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How To Get A Welding Job

Updated on July 16, 2014

6% Job Growth Rate!

You are correct in assuming that welding can be a lucrative career and a decent way to spend the workday, especially if you love working with hands and don’t mind a little “light show”. However, the welding field is very competitive.

Welding jobs and related fields are predicted to grow at a 6% rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but will increase slower than average, reaching about 50,000 more workers by 2020. Technological advancements will play a major part in determining your future, as well as the changing demands due to competition from foreign countries.

Education and Experience Are Pivotal!

Job opportunities are scarce for unskilled workers. Most jobs will go to skilled and certified workers. Some welders may actually have several certifications from various different governing bodies in the area. Competing against other welders without the background may be an uphill battle.

Rather than nothing, plan to apply for a Welder's Apprentice so you can at least solidify your resume with on-the-job training. The good news is that many welding companies offer apprentice programs to beginning welders. A few weeks of on-the-job-training will be enough to learn the basic skills you need. However, on a resume, a minimum of one year demonstrates skills, while a high school education indicates responsibility.

The next step is to expand your education and this will primarily involve learning technique and new technology in welding. Most companies will not hire you even as an apprentice if you have not already taken a starter course in welding technology. Look up opportunities at your local community college, or perhaps a school exclusively for welding. As stated, technology is changing the face of the business, and computer welding technology is not just the future, but the present.

If you are still in school, you are by no means limited. High school classes will sometimes offer shop classes, math classes and science studies that will provide a well-rounded introduction to the chemical properties of welding science. A shop teacher may also be able to advise you of local or regional technical schools where they teach welding. You can also check out books from the library that cover computer technology in welding so at least you will have a peripheral understanding of how it works.

Technical schools sometimes offer financial aid, as do your future employers who want to lure you over after graduation. So looking into this option is more than just opportunity—it’s downright advantageous!

Certification

Once you finish your welding course, and perhaps even before you graduate, the next step will be to work alongside a certified welder for the experience, fulfill the minimum time requirements and then take a certification test.

Depending on where you are located, there may be several types of certifications you can seek out; for example, structural, bridges, cranes equipment, power piping, dams, aerospace and many more. Practically every state requires certification.

It also helps to join organizations, particularly national-scale organizations such as Certified Welding Technologies Bureau and the American Welding Society. Not only can you take advantage of the association, but this accolade could also very well give you a competitive edge.

Pipe welding jobs pay better than structural welding jobs, because they require more finesse and do have more difficult certification testing. Lastly, if possible, try out for a union job, as you will always have better negotiated contracts with union jobs than private jobs.

Creating The Resume

Creating the welding resume is the most important step, since this is ultimately going to showcase your experience and schooling. Organize the resume according to this criteria:

  • Write down all the company names you’ve worked for, with accurate starting and end dates.
  • List the name of your supervisor and his/her contact information so that the company can check your references. (Warn your references that they should be expecting a call!)
  • Be sure to create a section mentioning specific experience and knowledge that you have, and not merely work history. List the welding equipment you know how to use so that employers can easily match you with their upcoming projects.
  • List your educational achievements, training certifications, accreditations and awards.
  • List at least three colleagues who will provide a favorable review for your ethics and skills.
  • Insert keywords inside the resumes just in case employers are doing a computer search.

Sample Welding Resume

Will Durr
456 25th St. New York, New York 12345
Will.Durr@email.com

Objective:

Seeking a welder career within an industrial production company that can put to use the skills I have attained through schooling and experience in order to build a solid team.

Work Experience:

Apprentice Welder: June 2011 - Present, Burnett Co. – 123 Main St. New York, New York 12345

Supervisor: Tom Shuler (555-555-5555)

  • Perform mechanical repairs on heavy-duty trucks and perform welding tasks in well fields
  • Experience with weld shafts, cams, spindles, hubs, and well pumps
  • Repair welder and wire feeder as needed.

Apprentice Welder, February 2011 to May 2011, Seagal Welding – Toms River, NJ 12345

Supervisor: Nick Arnold (555-555-5555)

  • Maintain and repair welder and wire feeder as needed
  • Deal with managers, repairpersons and customers to ensure that projects were completed quickly, safely and on time
  • Experience with creating and updating logs of work done, performing welding work required during construction projects, performing aluminum welding and stainless steel

Education:

Diploma and Vocational Certificate in Welding (January 2006-May 2008)
Somerset County Vocational School, 4 Vogt Drive, Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807
(555) 555-5555

  • Learn to read blueprints, identify welding symbols
  • Learn national safety standards

High School Diploma (June 2005)

Grayslake Central High School, Grayslake, IL

Qualifications Summary:

  • Extensive knowledge in welding and metal fabrication.
  • Intermediate knowledge of common welding processes, uses of jigs, fixtures and other equipment
  • General inspection of weld joints

Accolades:

  • Recommended for employment by SkillsUSA
  • Winner of the Fourth Professional Welders Competition

References:

John Doe (555-555-5555)
Aaron Allan (555-555-5555)
Norma Klein (555-555-5555)

Sample Welding Job Cover Letter

Will Durr
456 25th St. New York, New York 12345
Will.Durr@email.com

May 16, 2012

Dear Mr. Snyder:

Greetings, Mr. Snyder! This letter is in answer to your Craigslist ad for the position of entry-level welder apprentice. I am very interested in working with your company as I feel this is a tremendous opportunity and one that I believe I am qualified for, given my experience and education. Your ad asked for training and experience and that is precisely what I can provide.

