The best job search strategy for procuring fishing jobs in Alaska is understanding the fishing industry itself. It is infinitely more helpful to understand the types of jobs available, how the seasons run, where fish are being processed and harvested and what you can expect from the fishing industry before beginning your search. If you have read the above sections you are already more prepared for a job in the fishing industry than the many people who go in search for work in Alaska every summer.
The best way to start your job search is in this understanding. You already know that as a greenhorn you best chances for procuring a job are as a processor for the summer. This is the best way to work your way up the Alaska seafood industry food chain and earn some good money while doing so. You will be enjoying a summer or time well spent in Alaska, meeting like minded people and be securing future job opportunities if you choose to return for another season in Alaska. Understanding where your best job opportunities lie is the best way to find the right job for you. For most greenhorns and first timers, this is as a processor.
Looking For Work When You Get There
Some people go to Alaska without already procuring a job. This is fine if you know where you are headed, have the money to risk the venture and understand the realities of your job search. If you are looking to work as a deckhand in the crab fishery your first time out, you may find yourself wandering the docks rather than earning money working on a crab boat. If you are heading into a region where processors are in great need, halibut processing and salmon processing regions are your best bet. Also, arrive with plenty of time to find work. While arriving in the middle of the season or after it has already begun won’t entirely count you out, it will be significantly harder to find work. If heading to Alaska without a job, do so with a plan.
When you arrive (with plenty of money and time) inquire and apply at the local employment service. Also, hit the docks. Go into town and ask around. Let people know you are looking for work. This will be far more effective than sitting around waiting for call backs on your application and is surprisingly very effective. Your walk around town might turn into an interview and possibly a job before you know it. This is especially true in areas where processors are in need. Be careful in your search though. Jobs open and close at the drop of a hat. Return often and hang around. You don’t want to miss an opportunity. If you are persistent and dedicated, an Alaska fishing job will come your way.
Naturally, if you can, prearranging work in Alaska is the best way to go. Researching companies early, mailing and emailing them asking for applications and information is incredibly effective. Compile a complete and thorough resume. Regardless if you have experience or not this is a necessity for any job search. Highlight your education or success in any previous jobs. Awards or scholarships might also show employers you will be a reliable worker. Include all positive and potential work skills. Make contact with these companies early. Have an idea of where and who you would like to work for. Call them directly for information or to request an application. In no time you will be on your way to a job in the Alaskan fishing industry. Remember, it does take some time for the process to occur so don’t be discouraged if a considerable amount of time passes. On the other hand be prepared for rejection as well. It isn’t likely you will procure a job on your first try. The best thing you can do is to research, apply and keep searching for a job until you have one. Doing so months before a season begins is always a good decision. You want to leave your self plenty of time to find a job.
It is often possible to research and apply for processing jobs (both onshore and offshore) online via the internet (see list of resources below). However, getting a job as a deckhand online can be much more difficult. Since most skippers and boat owners are usually just looking for a few crew members at a time, they do not have human resource departments like the bigger companies. So, their jobs don’t get posted on various job boards on the internet. So it is very difficult to find these jobs. An exception is through a few pay sites, like AlaskaJobFinder. Websites like AlaskaJobFinder have direct contacts with these boats and many of the boats do their recruiting through these sites to fill their deckhand crew positions each year.
Having a pre-arranged job is incredibly advantageous. It allows you to solidify travel plans and in many cases means your trip will already be paid for. You may be lucky enough to become hired through a company that will pay for your travel and lodging while you work for them.
Helpful Job Search Tips
Registering with the Alaska Employment Service website and clicking on the Seafood Industry link is always a great decision if you’ve headed to Alaska but do not yet have a job. Many people find work this way and it is additionally a great place to enter into a community of people who have your same goals.
If you are a semester student and school ends in May, your best bet is to look for work in Areas 2, 3, 4 and 5. In these respective regions salmon fisheries begin in June and run through August. You can ideally work an entire season making yourself a candidate for bonuses and increasing your chances for pay raises, return work and travel reimbursement.
If you are a quarterly student, school will be out by the first few weeks of June and won’t begin again until September. You can usually work any region with this schedule. In fact some people will travel the regions with the migrating fish and work what is essentially two fishery seasons.
Alaska Fishing Industry Employment Resources
- Alaska Department of Labor – Alaska Job Center Network
- Alaska Department of Fish & Game
- Icicle Seafoods, Inc.
- Trident Seafoods