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How To Find Work As A Welder


Students enrolled in a welding vocational program have already done some hard thinking about what kind of career theyd like to pursue, setting them well on their way to starting their careers. Now comes the tricky part how to actually find employment. For young welders who arent quite sure where to start, here are the steps to not only find a job in welding, but find a position in a company you will be satisfied with for long-term employment.

Train For Your Career

Before employers consider you as a serious candidate, they will need to see some commitment on your part. Even if a weld test is part of the hiring process, employers will want to know their workers have solid experience or training before starting on the job. As a welder, make sure your skills are upto-date and that you have any welding certification training you know will be required by prospective employers.

Identify The Industry Youd Like To Work In

Students enrolled in a welding vocational program have already done some hard thinking about what kind of career theyd like to pursue, setting them well on their way to starting their careers. Now comes the tricky part how to actually find employment. For young welders who arent quite sure where to start, here are the steps to not only find a job in welding, but find a position in a company you will be satisfied with for long-term employment.







These different industries may emphasize different skills in their workers, like how it is important for structural welders to have both MIG stick welding as well as flux core welding skills. As you develop your welding skills, find out where your other passions lie. Do you like working on small, delicate projects? Would you like to help manufacture major products, like ships or aircraft? Maybe youve always dreamed of working on hot rods. Pinpointing exactly what type of projects you would like to work on will help you meaningfully narrow down your search.

Identify Where Youd Like To Work

Location can be just as important to your happiness as what you are actually doing. Identify what types of areas you would like to live in. Do you like to live in little suburban areas or be right in the heart of major urban centers? Do you want to live within an hour of a beach, or do you prefer being surrounded by snow-capped mountains? Do you mind humidity? Are you looking for a place with good public transportation? After you define what types of environments are the right fit for you, narrow down places that fit that description. Ask your friends what places they think of that fit your parameters. You may have more options than you think.

Some jobs may be limited in some areas. For example, a shipbuilding welder may not have much luck in Wyoming. Fortunately, where there is some type of infrastructure, there is usually a need for welders in some capacity.

Generally, it is much easier to find employment in areas where you are already living. Moving can be complicated, so employers feel more secure in hiring decisions knowing that the chosen candidate is in a stable, local residence. Job seekers will also generally have a better feel for the industry through local news and contacts. The more contacts you have in your area, also the more likely they will be able to help you find employment.

Identify Companies Youd Like To Work For

After youve narrowed down the industry youd like to work for as well as the area youd like to live in, you will have a much easier time researching local businesses in your field. Use phone book business listings and newspaper classified as well as online listings. Small business employers in the skilled trades tend to rely on local, traditional methods of advertising and job postings. If you find a company youd like to work for, dont be scared away if you dont see a help wanted ad. Apply anyway.

Identify Who Has The Power To Hire You

When you have a shortlist of companies youd be thrilled to work for, identify the person who has the power to hire you. This step is critical, and dont cheat by looking up the HR director. As accurately as you can, find out what department youd be working in, and find who is the head of it. In small companies, this process is even easier. In those cases, you may even be speaking directly to the company manager. A little online research usually will get you your answer. For larger companies, you may be able to use company staff pages or social media profiles to help you. Hiring managers in HR departments are generally focused on screening people out. That means if you have all the skills to do the job, but have 1 year of experience instead of 2 like they posted in the ad, you may not even get an interview. And if HR hasnt specifically sent out an ad, you can just forget it. However, if you are able to speak directly with the person who has the power to hire you, your chances of securing an interview and being offered a job increase significantly (even without a job listing posted).

Use Your Contacts

One of the most valuable resources you will have during a job hunt will be your contacts. They can be especially helpful in identifying non-posted job opportunities and contacting the person who has the power to hire you. Only approach your contacts when youve done some thinking about what type of job youre in the market for. Saying I need a job, doesnt help much. Saying you are looking for a welding job may have better results, but if youre able to narrow down a location or specific industry for your contacts, theyll have some more concrete details to work with. Even if they cant offer information on jobs that meet 100% of your description, they will have a much firmer impression of the types of opportunities you are looking for. If youve identified a company you would like to work at and need help either finding out who would be able to hire you or getting in contact with that person, your contacts may be of further help there. Even if they dont know the exact person you are trying to contact, they may have their own contacts within that company. Its always better to approach the person who has the power to hire you through an introduction from a mutual contact or acquaintance.