I currently work as an Apprentice Welder with Burnett Co. on Main Street, where I regularly perform mechanical repairs on large trucks and perform welding tasks under the supervision of Tom Shuler. I work with weld shafts, cams, spindles, hubs, and pumps and can also repair welder and wire feeder.

I previously worked with Seagal Welding in New Jersey as an Apprentice Welder before I moved to New York under Nick Arnold, who taught me not only welding craft in construction and steel, but also the business end of welding, including updating logs and dealing with managers and customers.

I graduated from Somerset County Vocational School in New Jersey, where I learned the basics of welding and reading blueprints and symbols. I earned a Diploma and Vocational Certificate in Welding, and was also honored to win the Fourth Professional Welders Competition, whose prize was an endorsement by SkillsUSA.

My resume is attached with this letter, which will give you more detailed information regarding my skills and experience. Thank you for your time in considering my proposal! I look forward to speaking with you soon. Please contact me any time at (555) 555-5555.

Sincerely,

Will Durr
(Signature)

Guerrilla Job Prospecting!

Using Web Technology For Your Pre-Interview:

Now that you have completed your resume and cover letter, it’s time to just sit back and relax, right? Wrong! Before you even submit your application, it’s time to think aggressively and put yourself out there in a way that other applicants are not doing. One of the best ways to grab the attention of an employer is to create a web video presentation “branding” your talents. You are putting your resume and cover letter into visual and audio format. You will not only stand out from the competition, but will also be demonstrating your skills to your prospective employer in a very memorable way.

Start by using (renting or borrowing) a camera and then creating one or two videos of yourself in “welding action.” Since our test applicant Will Durr works as an apprentice, he has full use of the garage and can actually record himself welding. He shoots footage of the “before” scene, records himself welding (preferably at a front or side angle where the employer can observe the technique), and then shows the finished product.

Instead of merely creating a typical interview piece, show yourself welding a difficult project, like a razor blade, aluminum, or if you really want to show off, cast iron. You can shoot the second video and show another type of job, preferably one that will address the job description. Assuming our applicant Will saw a Craigslist ad that advertised piping projects, Will would eagerly create a video showing how to weld pipe, and specifically, how to pass a 6G open root—which is part of the welding certification test.

Now remember these points when creating a video:

  • Demonstrate various techniques on camera, specifically assignments the ad requests
  • Keep the videos short and to the point. No long winded speeches. A brief introduction and straight to the welding assignment.

It’s like having an audition right in front of your prospective new boss! Once you shoot the video, you can easily upload the footage from the camera or from your computer/mobile device to YouTube, which allows free video storage and public access.

A Website For Job Prospecting?

For self-marketing purposes, you might find it advantageous to set up a website with a short and catchy URL (with your name) so that you can direct prospects to your website, where your YouTube video will be embedded.

The best places to get a good free, easy to use website builder for what you want to do is Yola.com. You can also try GoDaddy.com and Weebly as they offer low-cost web hosting as well but they are harder to use. And there are also a few free providers out there.

If you decide to create an entire website for future prospects, then go all out and create a homepage, About Me page, resume page and a social networking link, so employers can see you interact with others online.

A few people might go through the trouble of uploading a YouTube video. However, fewer applicants will actually go the self-marketing route and “advertise” themselves via interactive website. This is not a waste of time since you can use this promotional tool until you find the welding job you want.

Guerrilla marketing refers to achieving business success using unconventional methods, and effort/energy as opposed to capital. Since you are most likely looking for a high paying job and can’t afford capital, this is an ideal scenario. Use your smarts and your web savvy to elevate your application (including the online “attachment” which you can feature prominently in your resume and cover letter) and stand out from the competition.

Referring employers to your videos can be as simple as adding this sentence to the cover letter:

“Please see my welding technique in action at the following address: www.WillDurr.com/mig-welding.html !” (Do be sure to direct attention; don’t simply include a link without describing what it is).

The one above is not great but better than most.

Not only are you showing your technique here, but you’re also demonstrating yourself an entrepreneurial, educated and market-savvy worker that can grow with the company.

Digging Up Employers

Now that you have a nice resume and cover letter you should find prospective employers on your own. Don’t just rely on the Internet resume job sites (which are listed at the end).

The method is simple. Find out all the companies you would like to work for inside or outside your area, and find out the name of the hiring manager or the decision maker.

This may take some time, but it can really pay off.

