Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Park Ranger Job Advice

I recently received the below questions from a reader: 

 I am desperately seeking employment with the NPS.  I hold a bachelor's degree in history and wish to become an interpretation ranger.  I am also eligible for a 5-point veterans preference in the hiring process.  I have applied to as many jobs as I can through USA jobs.  Some of them I get rated eligible on, but never hear anything in return.  My professor advised me to start volunteering to make my resume more attractive.  I have been volunteering at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park for the last several months.  Do you have any advice or inside information on how to get hired quicker by the NPS?  

Thank you, 

It sounds like you are on your way to checking all the boxes to start your career.

Your professor has given you sound advise to get some volunteer experience.  It will greatly enhance your resume, show your dedicated intent, and aid in making contacts and getting yourself know to Park Service employees.

If it is permanent jobs you are applying for, it is very difficult to start there.  You are most likely competing with people with similar qualifications with the addition of seasonal or temporary employment experience on their record.  So keep those applications going, but consider seasonal employment opportunities to get a foot in the door.

Also look at locations that may not be on the top of your list.  Parks such as Independence in Philadelphia, The Statue of Liberty in New York,  The National Capital Parks in DC, and Jefferson Expansion (more commonly referred to as "The Arch") in St. Louis all have larger staffs and constant turn over.  These locations do more frequent hiring.  Many of the park rangers I worked with during my career started in these urban areas since that was where jobs were available.  Once your foot is in the door and you gain experience you can transfer to other areas that may be more appealing to your expectations. 

The key to the whole process is getting started with your first job.

Best of luck in the pursuit of your career aspirations.  

Bruce W. Bytnar

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