-exchanges, which means no pay for your work.
Step 3: If you have no success with these sites, you are going to have to be a little innovative. My advice, take out a piece of paper. Then, go to either www.hostelworld.com or www.hostelbookers.com type in the city name(s) that you would like to work in. Next, write down all of the hostel names that look like places that you would be interested in working at. Once you have finished, type each name into an internet search engine, go to their personal website, and get their hostel email address. When you get a comprehensive list together, create an email template. Be sure to be formal, inclusive, and precise in what you are asking them for. Basically just ask if they are hiring or foresee any job openings.
Step 4: Wait. I know that is kind of lame, but sometimes it takes a little time for hostels to get back to you. Some deals offered may be better than others, so if you have multiple options compare. Treat it as you would with a normal job.
I would hope that if you are determined and dedicated, you will easily find at least a work exchange position to aid in your travels.
Additional Thoughts on Job Searching
My strongest three tips for anyone looking for a hostel job are:
- Start Early
- Be Flexible
Do not expect to show up at a busy beach town in the middle of the summer and find something. It could happen, but is not likely. If you want to head to Europe for example, then the best times are in April and May. Most good jobs are taken up by June and July. A good rule of thumb is to go to the place you want in middle to late spring locally. Also, be sure to be open to the idea of working in a different town or area if you cannot find something exactly where you want. Lastly, stick with it. It is a bit difficult and time consuming, but the experience will pay off.
Two additional considerations for the event if you have trouble finding a hostel job are:
- Take a volunteer, or work-exchange, position first, and then keep looking for a better opportunity. At least this way your budget will not get eaten alive by constantly paying for accommodation elsewhere.
- The more local the hostel, the better. Chain hostels, like big businesses, often have a chain of command, interview and hiring process, that prohibit them from hiring people on the spot. You will need to jump through a few hoops to work with a chain hostel. Your best bet is to stick with smaller, or at least more unique hostels.
On a side note as I conclude, be aware that by seeking employment abroad you are going to be subject to local laws. Although many people find employment in the grey area of work-exchange and volunteer positions, many positions, even volunteers may at times need proper documents. Do your homework and you should be fine.
Hopefully, you found this article interesting and useful. Please feel free to read my other articles if you like.