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Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Good Evening Gentlemen.

To make a long story short, I've been working in either retail, service, or white collar jobs my entire life (I'm twenty two so to be honest it hasn't been long) and I'm looking to break into something that'll not only net me a bit more cash, but something that will give me a better sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. To this end, I have eventually decided to pursue a welding career.

In the meantime, I need to start saving up for that welding course, and ever since I spent a week doing some odd jobs at a construction site for $15 an hour, despite having never set foot on a construction site before, I've been applying for job after job in construction, landscaping, industrial, and warehouse work. But nothing's come of the many resumes and few interviews I've had. I can't help but wonder if it's because of my lack of experience, my sub-par interview skills, something else or all of the above. To that end, I figured I'd ask the RooshV forum to compile a thread of advice both for my benefit and the benefit of anyone else in my position.

So to summarize:

-How does someone who has no experience in a field break into said field?
-What are some solid tips and techniques that someone can use in a job interview, especially for a blue collar job?
-What should a good Resume include? What about a cover letter?

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

I think Scotian may be the guy to ask as far as blue collar jobs in Canada. Do we even have any posters here who work construction? For some reason, I don't remember there being any.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Check the Canadian Oil Sands thread, there's some info on welding there.

Man, you have to use the search function. It's your first post and you didn't even bother to look it up and instead made a new thread.

There's a couple of threads about blue collar gigs, just scroll down to the bottom of this thread and you'll see them.

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Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Since you're looking to save money for welding, my recommendation would be that you first get a forklift certification (not sure how much but not really expensive) to get a stable 14-15$/H job with regular full time work for you to pile up the savings.

In your situation I sure hope that you still live at home since it'll make things way easier for you my friend. After you Bank around 5000$, get registered on a General Welding Program (in bold for a reason) that will teach you the basics of STICK, MIG AND TIG. Get a general education in each before you decide to get certified in a specific one.

General rule is that if you want to work outside in construction then you need STICK all positions and inside you will need MIG Flat and Horizontal. I recommend that you save TIG for last since it's a tricky one. It's not that it's way harder, you'll just have to invest more $$$ to be an elite TIG Welder but don't worry about it for now. Getting both STICK and MIG is great, but getting only 1 to start will make you save major $$$ that you'll be busting your ass to get.

Also make sure that you know how to read welding blueprints. You can learn on you own to save some buck but I would recommend that you take a course only after you're done with learning the basics first. But before you even save for welding school, make sure to get a car my friend if you don't already have one. Most welding jobs in the city won't touch you without concrete experience and that's where I fucktop and main reason why I'm not a welder quite yet.

I'm in ultra competitive Toronto and the starter jobs are outside of the city but no car yet to get to them! Also I'm sure it might be the same pattern everywhere. Doesn't matter how long it takes, but get a car that will assure you that you make it on time every morning. If the Forklift thing doesn't appeal to you then you can always get into security work.

It only takes about 400$ to be a certified guard and you can start working right away but it's mostly at minimum wage, so that's why I recommended forklift since it pays a bit more. Also since you were worried about your interview skills, you can go to any Government affiliated Job Office and they'll give you coaching for free about the soft skills or an interview and even go over your resume with you and give you tips on how to improve it. And don't be shy about going over there since these services are funded with our Tax Dollars, so you already paid for it in a sense! Be patient and don't rush your plan. Let me know if you got some welding questions my friend!

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

There are a lot of threads about blue collar work. Quite recently there was a thread about a guy going along on a ride along with an electrician. There were some solid tips in it.

I can't find it right now, but a poster basically gave the following advice:

1. Listen, watch, and stay out of the way
2. Ask questions sparingly and when appropriate
3. Don't be cocky
4. Wear clothes and shoes that can handle the hard nature of the work.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

You need to contact your local sheet metal workers union. Go sign up, pay the fee and take a drug test. Youll have a job within a month AND they will pay yoi to go to school.

