Think it's too early for a summer job? Think again. CoolWorks has listings for seasonal work at parks and resorts in some of the prettiest locations in the country, including the Northwest.

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We’re not experiencing the sharp bite of winter like our friends in the Northeast this week, but the current chilly drizzle is certainly no substitute for summer weather. However, summer should probably be on your minds right now if your planning on taking on seasonal work this May. If you’re a student, approaching retirement or just looking for a fun and temporary career changes, it’s time to check out CoolWorks, a seasonal job placement site that specializes in jobs at parks, ranches, resorts, camps or riverboats.

This is the perfect time to lock in a seasonal job, says Kari Quaas, a recruiter and “Pied Piper’ess” for CoolWorks. “February is when a lot of these employers first post their job listings, and the traffic really starts waking up,” she says.

A job at CoolWorks is unlike most summer jobs in that it places you amid some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, such as Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, the San Juan Island resorts and the North Cascades. CoolWorks, based on the edge of Yellowstone National Park, is also nationally focused, so for the more adventurous types who don’t mind summer travel, there are more than 50 national parks on the site, from Acadia to Zion.

Jobs are mostly in the service industry at these resorts, including cooks, waitstaff, maintenance, housekeeping, guest services and retail clerks. Depending on the sites chosen, there may be other opportunities for more outdoorsy positions, like camp counselors, tour guides or lifeguards.

Also worth noting, says Quaas, is that 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Parks system, so expect to see a lot more commemorative activities this summer. “If you have any knowledge or interest in the history of the parks, that can be a big advantage for you,” she adds.

The CoolWorks site has a robust search tool that allows you to search by state, by employer, by job title, by season and even by lifestyle. Currently, there are 23 listings — some of those with multiple positions open — in Washington state, and hundreds of others across the country.

The pay at these resorts varies greatly from location to location, and tends to be modest, although waitstaff work can add up through tips. But one of the nicest perks at CoolWorks is that, in most cases, lodging and meals are provided for the duration of the job — usually May through September. This is because many of the parks and resorts are in remote areas, so the work tends to be a 24/7 commitment.

All of this fosters a type a camaraderie among the community of employees. In fact, about 10 to 20 percent of people who spend a season at CoolWorks take on a permanent position, Quaas says. “That’s how I started,” says the former tour guide.

For more information about what it’s like to be a part of the CoolWorks community, check out the CoolWorks blog.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at