What you want to do is do a search online and at your local library (as the reference librarian for the latest reference guides on businesses).

When you do a search online simple type in phrases that include the word welding, fabrication, metalwork, etc. along with the name of your town, city, state (or outside of your state).

For example:

Welding Name Of City
Welding Name Of County
Welding Name Of Town

Fabrication Name Of City
Fabrication Name Of County
Fabrication Name of Town

Metalwork Name Of City
Fabrication Name Of County
Metalwork Name of Town

Do each search separately.

You'll be surprised at how many potential employers you'll find this way. By the way, nobody is job prospecting with this technique so give it a try, you might hit the mother-load.

8 Guerrilla Employer Contacting Tips!

  • After every search copy and paste the website, address, and phone number of each and every business that has the potential to hire someone with your skill level (do not discount a business easily because they know other welding and fabrication companies that they can refer you to).
  • Go to their website and get the name of the owner and/or the hiring manager for welders or fabricators.
  • Send each one of them an email, similar to your cover letter. Do not send a long email. Keep it short, and direct them to your video as described above.
  • Send each and every person your cover letter and resume in the mail.
  • Follow up via email if you do not get a response.
  • Send each and every person on your list a second letter in a Priority Mail envelop or DVD box along with a DVD copy of your video, along with a letter (if they have not responded yet).
  • Wait another 2 weeks after you have gone through all of these steps, and follow up one more time.
  • If you have followed all the steps in the course and done it in a very professional way as described, you should start getting some responses.

Note: Use high quality paper stock, and envelopes. Make sure your DVD is nice looking. You don’t want to send a blank looking DVD with a sharpie pen markup on it.

Interview Etiquette: How To Handle Yourself!

What happens after you land an interview? Remember these tips:

  • Stay calm and relax. Chances are you’ve already impressed the employer.
  • Maintain eye contact and keep a friendly smile.
  • Don’t “oversell” or try too hard to make an impression. Simply answer their questions in the most natural way possible.
  • Do not simply answer questions but ask questions as well. Don’t ask about welding craft since this is your learning expertise. Rather ask questions about this specific company’s market and what kind of projects they do.
  • Dress professionally, not in your “welding clothes”.
  • Remember the interviewer’s name and use it when you speak.
  • Speak clearly and concisely.
  • Brush up on welding knowledge beforehand. Chances are, they will ask you to explain a hypothetical problem, or perhaps ask you about a past problem in which you took a specific action for a desired result.
  • Bring your tools and leave them in the car. It’s crass to have borrow tools on an interview. You never know if you’re going to be asked to show your stuff.

Leaving A Lasting Impression!

Don’t give your prospective employer a chance to forget you. Show your interest after the interview ends. Some applicants are bold enough to go back to the company a few days later and ask if a decision has been made yet.

You can do that, or play it safe by sending a “thank you” card for the interview. Make sure you personally write it so as to show sincerity. Even if you don’t get the job be sure to thank the employer (and continue to speak highly of them on your website). Your positive attitude could leave an impression and you may be called back later.

Questions They Might Ask:

Be sure to anticipate the interview, regardless of the setting. They may want an impromptu interview in person, on the phone, or even on an informal “pop in” visit. Beware of these on-the-spot questions.

  • Why do you want to become a welder?
  • When did you first take an interest in handling parts and tools? At home or in school?
  • What has been your most difficult welding job so far?
  • What would you do if there was a problem between you and another worker?
  • How do I know you’re a team player?
  • What are your long-term goals with this company? With your career?

Above all, your interviewer expects you to be mature, intelligent and to be honest about your motivations. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. Remember this is a two-way conversation not a test or an interrogation. It’s as much a reflection on your personality as it is your technical skill.

Good luck on finding a welding job. But we’re sure that if you have the technical knowledge, and take are willing to try a unique approach for marketing your talent, you won’t need it!

Best Places To Submit Your Resume:

  • CareerBuilder.com
  • CollegeRecruiter.com
  • Monster.com
  • SimplyHired.com
  • LinkUp .com
  • usajobs.gov
  • Jobing.com
  • JobCentral.com
  • Job.com

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    • Tyler Powers profile image
      Author

      Tyler 3 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, a well trained welder has skills that go beyond just joining metal. They can create as well as repair and fabricate.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Many of these tips are excellent suggestions for other fields as well.

      Since moving to Brazil, we have employed the services of various welders and it has truly opened my eyes. We live in a rural area which has seen a rapid growth in businesses and development here.

      Some of the welders are working with equipment which I am sure came from the ark it is so old.

      Now we have a competent welder who listens to our needs and suggests improvements on our ideas. We have had him make metal bars for our windows and doors, the best rake in the world, improvements to our mower, a pull out bollard for our gate, and even had the who lower body of our van replaced with thicker steel. In our fish business he has also helped us with various items as well. In fact I wrote a hub about some of the items.

      I never realized how simple it was to have an item made in the hands of a skilled welder.