FAQs- We answer your most frequently asked questions!

By adamrowden, 28 Nov '12 at 15:50

We have been asked many a question over the years, some we have only heard once, ‘Is it possible to make a pair of skis out of a snowboard?’ for example, and the utterly ludicrous; ‘Are the Alps in North or South America?’ However, some other questions we tend to hear on a regular basis.

These are the questions we see in our forums regularly and the ones that we get asked at events or via email. So we got together and thought that we should make an attempt to answer as many of these questions as we can. Below are our answers. However, if you don’t see your question below, then your first port of call should be our Forum. It is full of cracking advice and individuals who are vastly experienced and may be able to help you with whatever your issue is.

So, here are some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers...

I want to work a season, tell me how?

Ok, you are being a bit vague here, you would not believe how many people ask us this. So, I will try and break it down for you. If you are interested in doing a season, then you will firstly need to decide which sorts of jobs you are interested in. Here at Natives we have plenty of pages including tips and job descriptions. Why not have a browse of our Finding Work section or take a look at our Job Descriptions to see just which jobs are suitable for you?

Once you know whether you would like to work in a hotel or a chalet, and whether you would like to be a plongeur or a rep, or any other role imaginable, you will want to start thinking about applying. Now, the first thing you will want to do is tailor your current CV so it suits the role you are after. Why not check out this guide where we explain just how to write a great CV?

Now, you can apply to companies directly, however, if you use our Job Finder service then you will have more of a chance of getting the role you are after. You can sign up to Natives and then browse all of the jobs we have advertised, applying to whichever ones tickle your fancy. If you register with the Job Seekers’ Section then we will email you relevant job opportunities and we will also circulate your CV around giving you maximum exposure.

Another way that you can get in touch with possible employers is by attending the Natives Jobs Fair. We tend to have two of these a year and they are usually in London. At these events you can receive plenty of helpful jobs advice as well as speak directly with a number of employers. This will give you the chance to sell yourself, in person, to the companies you wish to work for.

Right, you have decided which job you would like, and you have rearranged your CV. If your CV is attractive enough to the employers then they will most probably call you in for an interview. We have a number of articles and advice pages to help you with the interview process. We have an article on how to improve your interview technique and another one with top tips for interviews, but remember, you can always go to the forum for some extra advice.

If you interview well then you will be in with a chance of getting the job you wanted and will have to start thinking of how to prepare for the coming season. Again, we have plenty of places where you can find out some useful information. Check out this guide to preparing for the coming season, for example.

I haven’t had any response from jobs that I have applied for, what should I do next?

If you have applied for a number of jobs, but haven’t heard anything back then this could be for a number of reasons. It is always worth getting in touch with the companies directly. If you have not heard anything back then you should try giving them a call, they may have filled up their spaces, but by talking to them directly, you can put yourself at the top of the pile just in case they need someone else. Also, these companies like people who are keen, and by actively getting in touch with them to follow up a job application, you are making yourself look confident and keen.

It is also good to remember that if you have missed out on a role within a company, that isn’t necessarily the final straw. Once the recruiters have filled all of their roles, they will take their new employees on a training course and they then tend to head out to resort before the season starts to continue with more training. Quite often, during these training periods people either decide that they don’t like the job, or they simply change their mind, and some people even get sacked. And this then means that the companies have to find someone to fill these newly vacated positions. Some companies can end up re-recruiting in early December, so it is always worth phoning them up. Better late than never.

If you have applied to a number of roles and they haven’t got back to you, once you phone them, they may simply explain that you weren't right for the role or that you don’t have enough experience for the position. Well, this doesn’t mean it is the end of your dream season. You may just have to postpone your dream for a year. And, in that year, you should work hard to ensure that your CV is more attractive next time around. You can gain some work experience in a similar role to the one you are looking at. Or, you could take a number of courses which are aimed at making you as employable as possible. The Natives Cookery Course, for example.

I have little experience and have not done a season before, what’s my best route in?

If you are not very experienced and have never worked a season before then you may wish to make yourself ‘more employable’ before you begin applying for jobs in ski resorts. Not all roles will require past experience, but you may have more chance of getting a job if your CV has some relevant past experience on it.

You could attempt to gain some work experience in a bar or a restaurant for example. Or, you could try and find work in a hotel or b&b back home before you apply to go on a ski season. Basically, the more relevant work experience you have, the more a company will want to employ you.

