Well, you might be having a difficult time getting a job as a heavy equipment operator because you don’t have experience. I’ve been in that situation and I know there are a lot more like you.
Searching for a job is a daunting task that can take some time. Though some people are lucky enough of quickly finding a job but many is not as fortunate as they are.
Hiring managers and employers like to hire job candidates who have experience and skill in heavy equipment operation, for obvious reason.
If you are young with no or little experience or if you just recently switched career, competing against those individuals will put you aside.
Now, here are some of the ways that I’ve done in the early days of career to help you get started in getting a heavy equipment operator job with no experience.
Job Center Can Recommend you to an Entry-Level Heavy Equipment Operator Job
Some refer to it as job placement agency, a career center or recruitment office, regardless of the name, the center can provide you a variety of services and of course one of them is getting you hired.
The center maintains records or files of job candidates they submit to employers who are looking for qualified operators.
The center can also refer you to an employer who is searching for the right candidates than can be trained to become the asset of the company.
Training or Technical School Where You’ve Taken the Operator Course
Did you know the technical school where you’ve taken the heavy equipment training can refer you to their contacts that are looking for qualified individual like you? The training school maintains a registry of contractors and employers who once in a while, if not frequently, recruits workforce them. The school can recommend their graduates to their clients.
If you don’t have experience yet and you are planning to take a heavy equipment operator course, try to look for and enroll in a school that offers such employment support.
By Going to Career Fairs
There are a few types of career fairs – the ones held in campuses, facilitated by local job centers or sponsored by industry-specific professionals.
Always remember that attending or going to a job fair is just one of the ways you can do in finding a job. I had good experience attending an industry-specific job fair back when I was in my 30s. I was able to meet former colleagues who were then already a managers and supervisors of reputable companies. Not only was I able meet them, they were able to place me in a job I want (I don’t want to disclose what it was).
If you are going to job fair, don’t forget to research the registered or participating companies and bring a lot of resumes. Short list the companies that requires qualifications like yours and you don’t have to be contented to submit your application to just one or two job vacancies, forward your resumes to as many employers as you could. Wear appropriate attire when you attending a job fair, you might be lucky getting an interview, so it is better to be dressed for the occasion.
Don’t be discouraged when people say that going to a job fair is stressful and just a waste of time. In fact, job fair is good way to bolster the likelihood of getting a job as heavy equipment operator especially when it is an industry-specific. The fair is where the employers and hiring managers are all converge.
Through Colleagues and Friends Who are also Heavy Equipment Operators
You can also do networking. It is about connecting with friends or acquaintances who might know a company wanting to recruit beginner operator which can be trained to become skill asset.
An effective way to have your friends help you is to make easy for them to understand you. Just tell them you badly need a job and if they know an employer they can refer you to. When they’re able to help, don’t forget to reciprocate generosity to them.
Networking requires you to talk and reach out to friends, former co-employees, relatives or mere acquaintances, just asking them if they know a vacancy. This approach is one of the efficient ways to use your time and effort when you’re searching for a job as a heavy equipment operator.
How to Gain Job Experience as a Heavy Equipment Operator
Yes it is true that employers don’t want to take chance on someone who might not be able to perform the job well. They don’t want to take the risk of having their pricey pieces of heavy equipment operated by someone who is not capable. Even with formal training and certification, you still find yourself in a tough situation. They simply want operators who are already experienced.
Here are some of the ways you can do to gain that much needed experience to land a job:
Complete heavy equipment operator apprenticeship training
Aspiring individuals who want to be a heavy equipment operator can learn the trade through apprenticeship training. Being an apprentice must be the sure fire way of gaining practical experience and skill in heavy equipment operation.
Apprenticeship program are being offered by a technical school, community college or by a union. Industry association such as the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and trade union such as the International Union of Operator Engineers (IUOE) also offer such program.
If I were you, I would apply in IUOE as an apprentice. The program they offer highly recognized by the industry. In addition to the fact that their curriculum is always current to meet the demands and standard of today’s market.
IUOE has locals to almost every state, you could easily find one near you where you can apply and take the program there.
If you would like to apply for an apprenticeship program, there are some requirements that you need to have/be in order to get accepted. The very basic you need to be is at the minimum age of 18 years old and above, you need physically fit and you have to pass the DOT physical test, you need to have prior training in heavy equipment operation, you need to have high school diploma or GED certificate as its equivalent.
The apprenticeship program may take around 3 years to complete but it is an opportunity to make a living while you’re learning the trade.
Find an entry-level operator job or even a part time job
The idea of having an entry-level job is to start simple and learn from the bottom and work up from there. You can start doing a job operating as a skid loader or driving a mini truck trailer. You have to start somewhere, start simple and small. I know some colleagues started out running compactors, it may not be the right job to get a good pay, but it is an excellent way to get your foot on the door to get started.
Even if you are doing a part time heavy equipment operator job, you still have the opportunity to grow and gain experience, as the part time for this trade is available all year round. In the winter months, where most construction site and road workers get laid off, you can have the opportunity to have a job by plowing snows in the parking lots, streets and open parks. Sure, you could not receive big pay check doing part time job, but it is a good pay to gain some experience.
Sure, it may take some time, effort and even investment to gain experience, but all the resources you put into gaining experience can easily be recuperated considering how much pay you could get doing a job as a heavy equipment operator, in addition to the expectation that this job is stable – you could have flourishing and fruitful career in the next coming years or even decades as the demand for this trade is ever growing year after year.
To Make a Conclusion
You decided to become a heavy equipment operator because you have plans of having a dream job that gives good salary. But now you find yourself in difficult situation because no employer wants to hire you due to having little or no experience.
Being a heavy equipment operator with no experience is a frustrating situation. But with the ways I mentioned above about searching for a job and gaining experience, you could put yourself on track and in the journey.