Youll start out as a helper/ pre-apprentice making around 12 an hour. Youll go to school 3-4 hours two times a week, after work which yo ur job will flex for You. You will pay union fees automitcally after you start working.

You may notbwork in the same place long, if business slows you may be laid off, collect unemployment amd be put om the books. Youll be hired as soon as your name gets to the top of the list. When you are rehired you will make the same pay youbwere making.

After each'semester' of school ( union school is different than trade school), you will take a test, if you pass the test you will becone a first year apprentice and you will get a pay raise. You will keepnworking until school starts again next year and you will continue working while you go to school. You will repeat the process and getting raises every year until you are making 25$ an hour and are a 5thyeat apprentice.

Thats 5 years of consecutive raises from 12$ to 25$ an hour. Assuminh you pass your tests...

You need to lookup smacna, or sheet metal workers union in your area. If you have much construction around then this is good, if not, you may be doing anlot of driving but thats ok.

Sheet metals workers are responsible for building and installing HVAC systems in commercial and residential buildings. The re is a TON of welding to do in here alome. There is also a decorative and architectural specialties division, with a lot of welding job too. Many companyes do it all in one shop.

In GA here, my shop has laid alnost everyone off except the welders and wr dont have enough lol. We are in between 3 HUGE jobs and are waiting for them to start as we finish two big jobs that have a lot o ductwork to be built and installed.
Its hard and heavy work but if you dont mind getting dirty anf sweating you can make BANK as therenis PLENTY of overtine when the big jobs start.

Shoot me a PM if toubhave any questions or are interestedbin knowing more. I work for onebof the two largedt sheet metal companies in GA that service the ENTIRE southeast u.s. we even do jobs waaaaybout ofbstate in NY, OK, MD and even without us there are still many companies to pick up the extra work because right noe the Southeadt is growing, big time.

In a nutshell, the union and company you work forbwill teachbyou everything you need to know about welding and pay you at the same time. You will be working and attending school at the same time. Though school is only a few monthsbout of the year its a career change for sure.

Evem if you went out and got a degree, no union company will hire youbwithiut making you start at year 1 so save the college money amd start at the union. You can always leave oncebyouve learned everything but i doubt you will because the smacna union takes good care of its people. If you go the college route you can alwas hit up a non union company for work but you wont make near as much as you would for the union amd the companies can be rather sketchy.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

You could go to your local Ironworkers, Pipefitter or boilermaker union hall and apply as an apprentice. You would do a 2 week course and start out as pre apprentice without paying out of pocket and make decent. They also pay for you to do your welding apprentice with them.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Save up enough money to move to Edmonton. Read the oil sands thread and get to work. Everything is slowing down but it'll be better than where ever you are now.

Worst case scenario you work at tim hortons for 13 an hour with guaranteed 40 hrs a week.

And like others have said before in the thread buy some sort of transportation. Preferably a truck. You're severely limiting your options with no transportation.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Find a local construction program that teaches apartment / rental property maintenance. There are many trade schools available depending where you live of course.

This is an entry level course that is usually a few weeks condensed showing basic carpentry , small electric and plumbing repairs. Upon graduation post resumes and talk to professors. If you do a solid job in class, the professor will recommend you to real estate management companies / contractors looking for maintenance work. This is how I sourced 3 of my best rehab guys. The best thing about this is if you are cool with the instructor you can always call him and ask for advise / guidance when addressing a job.

I called our local program and asked who graduated with the best grades and attitude. Send me the top 3 resumes. I got one of the guys each semester as the other two were scooped up quickly.

Once you get your foot in the door you can take extra night classes , electric , plumbing , hvac and slowly increase your knowledge

You can then Meet the experienced guys at the management companies and tag along for the real experience to match to your studies. Id even tag along as an after hours volunteer at first to gain as much experience as possible.

The seasoned guys will appreciate this if you don't get in their way and help them out. They will pass on tricks to the trade - a quid pro quo....

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Apologies for the continuation as I am a new poster and clicked post prematurely.

You should spend time researching basic carpentry details. As a newbie in construction you will be expected to demo , paint , some drywall touch up , install doors , cabinets , trim , and finish carpentry. Most likely In that order.
In addition , you will need to know now to change plugs , switches and small light fixtures plus basic plumbing such as installing a toilet, faucet , or supply lines.

Basic demo
- what items to watch out for when demoing
Ie saving old door frames, base trim or molding

Drywall types and techniques
- research using 1/2 inch drywall / regular and greenboard
- when to use 1/4 inch
- different setting MUDs: 45 , 20 , 5 minute
- sanding Techniques
- when to use different grits when sanding
Paint types and techniques
- water based vs oil
- primer types - when to use different types
- learning about exterior paint for wood / metal / cement.
- which rollers to use with which product
- brush technique

On and on ...

This may seem like overkill but if you spend a few hours reading each item you will be more comfortable with details before starting these classes and / or talking business in an interview.

Combine the YouTube tutorials with google research. Then hit the interview.
Not to sound cliche but knowledge plus confidence will get you in the door.
Working hard , learning with humility , positive attitude and proving yourself will keep you there with increasingly upwards earning potential.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

I will take a stab at this, since I was in your position at 21 as well.

What Jayrod mentioned about hitting up union halls is a good place to start to look for information on different trades and see whats out there and who's busy.

But before that, I would go to one of the government Job Shops and sit with a job coach and let them pick your brain. There are really only two types of trades people, clock punchers and craftsmen. By getting into the wrong trade, you run the risk of becoming a clock puncher, which is no different than the soul sucking office jobs you hear guys complaining about. So be a craftsmen. Job coaches will be able to help funnel your strengths, likes and ambitions into a trade that suits you best.

All trades involve tangible skills, and these skills can be put to use doing any number of things if you keep your head in the game and shoot for a career over just a job. The percentage of miserable tradesmen will be the same as compared to miserable office workers, where the only upside to the trades is the ability to have fun with other men in a mostly non PC environment.

Back to getting a job. You now have some direction about where you want to go, now you just need to go out and talk to people. I suggest shops as they are more open to showing a young man around. Make a google map of all the shops in your field, in your area and then get up at 6am and be at the first shop at 7am and make your rounds. Same thing the next day until your list is exhausted. Then call a few of the shops up where you had a good feeling and thank them, even ask if you could come in and ask them some more questions.

Look into Pre-Apprentice Training at your local Tech University as well. A lot of this type of training is heavily funded and you might get lucky and get a spot sooner and then you are in class for I think 5 months straight and at the end you write your Year 1 so you start out on the job as a year 2 but will just lack the hours. Almost all Pre-Apps are given jobs as many shops have good working relationships with the schools and snap up the best students as soon as they can.

I will leave the construction site stuff to better informed people, but from what I do know is that they are not allowed to hire from the site anyway. It has to go through HR so having a standard resume helps, as does persistent phone calls.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips


Make a google map of all the shops in your field, in your area and then get up at 6am and be at the first shop at 7am and make your rounds.

Wait, I can just show up and ask to be shown around out of nowhere?

Then what have I been doing on Craigslist and Monster this whole time? Hot damn.

Breaking into Blue Collar and Interview Tips

Posted by Merenguero - 09-13-2015 05:44 AM
I think Scotian may be the guy to ask as far as blue collar jobs in Canada. Do we even have any posters here who work construction? For some reason, I don't remember there being any.

Merenguero / anyone else:
I am a new poster here but have been getting a lot of good advice from you and others here for the last 2 years. I have decided to be more involved and give back knowledge. I am very qualified with all items below and if anyone has questions just let me know.

Real estate sales / rentals
- acquisitions
- cash flow analysis
Real Estate management
- collections
- section 8
Residential and commercial financing
- mortgage criteria
- all aspects of single family up to multi unit renovation.
Starting a business
- cash flow analysis
- start up costs

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