As well as work experience, you can also go on certain courses that will help you find that dream job. Here at Natives we run a cracking cookery course, that can help you learn all of the basics required to get a job in a chalet or restaurant in the Alps. You could also look into DIY courses or anything else that you feel will make you more valuable to a potential employer.

Not all roles within The Alps will require you to speak the native language, however, if you were looking for a job in Chamonix, for example, and you speak French, an employer will most certainly consider you over someone who is equally qualified, but lacks the language skills. If you are considering applying to work a ski season in 12 months time, then why not begin a French speaking course now? Then when it comes to application time, you will be speaking the basics well.

Once you have gained the relevant experience you should head over to Natives and sign up with our Job Seekers section. Then you can start browsing and applying for jobs and we can start circulating your CV to potential employers.

I don’t have a UK or EU visa, how do I get a job?

This all depends on where you are from and where you want to work. If you are from and live within the EU and you are aiming to work in a ski resort that is also within the EU, then you are not in need of a Visa. If you are from within the EU and are aiming to work outside the EU, in New Zealand or North America for example, then you will be in need of a certain, specific Visa. The same applies if you are from a nation that is not within the EU, but you would like to work in France, for example, or any other nation that is within the EU. I hope that makes sense and isn’t too complicated. Let’s break it down a bit.

If you are from a non-EU nation and are looking for a job in the Alps (or anywhere else within the EU for that matter), then you will need to gain a Working Holiday Visa. Citizens of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea aged 18–30 can apply for a 1 year French Working Holiday Visa. This will allow you to stay within France for 12 months and work in a ski resort. These Visas can usually be obtained quite easily at the local Embassy near you. You tend to need a copy of your passport and proof that you have enough money to support you whilst you look for work. Depending on where you are going, you may require different information, however, speaking to your desired nation’s Embassy in your country will help clear up any confusion.

If you are from the UK and wish to work outside of the EU, then you are in the same position.

To work in Canada you will require a Canadian Working Holiday Visa. These allow 18 to 30 year olds from selected nations to work within Canada for up to 12 months while travelling the country. If you are looking to work a ski season then you will need one of these. Once approved you will receive a ‘Letter of Introduction’ from the Canadian High Commission or Consulate in your country of origin. You then have 12 months to enter Canada, once you have received the letter.

As soon as you enter Canada, your Visa begins and you are able to work for one year in any job of your choice. You can also leave Canada during this period, however, your Visa will not be put on hold whilst you are out of the country.

I hope this has helped you with whatever your question regarding Visas was, but, if you have any other questions regarding Visas, then why not ask the knowledgeable seasonaires in our Forum? They will no doubt be able to help you solve whatever issues you may have.

Is it possible to just turn up to a resort and find a job?

It is not strictly impossible, but it is not the best way to go about finding work. If you have plenty of money saved up and somewhere to stay for the season, then you may survive without work, but if you head out there looking for a job, then you may just end up running out of money and having an awful time.

Your best route to finding work is through applying for jobs via Natives and getting a decent and up to date CV. If you just rock up in a resort then most companies will most probably turn you away, as they would rather employ someone using their official means.

However, that is not to say it is unheard of for people to get jobs within resorts after simply upping sticks and heading over. Though you may find it hard to get a job working for a large travel operator or hotel chain, you may find a job working for a small independant chalet or bar.

If you can save up and sort out your first month’s or first two months’ accommodation plus a decent amount of spending money then you may be able to find odd work here and there. Those that turn up early (November and early December) with a stack of CVs and do the rounds speaking to as many people as possible are likely to be able to find enough work to get them by. If you are travelling out to the resort without a job, then you must be prepared to do almost anything to get by. For more information, there is a cracking entry in our Forum that offers useful advice to those who choose to do a season in this way.

Right I have found a job, what should I take with me?

As well as there being many threads in our Forum on this topic, we also have a pretty extensive list of things to take along with other advice in our Guide to Prepare for the Coming Season.

However, if you don’t want the full and detailed breakdown, then I can write you a short concise list below (excluding all of your riding gear), but remember, you will want to travel light:

- Plenty of socks (you will lose a lot of socks over a season)
- If you are working in a chalet or a hotel then you will only want two pairs of shoes (one indoor and one outdoor)
- Paracetamol
- Condoms
- 4 gang 3 pin extension lead
- Hard drive filled with plenty of good music and films
- Head torch
- Cheap watch

For any other help that you may require you can find plenty of advice in our Jobs Advice and In Resort sections. And, as I mentioned previously, our Forum is also full of insightful and helpful individuals who have all the knowledge you could possibly need to help you find a job and prepare for the coming winter season.

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