St Anton am Arlberg, Austria
So, you are thinking of working a ski season?
Hopefully you don't think that you are going to rock up when the snow starts falling, find a job, spend a few hours working each day for really good money, and then spend the rest of your time skiing or relaxing in your really nice pad when you are not out having drinks bought for you. There is not one part of that statement which is a reality.
However, getting a job is possible, even without speaking German (but German definitely gives you a strong advantage).
1. The sooner you get there the better
To be honest, most of the good jobs are already gone, and the competition is fierce for those that remain. You will be lucky to get anything, but the longer you leave it, the less likely it is.
2. Have a good resume
You may not get asked for it, but as you trudge around asking about work it would be very useful to have handy. And a professional one. A photo on it of you in a bra lying on the bar having Jägermeister slurped off your belly is not a "qualification." And yes, in Austria and Switzerland people have a photo on their resume.
3. Dress the part
Flannel shirts, beanies and boobies hanging out are not going to get you anywhere (both sexes). Actually, that is false, it will probably get you laid. A lot. But it won't get you a job. Actually, that is not 100% true either. BUT, just to be on the safe side, dress like you are meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend's mother, as many of the lady bosses, or "Chefins", in Austria are of that vintage. And you probably will bang their child at some point, so in a roundabout way that is exactly who you are meeting.
4. Be prepared to work
In St Anton the hours are long, jobs very hard to come by, and when you do, they are very hard work. Chances are you will be working 8-10 hours a day, six days a week, for a salary of 900-1500 Euro a month, but your employer will pay your health insurance.
5. Always ask if there is a room included
Some places provide rooms for their staff, in which case you are lucky. But don't expect it to be a room by yourself. There are normally 2-3 people in a room, and often these rooms are not in the village. In the case of St Anton it is likely to be in the nearby villages of St Jakob, Pettneu or Flirsch.
6. Talk to people
If you are there in November, there are not too many people around, meaning not too many bars open yet, so it is a good time to get to know the locals. In the case of St Anton am Arlberg, if you go to Tom Dooleys or Fang House, there should be people that will tell you what is around and who is looking for staff. Same goes for rooms. If you do find a room before a job, take it. It is easier to find a job if you already have accommodation.
7. Don't be an ass
Cannot be stressed enough for all of the above. And life. At all times keep your manners in check. You can't afford to be an ass when you are new to town. Few people will tolerate it or want to help you.
8. Take sufficient money with you
Don't think that you are going to get there and money will start snowing down. You will need to shell out for a ski pass (in St Anton you will get some of that money back at the end of the season when you have worked a certain number of hours) and possibly accommodation. Even if you do get a job straight away, you will not get paid until the end of the month.
Doing a ski season is an awesome experience, and if you can, do it. It is something you will never forget.