Prepare Your Resume And Cover Letter

Your job application (cover letter + resume) has one purpose: to get you an interview. Both of these items should be tailored for every individual employer. For the cover letter, talk about your skills in the context of the employers needs, describing how your skills can contribute to the companys success. For the resume, list skills, experience, and certification using the same phrasing and language the job listing uses. This alerts hiring personnel that you have the exact skills they are looking for (they wont see it as unoriginal or copying). As a general rule, it is best to leave a resume behind you instead of sending it before you. In other words, after youve met with the person who can hire you, leave your resume with that person. Otherwise, walk into the company, speak with the manager on duty, and try to schedule an interview. By delivering your resume in person, the employer will already have a face to put to your application, even without having had the interview yet.

Secure An Interview
The interview is the main event in your job hunt. A solid interview can improve the standing of an average application. Alternatively, a poor interview can make employers back away from a strong application. Aside from preparing for the general employment questions (Describe a time you failed to meet your project goals. What did you do?), there isnt much you can do in advance. In general, though, there are a few guidelines to follow: Dress professionally, and arrive on time. If you know you are going to be late, call the office to let them know. Bring your welding gear to your interview in case they want you to perform a weld test after you speak with a manager. (You may not be told in advance.) Be honest, but positive. For example, if you say you left your former company because you couldnt stand your bosss constant criticism, your prospective employer may not take that too well. Instead, saying you wanted more independence in your job shows that you have a positive attitude about your work and maybe even demonstrates a quality they are looking for in their candidates. Be polite to everyone (everyone you meet around and inside the building). Talk about 50% of the time. Keep answers on topic and fairly concise (under 2 minutes). Dont interrupt, either, even if the interviewer does. Let your interviewer broach the topic of money. Whoever brings up salary first is at a disadvantage in negotiations. Either way, research what welders in your field (in your geographical area, if possible) earn. This will give you the average market pay rate and should help you set the range you are willing to work for. If you can find out what welders at the particular company make, even better. Never trash talk your former employers. Your prospective employer may worry that one day you will talk about them unfavorably, as well.

Most importantly, come prepared with questions about your prospective employer. Just as your hiring manager is trying to determine if you are a good fit for the company, you should be trying to determine if the company is a good fit for you. If you noticed any gaps in your research on the company, this is your chance to fill in the blanks. Ask about what specific work you will be doing, how your work fits into the greater scheme of the company, what the management structure or company hierarchy is like, etc. You should also ask concrete questions about the rest of the hiring process, when you can expect to hear back from your interviewer, and when you should follow up if you havent heard anything.

Having Trouble Finding Welding Jobs?

If you are still having trouble finding companies who employ welders, you may have some luck with staffing agencies. They arent just for secretaries! Both local and national staffing agencies need workers in the skilled trades, including welders. Manpower, Adecco, and PrideStaff, to name a few, all have welding positions to fill across the country, and local agencies may know of even more opportunities for their geographical areas.

The National Skill Panel (composed of welding industry leaders, representatives from the American Welding Society and the National Association of Manufacturers, community college leaders, and government representatives) projects that between 2009-2019 labor needs will call for 238,692 new and replacement welding professionals across the five existing Key Welding Standard Occupational Codes (SOC). The total demand for skilled welding professionals during that time is even greater when accounting for the number of other welding jobs not included in the five key SOC Code welding occupations. In fact, even though the overall number of welding professionals decreased from 2002-2009, there were still consistent demands for welders throughout the United States especially due to retirements.


Resources: Tulsa Welding School (TWS) has campuses in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida. Programs vary by campus. TWS Jacksonville offers training in Welding, Electro-Mechanical Technologies (HVAC/R) and Shipfitting and Steel Fabrication. Accredited School, ACCSC. TWS-Jacksonville is a branch campus of Tulsa Welding School, located at 2545 E. 11th St., Tulsa, OK 74104. Tulsa, OK campus is licensed by OBPVS and ASBPCE. Jacksonville, FL campus is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2331. Accredited in Indiana by the SWIC (AC-0290) and licensed by the Mississippi Commission on Proprietary School and College Registration, License No. C-668. GI Bill Eligible (check with local campus for specific eligibility). For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete our programs, and other important information, please visit our website at: