Pros and Cons of Automation in Manufacturing

Machine automation is a hot topic these days. The conversation is not without advocates both for and against making the transition toward automated machines, AI, and robotics and away from a real, human workforce. Without picking sides, we compiled some of the strongest pros and cons of automation in manufacturing. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section.

PROS

A SOLUTION TO THE LABOR SHORTAGE

Automation mitigates the effects of labor shortages. In the skilled trades, this pro is especially powerful because we are dealing with a deficit of skilled workers able to perform the roles required in our factories, plants, and sites.

ELIMINATE MINDLESS TASKS

There’s a worthy argument that automation merely eliminates the mindless, manual, clerical tasks that are routine and boring. Of course, this argument only serves as a ‘pro’ of automation if we are to both ‘eliminate’ these mindless tasks AND create MORE meaningful, challenging tasks that require critical thinking. The argument is that we are ultimately improving the general level of working conditions.

INCREASED WORKER SAFETY

If your transfer your workforce from active, hands-on positions, to supervisory roles, you’ve increased the overall safety. This is a pretty major selling point for automation, with large organizations like OSHA that have such a strong say in the skilled trades.

IMPROVED PRODUCT QUALITY, ACCURACY, REPEATABILITY, AND LESS HUMAN ERROR

Experts argue that when a machine is programmed to perform a repeated task, the accuracy and repeatability of the work is much greater than work of human hands. The potential for human error is greatly decreased.

HIGHER VOLUME OF PRODUCTION

Automated equipment is capable of producing much larger production volumes than a largely human workforce.

LESS EMPLOYEE COSTS

With a smaller human workforce, employers will be able to skirt numerous costs like payroll, benefits, health care, sick days, etc.

CONS

DISPLACEMENT OF MIDDLE-CLASS JOBS

Automation and AI have the capability to, in Stephen Hawking’s words, ‘decimate the middle-class jobs’ and displace the working class. The fear, as Business Insider puts it, is that the necessary trade-off of radical increases in efficiency in industry will be a loss of human jobs to machines.

LESS VERSATILITY

An employee can perform a flexible variety of tasks, whereas a machine is limited to what it’s been programmed to do.

MORE POLLUTION

Your standard automated machine will run on a motor, producing more pollution than a human worker.

BIG CAPITAL INVESTMENT

Utilizing automated machinery in a manufacturing plant requires a large, sunken operational cost. Making the transition can cost between thousands and millions of dollars, depending on the type of manufacturing plant. Vista-Industrial points out that if your plant is a small operation with low production quantities, this sunken cost may not pay off. But a larger facility with lots of employees on the shop floor will likely make a better case for automation.

UNPREDICTABLE OR UNKNOWN COSTS

Automation in manufacturing hasn’t become widely implemented until very recently. There is a world of unpredictable or unknown costs that come with new technology. Maintenance, repair, supervision, training, etc.

HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

The displacement of shop floor workers as a result of automation results in higher unemployment rates for your region or state. If you are a staple employer in your area, this higher unemployment rate could jeopardize your relationship with your local or state government. Specifically, if you lean on any kind of government support, programs, or assistance (workforce development programs, for instance).

download our free 5S checklist and cut costs in your plant!

Bringing automation into your plant requires a major capital investment. Start with something simpler, quicker and more accessible like our free 5S checklist that will help you identify costly wastes in your facility and save money. Download by clicking above.

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7 Organizations That Are Restoring the Manufacturing Workforce

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR METALWORKING SKILLS

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) was founded to develop and maintain a globally competitive workforce. NIMS sets standards for skills in the industry, certifies individuals, and accredits training program to produce a strong, skilled workforce. You can check out the NIMS network here to locate regionally accredited training programs and register your organization.

SOCIETY OF MANUFACTURING ENGINEERS

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) call themselves the ‘intersection of manufacturing technology and workforce development.’ They connect people passionate about manufacturing to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers. Their core focus is on introducing technology at the forefront of the field while providing tools and resources to help individuals advance in their field. Their resources include online training, courses, and certification. Their Workforce Development Program is particularly promising—serving to supply the manufacturing world with a strong generation of young workers 

FABRICATION AND MANUFACTURING ASSOCIATION

The Fabrication and Manufacturing Association (FMA) is a professional education association that serves the metal processing, forming, and fabricating industry. On their site, you can find a slew of educational resources, a well-populated job board, conferences, training, webinars, and more.  

VOCADEMY

Vocademy is known as the world’s first education-focused maker space. Their classes promise to make an expert of a beginner, providing everything from maker skills and shop class for all ages. They provide students a place where they can find their skill, passion, and path in life. Check out their site for information on classes near you. 

CALIFORNIA’S EMPLOYMENT TRAINING PANELS

California’s Employment Training Panels (ETP) provides ‘funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers’. Their training leads to well-paying, long-term jobs.  If you want to partner with government funds to build your current manufacturing workforce’s skills, ETP is an excellent program to model after.

WORKSHOPS FOR WARRIORS

Workshops for Warriors trains, certifies, and places veterans with great jobs. They are a state-licensed, board-governed, fully audited 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps place Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members into advanced manufacturing careers. 

NATIONAL TOOLING AND MANUFACTURING ASSOCIATION

National Tooling and Manufacturing Association (NTMA) focuses on preparing students for futures in manufacturing and STEM careers. They closely associate with the Maker Movement and host and provide a range of educational resources to bringing more opportunity to young students.

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How to Train Your Employees on Lean Principles

Lean principles just make sense. Whether you’re looking to adopt the 5S methodology, perform a bottleneck analysis, or measure your key performance indicators, training your employees on lean principles is the foundation of measurable progress in your facility—in terms of efficiency, productivity, and overall workplace morale. Get started here.

DEFINE THE MANAGEMENT TEAM

You need a strong, defined management team to implement lean principles throughout your entire organization. Gather your core team and talk through all the areas where you see room for improvement (i.e., waste).

  • List off impediments or hurdles to progress you may run into. Low employee morale? Shortage of resources? Lack of leadership experienced in lean principles?
  • Assign roles to share responsibility as you implement your strategy. This opening conversation will guide your strategy and clarify the wisest balance of responsibility across your management team in training your employees on lean principles.
  • Document and share your working strategy with your entire organization.

INTRODUCE THEM TO LEAN PRINCIPLES

What is lean? In Henry Ford’s words, “We will not put into our establishment anything that is useless.” Lean manufacturing is a method of running a manufacturing system, plant, or facility. Regardless of the application, the method is guided by an underlying principle: the elimination of all forms of waste that don’t add value to the business. To implement the methods for a leaner manufacturing plant, this principle must be understood by your entire workforce. Call this introduction the first step of training your employees for a lean manufacturing plant.

“We will not put into our establishment anything that is useless.”-Henry Ford

IDENTIFY ALL WASTES

Before you brainstorm solutions you need to identify the problem. When talking lean manufacturing and training your employees, this means identifying all forms of waste in your facility. Sit down with your team and talk through all these forms of wastes you want to eliminate in your plant. This likely includes:

  • Overproduction
  • Transportation
  • Non-value adding processes
  • Inventory waste
  • Motion waste
  • Waste of defective products
  • Waste of unsafe conditions
  • Human energy waste
  • Searching waste
  • Waste of unsafe conditions

REFRESH ON STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES

Standard operating procedures matter because they ensure consistent, repeatable results within your organization. If you want to implement lean principles in your plant through sustained progress, a documented strategy is key—i.e. standard operating procedures. Without documenting every facet of your strategy, execution will fall short.  Training or re-training your team on your facility’s pre-existing SOP’s is a prerequisite to implementing these lean principles, so everyone is aware of the current state, the gap, and how you’re going to close it. SOP’s may include:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Cleaning and operation of major machinery
  • In-process checking
  • Material processing
  • Quality control
  • Product assembly

In order to implement lean principles throughout your organization, your entire workforce must be aware of the current deficits in efficiency (i.e. waste). Identifying the gap is the first step in closing it.

ADOPT KAIZEN METHOD

The idea behind Kaizen is that all employees are actively engaged in the regular, incremental improvement of the company. How? Through organized events focused on improving specific areas within the company. This creates the culture of continuous improvement needed to facilitate your new lean principles. You need your workforce to be on board with the goal of improving the company. Whether in terms of employee morale, productivity, efficiency (i.e. lean principles), or safety, Kaizen is a tried-and-true framework for catalyzing the team collaboration that necessitates marketable progress.

Consider Kaizen in seven phases:

  • Identify opportunity
  • Analyze process
  • Develop solution
  • Study results
  • Standardize solution
  • Plan for future
Downloadable 5S checklist
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Develop a Lean Manufacturing Plant with 5S Methodology

The 5S methodology is a proven set of principles to make your manufacturing plant more streamlined, efficient, and productive. EHS Today calls it ‘the place where safety and lean meet’. The idea is that safety is the ‘honory’ 6th s. Like icing on the cake of a work area that is safe, organized, and efficient. Assembly can verify, 5S supports just-in-time production, cellular manufacturing, total quality management, and Six Sigma—the pillars of a lean manufacturing plant. And the more organized, cleanly, and productive your work area? The happier and more productive your  workforce. Check it out.

“Benefits [of 5S methodology] include raising quality, lowering costs, promoting safety, building customer confidence, increasing uptime, and lowering repair costs.”-John Grower

SORT

Keep what you need. Identify what is out of place or in the way. And give away what you don’t. Simple. Need a rule of thumb?

  • Never used? Ditch it
  • Used < twice a year? Store it, out of the work area
  • Used once a week? Store in the work area
  • Used once a day? Keep it on hand, out of the way

SET IN ORDER

‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. This is a core pillar of achieving a lean manufacturing plant. The key? Labelling, storing, and logging equipment, tools, gear, materials, and miscellaneous items properly.

  • Label every important piece of equipment, gear, or tool
  • Denote the responsible of each item
  • Make every item used on a daily or weekly basis easily accessible
  • Create a color-coded map to save time finding equipment, gear, and tools

Sorting properly eliminates time wasted spent finding items or getting items out of the way that are obsolete. LISTA identifies the following kinds of wastes that can be eliminated: motion waste, searching waste, human energy waste, excess waste of inventory, waste of defective products, waste of unsafe conditions. How that’s for lean?

SHINE

Keep it clean; keep employee morale high. Keeping your facility cleanly and tidy is a critical part of sustaining your efforts to streamline your plant for better productivity. A comfortable, clean, uncluttered environment increases your workforce’s pride in their workplace, ownership, and ultimately level of motivation. That’s one hell of a good outlook for the success of your plant.

STANDARDIZE

Document, share, and review your strategy. Communication is key to making 5S methodology the new norm. Old habits die hard, but documenting your goals, strategy, and progress puts the right amount of pressure and support on your workforce to develop this new culture.

With focused, documented effort, 5S can become your standard operating procedure. And you’re well on your way to becoming a more lean manufacturing plant with happier, more productive workers.

SUSTAIN

Any new initiative requires a culture change, communication, and new habits to achieve real improvement. Stick with it and encourage your workforce through your own disciplined commitment to the 5s principles. Otherwise, time and money invested into making your plant more streamlined, efficient, productive—and, ultimately, lean—are pointless.

5S checklist
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Safety Practices for a Successful Plant Shutdown

A successful plant shutdown starts with a safe workforce. A documented procedure, communication, and well-trained team are key. The following are some of the best safety practices for a successful plant shutdown.

GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO PLAN

The single best thing you can do for a successful plant shutdown is to give yourself enough time to plan the outage effectively. The standard recommendation is that you begin planning four months before the scheduled outage. Check out Chemical Engineering Magazine’s plant turnaround checklist  for extra assurance that you aren’t missing any crucial considerations during the planning stage.

CONDUCT A RISK ASSESSMENT

Your document lockout procedure (see below) must anticipate all potential risks, to avoid them.

RE-EDUCATE YOUR WORKFORCE ABOUT SAFETY

Plant turnaround safety is something that needs to be refreshed each year, given the high level of risk associated with the work. Include an emergency response procedure, and invest in the safety of your workers ahead of time. Consider outsourcing safety training to safety training management platforms such as SafeForce or Industrial Training Services to save time and money.

UNPLUG YOUR EQUIPMENT

Occupational Safety puts it bluntly: you would never clean a meat slicer without first unplugging the machine and (if possible) locking up the plug until the job is done. This rings especially true for machines that store massive amounts of energy. Unplug the machine, lock up the gear and keep the key until all work is done. This is one of the simplest ways to keep your workforce safe from the risk of moving parts during a plant shutdown.

STORE HAZARDS SAFELY

Keep all hazardous and dangerous material locked up and safely stored, out of the work area, during the shutdown.

TEST FOR EXPOSURE RISK

Some plants, typically chemical, pose a real risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. This might include acidic chemicals, flammable gases, toxic fumes, airborne fibers, etc. Bring on a specialist to test for exposure risk, and check out OSHA’s resources on Controlling Exposures if you detect hazards you need to control.

KEEP IT TURNED OFF

Restraint pads can be used to keep the system from turning back on while your workers are completing the maintenance work. The worker who is completing the machine’s work should be the first one the turn off the machine, padlock the system and hold the key. And the last person to remove the padlock!

DON’T ‘GO LEAN’

A lack of resources will impede the success of your maintenance shutdown. You don’t want to assign a single worker with more work than they can successfully oversee—you’ll often see this dilemma with plant engineers. This compromises the success and reduces the safety of your shutdown.

COMMUNICATE

Plant shutdowns can be dangerous. One of the best ways to avoid injuries is with communication. Develop your own code: phrases to quickly flag that there is a danger or that some form of swift response is needed to resolve the immediate danger. This can be as simple as ‘do not energize.’ or ‘do not operate.’—these safety slogans, talk messages, and/or banners can save you time and an avoidable injury.

ASSIGN QUALIFIED PERSONNEL

Heavy machinery plays a large role in most shutdowns. Make sure that the workers you assign to man this machinery are trained and qualified, and that there is always someone spotting outside the machine to guide their transport of the equipment.

DOCUMENT YOUR PROCEDURE

If you’re concerned about approval from inspectors (which we all should be), you’ll want a documented process for the maintenance of each machine. This ensures that as outage workers and plant executives come and go, the training and procedure for the plant shutdown is passed on. This procedure includes the following: who will do the work, which energy sources need to be controlled, where control panels are and steps for removing the lockout.

Adhere to these best safety practices for a successful plant shutdown and you’re well on your way to a more productive plant and a safer, happier workforce!

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5 Ways to Cut Plant Shutdown Maintenance Costs

How are you cutting plant shutdown maintenance costs? Following suit with our shutdown, turnaround, and outage blog series, we got together and crowdsourced some of the best ways to cut those costs during one of the most stressful times of the year—shutdown, turnaround, or outage season. Have a read, lets us know what you think! 

1. USE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

Use project management software to streamline the planning and execution processes. If you’ve never relied on software to manage your shutdowns, turnarounds, or outages, it may seem like a big and unnecessary transition. But through research and speaking with professionals in the field, we’ve found major positive trade-offs for folks who made the change to relying on project management software. Many companies will offer a free trial:

  • RoserConSys’s the Roser Software Suite for shutdowns, turnarounds, outages & maintenance helps with scope nomination and optimation, risk analysis, quality control, cost and estimations, and a range of other support.
  • Bentley provides a variety of solutions built specifically for nuclear power plants. From asset performance management to advanced work packaging—their software can help you to get comfortable using project management tools and make the full transition during your next scheduled plant shutdown
  • EcoSys has awesome software options catered toward energy, oil, gas, chemical, utilities, and construction industries. Their software is, appropriately, built for your industry, concerned primarily with better efficiency and general success of major projects like plant shutdowns. Check them out—you can manage project portfolios, control project costs, and improve general performance.

2. START PLANNING EARLY

Start planning your outage early on. This way, you can adjust the plan should maintenance task priority change, and adapt to these inevitable changes in the master plan. Nick Gaglia’s article in Electric Light & Power puts it well—plan your next outage carefully and your people and blood pressure will thank you.

“After defining the scope and identifying the pre-outage work, the client and contractor should firm up price and schedule. A work breakdown structure (WBS) makes this easier by enabling the team to break up a large project into smaller, more manageable tasks.”-Nick Gaglia

3. MINIMIZE PURCHASED EQUIPMENT

Order or rent only the bare minimum equipment needed to effectively complete the project. Equipment can sap your budget as fast as any other cost, so it’s a great place to be tight about what’s absolutely necessary to get the job done. Additionally, renting rather than purchasing equipment saves both time and money.

4. PRIORITIZE TASKS CORRECTLY

Work with an experienced contractor to oversee and validate the prioritization of maintenance tasks on your lists. You may be taking on too much for the amount of labor or capital you have at your disposal. Or your tasks may be prioritized incorrectly. You want to be sure you’re taking on the work that is absolutely necessary and will pay off. Some tasks will yield major productivity and reliability improvements, and you want to be sure your plan coincides with which  this work that’s vital.

In addition, you and your team must be in agreeance about the scope of the project. Arash Shahi does an awesome job of understanding the importance of defining and sticking to the scope as a team—especially when executing STO (shutdown, turnaround, outage) projects.

“One of the most common causes for STO projects going over time and over budget is ‘scope creep’, driven primarily by multiple conflicting objectives. In order to minimize the risk from scope changes, the scope of an STO project needs to be agree upon well in advance…”-Arash Shahi

Putting off work of lesser urgency is an excellent way to free up the headspace and capital to focus on the highest priority tasks. Life Reliability and Reliable Plant both have  excellent resources  on calculating the priority of your maintenance tasks

5. UTILIZE A LABOR CONTRACTOR

Find the workers you need by using a labor contractor. Make sure whoever you get your labor through knows the skilled trades, and can promise a temporary workforce that is not only reliable but experienced in shutdown, turnaround, or outage work.

We don’t have to tell you—shutdowns can be, for lack of a better term, a big pain in the ass. Relying on a labor contractor is a great way to free up time, money, and ultimately energy to focus on successful planning and execution of the work that will benefit your plant for years to come. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling last minute to find the welders, ironworkers, millwrights, and skilled workers you need to get the job done!

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Management Strategies: Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages

HAVING A STRATEGY FOR MANAGING YOUR SHUTDOWN, TURNAROUND, OR OUTAGE IS KEY TO A JOB-DONE-WELL. HERE ARE SOME TOOLS TO GET YOU STARTED.

Scheduled shutdowns, outages, and turnarounds are a big deal. There is a world of resources out there, however, with tips, insights, and management strategies for getting the job done right. So our team went out and gathered some of the best resources out there from experienced managers in the field. Check it out, let us know what you think, and lend us your two cents on how you plan and execute your plant shutdown, outage, or turnaround.

OPTIMIZING OUTAGES THROUGH EFFECTIVE TASK PLANNING

Life Cycle Engineering’s article from Tim Kister offers practical and applicable ways to make your outage more efficient all around. In his words, “Outages can only be successful when the outage work is planned effectively before the work is scheduled and/or started.” He covers everything from determining high-priority tasks and defining the scope to identifying hazards and estimating the necessary labor resources. His lends recommendations on how far out to identify work tasks while successfully adhering to the project timeline.

“Outage management is an effective tool for reducing costs and increasing plant productivity.  When the decision is made to identify major outage work far in advance and then carefully plan the work for maximum ease of execution, the result will be lower costs.”

Kister recommends that the personnel planning the operation ask their team the following questions to ensure they have planned each facet of the project thoroughly:

  • Is the scope of work clear, concise and easily understood?
  • Have all aspects of the task have been evaluated and addressed?
  • Have the job hazards, safety, permit requirements and potential obstacles been identified, addressed and communicated within the work order?
  • Does the task sequence make sense, is the methodology defined, and does it include special instructions, specifications and testing/quality checks?
  • Have all determinable material, parts, tools and equipment requirements been addressed and actions taken to provide the necessary items with delivery within the prescribed “need by” dates?

OUTAGE PLANNING OFF-THE-SHELF

Kevin Duffy—vice president of operational excellence for Kepner-Tregoe (KT) offers an in-depth look at outage management in his contribution to Reliable Plant. His team recognizes that shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages are not just engineering and maintenance projectsthey command capital and operating budgets while attracting the attention of key stakeholders and boards of directors. Appropriately then, he calls shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STO’s) ‘whole business events’, not single-function operations. Duffy’s breakdown of the phases of activities integral to STO planning and execution include the following:

  • Detailed planning and organization of the work involved
  • Removal of assets from production
  • Inspection and work execution, product changes, repairs, improvement activities or a combination of these
  • Restart of the asset/unit/plant and restoration to “should” performance levels

“STOs are more complex than other project-based events. Quite simply, they involve both planned activities and unplanned work resulting from inspection of part of a machine or asset which is not accessible or visible during normal operations.”-Kevin Duffy

STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE SHUTDOWNS, TURNAROUNDS AND OUTAGES

Our team found Ghosh, McQueen, and Chambers’s contribution to Power Engineering to be an excellent, comprehensive breakdown of an outage—on defining  program goals, the planning process, activities key throughout the planning and execution phases, and what to do in between outages. They recommend breaking down the outage planning process into four fundamental steps:

  1. Pre-outage work and preparation for an upcoming outage
  2. Outage execution and knowledge capture
  3. Post-outage analysis
  4. Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) activities between outages.

“Outage planning is a critical process aimed at ensuring that unanticipated maintenance or repair activities are avoided during an overhaul.”

Equipped with software and system recommendations for managing the operation, their article is a great place to start if you’re looking to have a more efficient outage season. Each contributor has extensive experience in operations, maintenance, and/or power industries—so they really know what they’re talking about.

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7 Tools to Help You Survive Your Plant Outage

WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS, YOU’LL NOT ONLY SURVIVE YOUR PLANT OUTAGE BUT ENJOY A LESS COSTLY, MORE EFFICIENT OPERATION.

A plant outage can be a lot like hell. Maintenance costs are stressing your cash flow, your agenda is stretched, and production is flatlining. But with the right tools, you can survive your plant outage. And not only that, but you can save time and money while increasing the productivity of your the shutdown period. And, perhaps most importantly, you can sleep well knowing your plant will be more efficient after all the hard work. The following resources will get you started.

1. TRAVELING NUKER

Traveling Nuker is a scheduling and hiring database where skilled building trade union members can easily find maintenance and system upgrade projects on nuclear plants throughout the states. Where workers used to have to piece together jobs for outages, shutdowns, and turnarounds through personal contacts and newspaper ads, all the information is now accessible from one place!  They’re currently offering a free test run, so sign your plant up and upload your manpower needs and outage schedule for to access more talent.

2. FLUOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Fluor is an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), maintenance, and project management company. They specialize in challenging capital projects and have expertise in managing plant turnarounds, shutdowns, and outages. It’s no news that minimizing downtime and maximizing the productivity of your shutdown is the ideal, right? A project management company like Fluor could help you with this, given their experience in power generation, oil refining, chemical processing, and other industrial fields. Check them out and see if they could help you streamline and simplify your outage.

3. ATC PROFESSIONAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Check out a project management system like ATC Professional, built uniquely for process industry turnarounds (oil refinery, petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants, pulp and paper mills, power plants, etc.). They know well that turnarounds aren’t just another big project. They require tremendous foresight, planning, and wise prioritization of maintenance tasks. ATC gets it, and their system could help you in building your budget and reporting structure beforehand and staying on schedule during execution.

4. NUKE WORKER

Nuke Worker is an incredibly thorough site with job postings, advertisements, outage schedules, training, and much more. Their forum gets a lot of traffic, and they aggregate all the news in nuclear industries, so it’s an ideal place to sign your plant up and post jobs. Register your company, launch some ads, and upload your labor needs or outage schedule! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even direct your local workforce to Nuke Workers site to prepare for and complete their training and certifications.

5. ROAD TECHS

Much like Nuke Worker and Travelling Nuker, Roadtechs  is an excellent place to upload your outage schedule and labor needs. They cover everything from nuclear, petrochemical, fossil and alternative energy to shipyard and aerospace industries. An employer registration can get you a single job posting, a year’s worth, or a few month’s worth—whichever makes the most sense for your outage manpower needs!

“A turnaround that goes badly, lasts for too long, or exceeds its budget could result in the company unexpectedly reporting fiscal losses. On the other hand, a turnaround that goes well and stays within its budget and timeline will make a huge contribution to the plant’s efficiency and safety…setting the plant up for even bigger success in the future.”-STi GROUP

6. CONTRACT RESOURCES

Consider utilizing companies like Contract Resources who provide specialized services focused on making your operation more efficient. They work within industrial fields: oil refineries, petrochemical plants, mineral processing, renewables and utilities—you know the gig. They offer a wide range of services—everything from catalyst and mechanical, tank and mechanical, heat exchanger to hydro-jetting and cold cutting, pipeline services, and (you guessed it) shutdowns and turnarounds. Their project planning and estimating support can free up the leeway for you to focus on the more important decisions and pieces, rather than getting bogged down in project execution. And they promise a strong focus on the safety of the workforce—always a good thing!

“A nuclear plant outage is huge, complex undertaking involving thousands of activities typically over the course of three to four weeks. “-G. Weatherby

7. READ THE STUFF

If possible, take the time to deep dive into the literature out there around making your turnaround less costly, more productive, and with less downtime. Emerson’s 6-step process, IAEA’s Management Strategies for Nuclear Power Plant Outages and IDC Technology’s Practical Shutdown and Turnaround Management for Engineers and Managers are just a handful of the resources out there. But there is a wealth of knowledge, experience, and advice out there from industry veterans like yourself who’ve been through the ringer when it comes to managing an outage. So set some time aside, pick your poison, and prepare thyself for a smoother, less stressful outage, turnaround or shutdown!

“The engineering world is littered with examples of poor shutdowns with massive overruns in costs and problems in resource planning. Performing an effective shutdown is an example of applying many of the principles of good project management with some important exceptions…”-IDC Technologies

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4 Creative Ways to Fill Jobs Fast

FOR COMPANIES WHO ARE PRIMARY EMPLOYERS OF THE LOCAL WORKING CLASS, MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS IS KEY TO LONG-TERM TALENT SOLUTIONS

The good news is your business is growing! Maybe you landed a big client with labor intensive needs. Or maybe you had the winning bid for a major project. More business means more cash, which means more expansion and growth you can readily fund. The catch? You have LOTS of job openings to fill. Fast. Sound familiar?

If this situation hits home for you, know you’re not alone. Most businesses who rely on skilled workers face a chronic shortage of talent. A 2015 study from the National Association of Home Builders found that 70 percent of respondents are dealing with a shortage. A similar study from the Associated General Contractors found 86% of companies to be struggling to fill positions.

If you offer competitive pay and benefits, you should be able to attract and retain the right talent. Granted, you may need to get a little creative in your recruiting methods. The following 4 ideas will get your creative juices flowing…

1. HOLD A FAMILY-FRIENDLY JOB FAIR

Many of your prospective hires are parents who could use free (and fun) ways to entertain their kids. Daycare is the last thing they want to worry about while job-hunting. Why not help them kill two birds with one stone by holding a family friendly job fair at your facility?

Rent out some kid-friendly entertainment. You know—clowns, face painters, and bounce houses—that kind of a thing. Bring in your hiring managers for a few hours on the weekend to host an open interview day. That way, prospective hires no longer have to stress about what to do with the kiddos for that handful of hours! See our blog post for some basics on how to hold an open interview day. And liven up your efforts with these ideas:

  • Have employees host, answering questions from visitors
  • Provide tours of the worksite and demonstrations of typical projects to both parents and kids
  • Invite teachers from local technical and shop classes to show  various skills in trades fields to the kids
  • Ask local musicians to come out for a few hours of grooves (PR for them and ambiance for you—win win!)
  • Rent some local food trucks to come through with their catering—now we’re talkin’ about a local economy, right?
  • Post flyers in daycares, schools, churches, grocery stores
  • Send event information to local TV and radio networks
  • Promote the event to local Facebook groups

Setting up a job fair to be family friendly means you can promote your event to more venues. Anywhere kids might be who are both stoked about a bounce house and have a parent or two who is in a skilled trades field. The best part is, by offering the child care, you’re making your commitment to these new hires clear.

2. PARTNER WITH A COMMUNITY EVENT

Check out your hometown’s event calendar and find opportunities to broadcast job openings to lots of people at once. If your company’s hometown is a football town, for instance, set up a stand at the next home game. Talk to parents about opportunities with your business. It’s always best to meet with people on their level when beginning a meaningful employment relationship.  

If your city has a big festival coming up, talk to the organizer about sponsoring a booth or putting an ad in the event program. Invite employees to get out for a few hours to hand out information on all the job openings, and talk about the perks of working for your company.

No matter what method of reaching applicants you choose, make the message clear. Talk about job openings, pay, benefits, and advancement opportunities, emphasizing your company’s edge. Direct folks to your business’s website or phone number, should they have more questions.

3. PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES TO HELP

We can’t say enough good stuff about employee referrals…

If you have pressing talent needs, consider this: employee referrals are one of the fastest ways to fills open positionsKnowing that a talent shortage won’t stunt your company’s growth is worth the cost! Here are a few activities you can offer bonuses to employees for:

  • Referral who fill out an application
  • Referrals who attend an open interview event
  • Employees who share your job postings on social media
  • Referrals hired full or part-time

It is likely that your employees have skilled, reliable friends in the field. So get creative and generate referrals from within your current workforce. Ensuring that you are recruiting the quality hires to build a strong workforce couldn’t be easier!

4. THE P’S OF RECRUITING

OSHRM has some great creative recruiting ideas for filling jobs fast. We borrowed some of our favorite ones (that just so happen to start with the same letter):

  • Pipeline:  Maintain relationships with quality candidates
  • Publicity: Advertise yourself, host local events and programs, and make your company an active and engaged member of the community!
  • Pocket packet: Create a packet of information on our company. Include information on benefits, bonuses, advancement opportunities, etc. Keep these on hand during any networking opportunities and send some out to local chambers of commerce, career centers, technical schools, union chapters, etc..
  • Paper trail: Recruit a current employee to write for columns in your local paper. Have him or her talk about ways to advance in a career, how to find your first job, do’s and don’t’s of interviewing, etc. Brainstorm a series of topics that would be helpful for the local working class.
  • Postcards: Send postcards, emails, or drop a line to candidates you haven’t reached out to in a while. Keep that relationship alive!

For companies who are primary employers of the local working class, maintaining relationships is key. Meet your people on their level—at local events and festivals or by hosting family friend events. Make your company an active, engaged member of the community! These connections will serve you well when your talent needs surge and you have a rich pool of skilled talent from which to recruit.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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Ask These 5 Questions the Next Time You Interview Job Candidates

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ARE YOUR BEST OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY GET TO KNOW THE CANDIDATE AND MAKE SURE THEY’RE A GOOD FIT FOR THE JOB.

Hiring the right candidate is the most important part of building a skilled workforce to support your company’s growth. How are HR professionals ensuring they’re bringing in the right talent? Typically, they dissect the resume, contact resume references and speak with previous employers. But the fact still stands: you never really know who you’re hiring until they start the job.  

That’s why interview questions are such an important part of the hiring process. It’s your best opportunity to really get to know the candidate and make sure they’re a good fit for the job. The key is that you have to ask the right questions and listen for the right (and wrong) responses. The following 5 questions can help you gauge whether or not the applicant is a fit:

WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?

Someone who really wants the job will make an effort to learn about the nature of the company and position. Sure, you aren’t conducting a formal corporate interview, but this question is still appropriate. After all, jobs in the skilled trades require a particular skill set and work ethic. Don’t you want someone who not only possesses the talent but is at least little psyched about your company?

If a candidate doesn’t have a good answer to the question, he or she is likely not a good fit.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR LINE OF WORK?

This is a telling interview question to ask candidates. It can clue you into whether the prospect actually enjoys their line of work, or just wants to get paid. And why does this matter? Simple: happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy ones. And productivity increases your bottom line. You want to know whether the candidate actually enjoys what they do for a living.

“…happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”-Jonha Revesencio

Do they enjoy performing the basic functions of the job? Do they get satisfaction out of reaching goals and completing projects? Do they like working as part of a team? Ask them what they do and don’t like about their line of work. Their answer will give you an idea of their level of commitment to performing good work.

The last thing you want is a bad attitude that negatively affects the rest of your team. Odds are if the applicant doesn’t genuinely enjoy his vocation, his poor attitude is going screw things up on the worksite.

WHAT’S A GOOD REASON TO MISS WORK?

Absenteeism is a huge problem in any industry. It is an especially relevant problem in industrial sectors, where project timing is contingent upon the strength and reliability of the workforce. When workers fail to show up, the whole company suffers. Co-workers who are forced to compensate are over-worked, and probably pretty ticked off about it. In fact, the negative consequences of absenteeism range from reduced productivity and workforce morale to safety issues (as inadequately trained workers have to fill in). Asking this question can clue you into whether or not the applicant is reliable.

“Absenteeism costs U.S. companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, wages, poor quality of goods/services and excess management time.”-Jean Folger

Take note of the right and wrong responses. Aside from serious illness, car trouble or a family emergency, there are few acceptable excuses for not showing up.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE A DISAGREEMENT AT AN OLD JOB?

This question will weed out the applicants who don’t handle disagreements well. This is important because you want workers who can handle sticky situations cooperatively. Individuals who have handled conflict in a civil manner will be confident and comfortable speaking to their ability to work well on a team to solve conflicts.

On the flipside, candidates who don’t “play nice” will likely reveal themselves. And teamwork does in fact make the dream work, doesn’t it?

WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?

This tends to be an awkward question for most applicants but it’s a great one to ask. It’s never a bad idea to give candidates a direct opportunity to pitch their skills and experience. Their answer will show how confident they are in their abilities. This is perhaps one of the simplest questions that can indicate whether or not he or she is a winner.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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An Employee Wellness Program is a Competitive Edge

NO MATTER THE SIZE OF YOUR COMPANY, OFFERING AN EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM IS A SURE-FIRE WAY TO SHARPEN YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE…

What if there were a fail-safe way to create a healthier and happier workplace for your employees? What if you could attract and retain skilled talent while slashing your company’s health-care costs? There is a tool that can help you achieve these objectives, and then some: an employee wellness program.

According to the 2015 study from the Society for Human Resource Management, the popularity of company health plans has surged in recent years. In fact, 70% of companies surveyed offer a general wellness program. This stat is a major increase from a measly 58% in 2008.  A related study from Rand finds that half of all companies with 50 or more employees have a wellness plan. In the meantime, small businesses have found creative, cost-effective ways to offer such support while ultimately cutting their health costs.

What is this trend about? Companies are realizing that healthy employees are happy employees. Happiness leads to greater engagement and productivity. So the beauty of it is this: investing in your workforce’s health is a strategic move to ensure long-term growth. No matter the size of your company, a wellness program is a sure-fire way to sharpen your competitive edge!

“What I care about is the well-being of our team… I believe healthy, happy employees will allow us to do our best work.”-Jean Bourgeois

The primary benefit of a wellness plan, arguably, might be its effect on health-care costs. Another Rand study finds that every $1 invested into wellness yields a return of $1.50 in health-care savings for the employer.

How can such a plan reduce health-care costs? It’s simple. It incentivizes your employees to remain healthy and active, reducing their dependence on health care. The more fully employees participate, the more rewards they earn and the healthier they become. Ultimately, this incentivization reduces your employees’ risks of major problems like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

“Health care costs have become such a large part of the expense pie for companies that offering cost-effective wellness programs to employees make a lot of sense…”-Tim Church

Additionally, it can help you attract and retain skilled workers. If you’re interviewing a prospective hire, you can tell them about your program. Extra compensation and benefits for moderate exercise? A true win-win. They’ll be much more inclined to work for a company that offers this kind of support.

TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM

So… are you sold? Are you ready for your next big collaborative initiative of building this competitive edge? Keep the following tips in mind as you start the long and rewarding journey of creating an employee wellness program:

INVOLVE YOUR EMPLOYEES

Your employees will be the ones participating in this plan, so let their input inform the structure of your program! What perks interest them? They may want compensation or rewards, such as extra vacation days, tickets to local events, or even longer lunch breaks. Send a survey out to your employees asking the important question: what benefits and rewards would encourage a healthier lifestyle?

“Organizations need to look at their employee base and get a sense of what makes most sense. And they need to collaborate. It won’t help if they offer a program that’s not what employees want or need.”-Evren Esen

Create a committee of employees to help with the process of building out your program. Their input will ensure your goals and incentives are informed closely by your workforce’s preferences.

ESTABLISH GOALS

‘Wellness’ is a general term that encompasses a variety of areas. Your program needs to be guided by a specific set of goals to be effective. These objectives will shape your entire program, so it’s important to have a clear vision!

For instance, do you want to reduce workplace stress? Do you want to decrease your workforce’s risk of chronic issues like heart disease and obesity? Do you want to improve your their strength and durability, reducing workplace injuries? Gather your executive team and identify the fundamental goals of your wellness program. Again, send out a survey asking your employees about their personal health goals.

Once you have identified fundamental goals, brainstorm the activities that might foster them. and enact the rewards and benefits your employees have chosen to kick off your initiative.

CREATE A REPORTING STRUCTURE

Reporting is an important component of any new initiative. How will you verify that your employees have actually completed certain activities? Management software such as MediFitWelcoa, or TotalWellness can streamline tracking and reporting.

Some companies also use technologies such as FitBit. FitBit even offers personalized health programs that track, manage, and monitor activity as it relates to your program.

KEEP YOU EYES ON THE PRIZE

A wellness program is a promising long-term fix for attracting and retaining talent while managing health-care costs. For industries within competitive labor markets, a skilled workforce is vital for success. Consider the competitive edge that this program offers in securing this workforce. Huffington Post even calls ‘corporate wellness’ the new ‘competitive advantage’. 

But first and foremost, it is a straightforward way to prove your commitment to your loyal workers. Investing in your skilled workforce’s health and well-being is the most practical way to build your company for long-term growth. This growth is the true prize.

“Essentially, it comes down to this: take care of your talent, and your talent will take care of you.”-Alan Kohll

Point and case. If you’re looking to do the following…

  • Attract and invest in the right talent
  • Increase productivity and efficiency at work
  • Develop a more positive company culture
  • Cut costs on insurance and employee health-care packages

Then what are you waiting for? Start building the program that will give YOU the competitive advantage for the long haul.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 
Find and hire the talent you need with our hiring guide!

How to Improve Your Skilled Worker Recruiting Strategy

THE KEY TO OVERCOMING THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES FACED BY RECRUITERS IN CONSTRUCTION AND MANUFACTURING FIELDS? A KICK-ASS RECRUITING STRATEGY.

In trades fields, qualified, reliable workers, are often needed at the drop of a hat. Training new hires from scratch is an option. It is much more cost effective and time efficient, however, to recruit a candidate who is already qualified and trained for the job. After all, an hour spent training a new skilled worker is an hour robbed from getting the job done.

This said, the following tips represent promising ways HR professionals in industrial fields can improve their recruiting strategy and find the talent they seek

START FROM SQUARE ONE

Pull your recruiting team together and ask, perhaps, the most important question… Does your company provide its workers with enough support to attract and retain them for the long haul? Our nation’s skilled workers seeks out employers who will invest in them through a respectable salary, sensible benefits, steady employment, and skills and safety training.

So take stock of the benefits and programs your company offers. Challenge your executive team to offer more support as part of a new, revamped recruiting strategy. Accountemp’s survey confirms that the top six strategies to recruit skilled workers begin with: improving benefits, increasing compensation, and investing in training and development.

“Boosting compensation and adding incentives is a useful first step for attracting talent, but it’s equally important for businesses to develop the abilities of workers already on staff…”-Max Messmer

It only makes sense to invest in the right talent. In failing to provide ample support for a skilled workforce, companies are missing out on a competitive edge. Think about it: could there be a more powerful advantage than a trained, skilled, loyal, and reliable workforce?

MONITOR YOUR COMPETITORS

There’s a nice philosophy on how to improve one’s self, game, craft, or business. Or recruiting strategy, for that matter. Observe your competitors. And then do what they do… only, better.

Gather your marketing team to amass a list of your company’s core competitors. Then task each teammate with exploring the recruiting strategy of each company… How are your competitors investing in their skilled workforce through salary, benefits, training, etc.? How are they maneuvering fluctuations in project talent needs? How are they adapting to our volatile economy? Conduct this competitive audit with your team to learn from your competition. After all, they face the same challenges you do in the industry. Monitoring your competitor’s recruiting struggles and strategies is one of the greatest ways to improve your own.

“You should learn from your competitor. But never copy. Copy and you die.”  -Jack Ma

KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE OF THE INDUSTRY

Stay afloat in the latest industry developments, trends, and events. Compile a list of industry resources to check daily that’ll help you remain plugged into the 411. This practice is key to developing an effective recruiting strategy.

Why? In order to attract and retain the right talent, you need to stay up-to-date on regional and national layoffs, plant closures, and factory closures. These industry events produce waves of unemployed workers. These unemployed workers are highly skilled craftsmen and women, desperate for new work. What’s that mean to you? Simple: laid-off workers are an excellent pool from which to recruit new, qualified hires.

Sites like Construction DiveIndustry Week, and Manufacturing.net are great resources for staying plugged into major industry events. So build your list of resources and align your recruiting team’s focus on attracting and retaining these recently laid-off workers.

INCENTIVIZE EMPLOYEE REFERRALS

Companies often fail to recognize or develop this valuable avenue for recruiting talent: their own current employees. Specifically, employees who are committed to your company and have valuable connections. These candidates are likely willing and able to help you attract the talent you need through their own networks.

Be sure to encourage your company to up the ante on employee referral bonuses. Incentivizing employees referrals is a tried-and-true way to attract the right talent. Need ideas? Check out this 6-Step Guide for building the perfect employee referral program. Or check out SmartRecruiter’s blog post that offers excellent incentive ideas.

DOCUMENT YOUR STRATEGY

Recruiting efforts that start and stop with no real strategy will likely yield subpar results. Ascenti’s guidebook can help you document your strategy. Tracking your efforts, successes, and failures is key to improving your recruiting strategy long term. Ere Media also offers a helpful guide on developing a written talent acquisition strategy. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you document your progress in attracting and retaining skilled talent. It is only a matter of bringing together your team, focusing in, and documenting your progress!

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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5 Signs it’s Time to Start Looking for a New Job

THE DAYS OF WORKING AT THE SAME COMPANY FOR YOUR WHOLE CAREER ARE LONG GONE…

According to a study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers hold an average of 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42. A study from 2008 finds that the average American’s tenure with their current employer is only 4.1 years. Job-hopping is the new norm. For many employees, the question isn’t if they should switch jobs, but rather when. How do you know if it’s time for you to look for a new job? Below are five indicators it’s time to start looking around…

1. THERE’S NO OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVANCEMENT

There are few things more frustrating in a job than being stuck in the same position without any opportunity for advancement. If you’ve continued your education, developed your skills, and expanded your general knowledge, you’ve earned an opportunity to grow within your company.

Are you seeking to supervise a team? Manage projects? Take on another challenge at your company? Talk to your boss about your career path, asking about opportunities for advancement. Ideally, he or she would share your enthusiasm and help you develop a path to reach your goals. Unfortunately, you may not strike such luck.

If your supervisor isn’t on board with your larger vision, you may not be working for the right company. If your employer doesn’t provide an opportunity for advancing within your company, investigate openings with other companies in your area and embark upon a job search elsewhere.

2.YOUR COMPANY HAS UNDERGONE MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF LAYOFFS

Having full confidence in the future and long-term stability of your company is important to you. In many trade industries, the loss of one major customer or large project can undermine a business’s livelihood, directly jeopardizing your position. If your place of employment isn’t stable, you are in the line of fire when layoffs come around.

While loyalty to your employer is likely very important to you, you also have to weigh your own needs. Your place of employment should always promise to support your needs as a hardworking and loyal employee. If business is getting slower and talk of layoffs is picking up, take the initiative to begin exploring other job opportunities for yourself.

The last thing you want is to lose your job and face an unexpected period of unemployment. So take the first step and see what’s out there. Being prepared and proactive can only benefit you.

3. YOU LACK CONFIDENCE IN UPPER MANAGEMENT

When you’re employed by a company, you are, in large part, dependent upon upper management to ensure the business’s long-term growth and success. If the folks who reside in these roles are skilled and competent, your company will likely face a bright future.

If the opposite is true, it may be time to start looking for a new job with a company whose culture and approach you have confidence in. Talk to friends and associates who within the skilled trades industry, asking them how much confidence they have in their company’s upper management. If you choose to embark upon the job search process, be sure to ask employers key questions that will give you insight into their management style. With all of your experience, you will be able to pick up on whether you trust their approach to growing and sustaining the company.

4. YOU ARE UNDER-COMPENSATED OR UNDER-APPRECIATED

It’s hard to be enthusiastic about your work when you feel like your employer doesn’t appreciate all that you bring to the business. Maybe you feel like you should be earning more. Or perhaps you feel like you’ve been overlooked for a promotion or new position. Perhaps your employer isn’t providing any means of advancing yourself in your career: training, education, or programs to polish your skills and relevance in the field.

If you identify with one of these scenarios, talk with your employer one-on-one. There may be a reasonable explanation for the lack promotion. Perhaps your manager wants to see you improve in certain areas before you take on more ownership. If this is the case, you can now re-direct your focus on the areas where there’s room for improvement, and take constructive steps toward earning a promotion.

Unfortunately, it can often be the case that your employer has no good reason for not providing opportunities for advancement. Your employer may quite simply refuse to offer a better pay, training, or promotion. If this is the case, start looking for a new job. You want to work for someone who values your contribution and provides opportunities for you to grow.

5. YOU DREAD MONDAYS

The most obvious sign that you should find a new job is that you absolutely dread going into work each Monday. The average American spends 8.9 hours a day working. Say you stay with your company for 10 years, do you really want to be miserable for 23,140 hours of your life. Your stress level and deep unhappiness negatively affect your work productivity, relationships, and mental and physical health. The bottom line is that it isn’t worth it.

Whether it’s because of management, interpersonal conflicts, work conditions, or other factors, your health and happiness takes precedence. Don’t stay with a job that makes you miserable. If you have talked to your boss about your frustrations, and he hasn’t been able to resolve them, take that as an indicator. It is time for you to find an employer who will support you for the hardworking tradesman or woman that you are. Trust us, they are out there.

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Looking for a tool that will help you find your next job in the trades? CraftForce’s powerful platform was built for tradesmen and women seeking fulfilling job opportunities in their field. After signing up, you can:

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Sign up for a free account today!




 

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How to Become a Top Veteran-Employer

RESTORING OUR NATION’S SKILLED WORKFORCE BEGINS WITH EMPLOYING OUR RETURNING SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN…  ARE YOU READY TO BECOME A TOP VETERAN-EMPLOYER?

250,000 service members transition out of the services and into the job pool every year. This stat is particularly relevant to you: an employer in a trades field.

Why? Consider that this represents 250,000 promising candidates to fill your positions. This is great news for an industry struggling to attract and retain skilled workers.

Are you ready to bring this talent into your company? The following 10 tips will help your company become more “military-friendly”. So take a look. Put yourself on the path of becoming a top veteran-employer in your industry.

1. BUILD A STRONG VETERAN-HIRING PROGRAM

If you want to bring in veteran talent, you’re going to need a strategy. Lucky for you, there are many great resources to help you build your company’s veteran-hiring program from the ground up.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s toolkit outlining a strategy for your program. Create a welcoming workplace and recruit veterans, wounded warriors, and military spouses
  • Military.com is one of the largest military membership organizations. Use their job board for job fair information. Or partner as an official “Veteran Employer”
  • Hire Veterans is a job board where you can register, post jobs, and search through resumes
  • Helmets to Hardhats is an organization that connects veterans with careers in the trades. Register and post your job openings today
  • Veteran Jobs Mission is a coalition that helps employers hire retired military personnel and their spouses. They boast 330,000+ veterans hired, to-date

2. HAVE A CLEAR, GENUINE MESSAGE

Building a kick ass veteran-hiring program requires a focused message. Communicating your support and commitment is key to bringing in the right people.

This means you must communicate what YOU can offer THEM. So ask yourself the following questions to focus your message:

  1. What aspects of your business appeals to this demographic?
  2. Is the worksite attractive to someone accustomed to a high level of challenge, pressure, and  stress?
  3. Are you offering an opportunity for advancement?
  4. Are you offering sensible benefits?
  5. How does your company go above and beyond to support this demographic?

Determine your message and make it central to your efforts. Call together your team. Define and refine your focus. Each member of your recruiting team should be communicating their commitment to this talent.

3. TRANSLATE THEIR MILITARY EXPERIENCE

Understanding the skills of this demographic is key to placing them with the right job. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to translate military experience into civilian skills. In fact, the armed services can use a language of it own!

There’s an excellent tool that will help you with this. Military.com’s Military Skills Translator. You just enter the individual’s branch and position to see what their job duties were.

Then you can compare their skills against the job qualifications. Here’s to added confidence that you’re hiring the right person for the right job!

4. SUPPORT THEIR NEEDS

Do your employee benefits go above and beyond to support transitioning servicemen and women? Review the following options to provide extra support to a veteran workforce

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support your workforce with work and personal issues. This can help with PTSD, health issues, or even family stress. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has many resources for this
  • Check out the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Employment Toolkit for tips on supporting your new employees
  • Start a mentorship program in your company by pairing a current veteran employee with newly hired veterans. Coach the mentor in helping the new employee overcome challenges, set goals, and adjust to their new career. Check out Blue Sky Coaching’s tips on being a good mentor for this

Do you have new veteran hires who are struggling with their transition into the civilian workforce? Direct them to any of the government resources available supporting this process.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment is an excellent program. They help military personnel with service-related disabilities excel in their work and personal life.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs also has many programs that you’ll find helpful.

5. LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK

This so happens to be one of our very favorite pointers for HR recruiters, directors, managers, and the like. Why? A strong network can (metaphorically) move mountains.

This rule is especially applicable when it comes to recruiting veterans.

How, you say? Chances are, your company is already employing one if not multiple military personnel. Through them, you have access to a  vast network of servicemen and women who are, no doubt, qualified. Your next incredible hire could be only an employee away… Heck, even throw in a sweet incentive for employee referrals. Need ideas for effective incentives? Check out Fast Company’s suggestions for ideas.

So access veteran talent through your current workforce’s social circles. Recruit from this network to become the top veteran-employer of your dreams.

6. MARKET YOURSELF AS AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE

Everyone wants to work for companies whose workforce they identify with.

So ask yourself.. how do you market yourself as a top veteran-employer? This is key to attracting more of the talent you seek.

Your marketing department can come in handy here. Call a meeting with your marketing team to bring them on board with your mission. Work with them to launch new campaigns aligned with your goal. Their creativity can take you a long way in building the workforce that will help your company grow! Try our the following ideas:

  • Launch social media campaigns highlighting current veteran employees: what specific benefits do they enjoy? Challenges and opportunities? What does their career path look like?
  • Create veteran-oriented marketing materials—promote the benefits, programs, and support your offer veterans
  • Launch a Youtube series interviewing current veteran employees. Focus the conversation on their civilian transition. How did your company support it?

7. HIGHLIGHT YOUR PROGRESS ON YOUR HOMEPAGE

Many major companies offer websites focused on men and women who served our country. Model your program after their successes.

Review their work with your team and begin brainstorming. How can you  showcase your company’s journey toward becoming a top veteran-employer? Note the creative ways each of these companies has adapted their recruiting, culture, and benefits to support the new diversity in their workforce:

8. PARTNER WITH BUSINESS AND TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

Partnerships with business and trade associations can open up another channel for this talent.

You can leverage community collaboration for connections to veteran talent through partner firms. Encouraging inter- and intraindustry networking. The 100,000 Jobs Mission is an excellent example of a successful collaboration that improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

9. LEVERAGE RESOURCES

There are many programs that will help your company hire veterans:

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’s Special Employer Incentives program helps companies hire more veterans. They connect qualified candidates with a specific role at your organization. You can also be reimbursed for part of the individual’s salary, covering supply and instruction costs.
  •  Check out the Special Employer Incentive Fact Sheet for more information.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a Guide to Hiring Veterans. This resource is helpful for kicking off the conversation within your organization.

Bring together all players key to your new program and review. Bring everyone on board with the importance of the movement and get started!

10. HIRE WITH CRAFTFORCE

At CraftForce, we believe that restoring our nation’s workforce begins with employing our veterans. That’s why, with a network of over 800,00 veterans, we are committed to helping you become a top veteran-employer.

Visit www.CraftForce.com today to learn more about how we can help you build the workforce your company needs to grow.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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What Buffalo’s Construction Worker Shortfall Tells us About the Skills Gap (and how to solve it)

ONE THING’S FOR CERTAIN: WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SKILLED WORKERS, WE’VE GOT OUR WORK CUT OUT FOR US…

BUFFALO’S CONSTRUCTION WORKER SHORTFALL

Buffalo is at the near top of a list of cities that have faced a severe shortage in skilled construction labor. In a 2015 column in the Buffalo News, writer Jonathan Epstein discussed these pains contractors and labor unions were shouldering. It became clear that the pace of development was a double-edged sword. As Epstein put it, “it’s great to have work… as long as you have workers.” From laborers, masons and painters, to electricians and plumbers… the demand was high. And the supply? Not so much.

“It’s great to have work… as long as you have workers”-Jonathan Epstein

Finding the skilled labor needed to support the influx  of multiple large-scale projects (John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, Roswell Park Cancer Institute Clinical Science Center, a new SolarCity production facility…) was no easy feat. The entire Buffalo region’s labor supply was strained. What’s worse: the shortfall of construction workers is a theme still today—across all fields. 

JUST ONE CASE AMONG MANY

Buffalo wasn’t alone in their struggle to find skilled workers to support a booming construction sector. Contractors across the country faced a similar dilemma trying to reconcile a surge in construction with a shrinking workforce. Trade Group Associated Builders and Contractors confirmed that more than 80% of its members were facing a skilled worker shortage at the time of Epstein’s article.

“…it is only a matter of time before the lack of workers impacts broader economic conditions…”-Stephen Sandherr

This shortage in construction workers persists today, nationally.  The latest labor report from the Associated General Contractors of America confirms that 71% of construction companies are ramping up their 2016 workforces, afraid they will be faced with a shortage of qualified workers.

This leads us to wonder, how are these construction companies faring? In Buffalo’s case, trade groups and contractors were pulling workers from nearby cities like Albany and Syracuse. This tactic isn’t viable long-term, as relocation and housing costs eat into a contractor’s margin substantially. Not to mention, the relocation of workers only shifts an overarching problem: our nation doesn’t have enough skilled tradesmen and women

CLOSING OUR NATION’S SKILL GAP FOR GOOD

So… what’s the solution? Consider that the skilled worker shortage affects all sectors of the economy and therefore all kinds of people. It would then follow that the task of producing the next generation of skilled workers is upon all of us.

The task of producing the next generation of skilled workers is upon all of us.

Realizing this, we propose the following tactics aimed at closing our nation’s skills gap. Check it out… what role can you play in solving the skilled labor shortage, long-term?

LOCAL TRADE GROUPS AND UNIONS:

  • Aggressively recruit new members through community outreach to assist in securing employment in their field
  • Expand apprenticeship programs where young tradesmen and women can learn from a journey-level craft person or trade professional
  • Connect with local high schools to offer scholarships and tuition assistance for students considering a technical or vocational education at a community or trade school
  • Join forces with prospective graduates of trade schools, vocational schools, technical schools and community colleges to recruit new members and assist them in securing employment in their field

EDUCATORS:

  • Revamp shop classes and other technical or vocational craft classes that introduce students to hands-on tradeswork
  • Encourage students, especially women, to explore and pursue a career in the trades
  • Educate guidance counselors in communicating the tremendous opportunity of entering an industry with a dire demand for a talent that students can supply

EMPLOYERS:

  • Adapt your recruiting process to aggressively seek out and hire veterans: an untapped yet unmatched talent. See our recent blog post for tips on this
  • Build an apprenticeship program that aligns all company executives on goals, fosters public-private partnerships, and integrates classroom instruction with on the job training. See The Manufacturing Institute’s guide for assistance
  • Offer tuition assistance and scholarships to students who opt for a technical or vocational program at a community or trades school
  • Build a Workforce Development Plan to improve the scale and quality of the skilled workforce
  • Hire with employment agencies like CraftForce that connect local skilled workers with opportunities through direct placement or employee leasing 

What can be learned from Buffalo’s skilled labor shortage is that we must have a long-term plan for building the skilled workforce of tomorrow. This plan calls on the talents and skills of all of us involved in the skilled trades. From educators to employers. Workers to trade groups… It’s upon us to invest in our nation’s skilled talent. For this up-and-coming generation will ultimately support and sustain our economy, long-term. 

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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Recruit from these Talent Pools for Quality Skilled Workers

IF YOU SOURCE TALENT FOR INDUSTRIAL WORK SITES AND FACTORIES, YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND QUALITY SKILLED WORKERS…

The skilled trades industry is saturated with companies similar to yours that are looking for the same quality talent YOU need. Relying on traditional recruitment processes simply won’t cut it. HR directors, recruiters, and staffing directors alike… are you struggling to find the talent your company needs to grow? If so, you’ll need to explore unique pools of talent that other employers are not tapping into.

The team at CraftForce has identified the following three demographics as majorly overlooked talent pools: 

  1. High-school graduates
  2. Recently laid-off skilled tradespeople
  3. Returning veterans

Check out the following suggestions on recruiting from these demographics. Leave us a comment… How is your company faring in the labor shortage? Have you tried out any of these tactics in building your skilled workforce? Do you face any particular struggles that these tactics don’t address?

1. RECRUIT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

It is no news that college tuition prices are soaring at an unprecedented rate. High school graduates face tremendous stress in deciding whether the promise of a higher income is worth soul-crushing debt . Fortunately, there is a less costly and appealing alternative: a career in the trades. Unfortunately, this alternative is not voiced in our nation’s dialogue on career options. Our youth is all but unaware of the option to pursue a vocation, bombarded by a misconception that  a 4 year degree is the only viable career path.

As experts in our industry are well aware, the fact of the matter is that work in the skilled trades is rewarding, challenging, and pays well. Consider the high cost of a college degree and the two extra years not earning income. Skilled tradesmen will often enter the workforce $140,000 ahead of college graduates.  

This is where you come in. Recruit for a strong skilled workforce early, targeting high schoolers who are exploring career paths. Be sure to communicate the sense of fulfillment that comes with a career in the trades. Here are some ways in which your can build these relationships early on:

  • Attend high school job fairs, career days, and related programs. Showcase the benefits your company has to offer by speaking one on with kids.
  • Build an email list of high school students to send a monthly newsletter filled with facts, opportunities, and news on your industry. Communicating the benefit of a career in the trades with YOUR company is key to attracting future prospects!
  • Sponsor high school athletic programs or club activities to amplify awareness of your company. The appeal of your company’s benefits and culture will catch the attention of high schoolers seeking a meaningful career path.
  • Hold an annual scholarship contest for high schoolers to fund their trade school education. Spark their interest in working for your company.

2. RECRUIT VETERANS

Much to our country’s dismay, unemployed veterans constitute a stark percentage of the population. In 2015, about 495,000 veterans were recorded unemployed; 57% of which were 45 or older. CraftForce is humbled to recognize a groundswell of programs like Helmets to HardHats and Troops to Trade that provide resources to support servicemen and women transitioning into meaningful civilian careers.

Still, we believe that companies play a major role in decreasing the unemployment rate of returning veterans. It comes as no surprise that veterans are in fact some of the most promising and capable candidates to recruit. This is where you can play a part in catalyzing the mutual benefit. Adopt a veteran-hiring program that is aggressively recruiting veterans: a proven, incomparable talent. The following tactics can guide this process:

  • Advertise your services in publications or newsletters written for retired servicemen.

3. RECRUIT LAID-OFF WORKERS

Adults who have been laid off through a plant or mining closure find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. They are highly qualified, with a lifetime of experience, yet out of a job on account – often times – of a volatile economy. Many of these laid-off employees have families to support, which adds to the stress. Build out your recruiting process to attract laid-off workers: an often overlooked talent. The following tips can help with this:

  • Hold or attend community job fairs in communities that have been struck by major layoffs.
  • Provide information about your company to churches, community groups, and other venues that are popular pitstops of the local working class.
  • Advertise your services in local newsletters.
  • Offer on-the-job training, trade-school grants, tuition reimbursement, assistance with childcare costs and other financial incentives that would benefit this demographic.

The foundation of a powerful recruiting process is relationship-building. Like you, the CraftForce team believes in investing in top-quality talent, long term, through meaningful partnerships.

CraftForce is a marketplace for skilled trades. Industrial companies can find top-quality skilled workers to meet the needs of their projects instantly. We provide job site ready skilled workers, handling hiring, training, placement, benefits, disability, and unemployment liability. Once a worker has applied for  a position, we conduct drug tests, run background checks, offer safety training, and call the applicant’s resume references to ensure they are a qualified candidate for the job.

TO DISCOVER HOW CRAFTFORCE’S SERVICES CAN ALLEVIATE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A RECRUITER INTHE SKILLED TRADES, VISIT WWW.CRAFTFORCE.COM
Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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How to Find Skilled Workers During a Labor Shortage

THE SKILLED TRADES ARE MORE COMPETITIVE A BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT TODAY THAN EVER…

Companies need to expand and sustain in the face of a rapidly changing economy. In the construction and manufacturing industries, skilled, experienced workers are core to this growth Unfortunately, our country is in the midst of a major skilled labor shortage. Most companies complain that they can’t find enough skilled workers to fill their projects.

“Many of the skilled workers in the current workforce are baby boomers nearing retirement. And, the demographic projections indicate there are fewer people in the generation behind this retiring group to fill these vacancies.”-Lee Rasch

Fortunately, a little creative footwork can give you the competitive edge over other employers who are vying for the top quality talent you need. Following are five creative tips for attracting your next skilled worker who will help your company grow long term!

1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Have you resisted the trend to join social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn? ….Though it all might seem like unnecessary noise to distract you during your busy days, social media has become a great place to find quality employees.

“Hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly turning to the social web to market their companies to job seekers.” – Joe Budzienski

Social media is not only a powerful tool for companies looking to do business. It’s also a highly effective way of recruiting new employees. On LinkedIn, you can run advanced searches to identify potential candidates in your area. On Facebook, you can post your job openings on your company page and ask employees and friends to share with their friend circles. We promise… the return will be worth your time!

Reach out to local unions and trade schools and ask that they share your openings on their social pages as well. They are often to connected to a multitude of skilled talent looking for new work. And remember… the candidates are out there. The trick is connecting with them. Social media is a powerful tool that allows you to do this instantly.

2. INCENTIVIZE EMPLOYEE REFERRALS

You’ve probably wished you could clone your top performing employees, right? Unfortunately, we’re not quite there technologically. Your second best bet is to incentivize quality referrals from trusted employees. Referral bonuses are a great way to incentivize employees to find new hires for you.

You probably have employees with old friends from trade school or previous jobs. These relationships are valuable connections to trusted tradesmen in the industry. Their network could be chock-full of quality candidates!

3. CONSIDER TEMPS, FREELANCERS, AND STUDENT CO-OPS

Hiring temps, freelancers, and student co-ops is a great way to build a roster of talent from which you can choose when hiring full time. Temp agencies bring on workers for overflow work, alleviating stress on your full-time employees. Freelancers and independent contractors can contribute to small projects short term. This gives you a feel for their work ethic. As always, team up with your local trade schools for co-op prospects.

Not only will you be able to handle the influx of work during busy seasons, but you’ll also have a chance to “audition” new talent before taking on a skilled worker full time. Picking up young prospects as freelancers and student co-ops is an excellent way to bring talent into your company before your competitors pick them up! Talk about smart business during a labor shortage.

4. HOLD AN OPEN INTERVIEW DAY

Need to fill a bunch of jobs fast? Instead of dragging out the hiring process over weeks or even months, knock it out over a weekend through open interview days. Holding an open interview day or job fest at your facility is a great way to quicken the hiring process. Advertise your event in your local paper and on social media, asking local trade schools and co-ops to share. As always, ask your employees to encourage their job seeking friends in the field to come out.

If you market the event well, dozens of candidates could show up. You can find your next great employee (or handful of employees) within a few hours.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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How to Ace Your Skilled Trades Job Interview

NAIL THE INTERVIEW AND LAND THE JOB…

The prospect of interviewing can be a bit daunting. In the construction, manufacturing, and other skilled trades industries, communicating your ability to prospective employers is vital. But with some solid preparation and the right approach, you can ace your skilled trades job interview, no sweat!

There is no good reason to be nervous! Just abide by these “Do’s and Don’ts” to ace your interview and land yourself the job in the trades…

DO…

ARRIVE PREPARED TO WORK.

It is possible that your interview will take place on a manufacturing floor or in a trailer on a construction site. This is because an employer may expect you to prove your abilities on the spot. In anticipation of this, be sure to bring the tools suited for the job for which you’re applying.

As with any interview, of course, always wear clean jeans or slacks, a non-offensive shirt, and adequate footwear. Dressing to impress and bringing your toolset demonstrates that you’re committed to your trade.

BRING A COPY OF ALL APPLICABLE LICENSES AND YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.

Our nation’s construction and manufacturing companies are in the midst of a labor shortage. This means that they need your skills pronto and are often ready to hire immediately. Bring a copy of all licenses, your social security card, and other documentation in the case that you are asked to work the day of your interview.  Arriving with all official documentation tells employers that you’re organized and ready to work.

BE COMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT WORK EXPERIENCE.

Employers seek applicants who can grasp the scope of any project and can handle all kinds of personalities. To show this ability, speak in depth about problems you’ve collaboratively and independently solved on the worksite. You want your prospective employer to know you’re confident working both independently and on a diverse team.

Don’t be afraid to brag! If you have good, relevant experience, share it openly. Need practice? Try delivering your credentials to yourself in the mirror, or videotaping your spiel. Though it may feel awkward, the practice will pay off when it is clear during the job interview that you’re comfortable in your experience and abilities!

DON’T…

BRING AN OUTDATED RESUME.

Glowing recommendations are not enough to set your resume apart. An outstanding resume opens with career goals and identifies the clear value you would bring when hired. Employers seek applicants that are not only goal oriented, but enthusiastic about their company. Flesh out your resume with a qualifications and skills summary, and detailed work history. Make it easy for a prospective employer to scan your resume quickly and understand what value you would bring to their organization.

Constructing the perfect resume can be time-consuming. CraftForce’s free resume building service makes it easier! You can create one quickly by signing up for a free account today! We’ll ask you a few questions about your background and build a professional resume that will showcase your assets perfectly.

FORGET APPLICABLE INDUSTRY STANDARDS.

Reserve a section on your resume for licenses, construction related certifications, training, trade union memberships, and degrees. Employers are looking for applicants with achievements in the field, so this information is valuable! Note the date and location of each certificate so you can verify where and when you earned each one. A resume full of experiences and active licenses sends a strong signal to employers that working hard is part of your DNA.

FUDGE INFORMATION ON A RESUME.

Being honest during an interview is the best route if you want to land the job you’re qualified for, especially in the skilled trades. Most employers run a background check on potential hires, so don’t withhold anything that might turn up! Honesty is, as they say, the best policy.

An excellent resume is transparent with a natural flow and proper grammar and spelling. Human Resources managers and recruiters seek out these resumes and typically trash the others that appear deceitful or are hard to read. The time you invest into your resume, using CraftForce’s free service, will pay off!

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Looking for a tool that will help you find your next job in the trades? CraftForce’s powerful platform was built for tradesmen and women seeking fulfilling job opportunities in their field. After signing up, you can:

  • Search through 1,000’s of job opportunities
  • Sign up to receive real-time notifications on openings that match your specific criteria
  • Communicate directly with employers
  • Find work anywhere in the country
  • Apply for jobs with one click

The best part? It’s totally free. What are you waiting for? Sign up for a free account with CraftForce and kickstart your career TODAY by clicking here.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

5 Ways to Land Your First Job in the Trades

…SO YOU’VE JUST GRADUATED FROM TRADE SCHOOL AND YOU’RE READY TO START YOUR CAREER. 

Congratulations! A career in the trades can be fulfilling, fun, and lucrative. First, though, you have to land your first job.

Your trade school may have a number of resources to help you get started. They may have a co-op program to help you transition into full­-time work. Or they might help you move into your local union’s apprenticeship program.

If those options aren’t available, though, you may have to do your own legwork. The good news is that there’s high demand for most skills in the trades. If you are a reliable worker who is willing to learn, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding work. Below are a few options you may want to consider as you look for your first job.

1. CREATE A RESUME

Before you start knocking on doors and applying for jobs, prepare a resume to showcases your skills and education. You’d be surprised how many applicants for trade industry jobs don’t have resumes. If you take the time to create one, you’ll be one big step ahead of other applicants.

Most resumes highlight work experience, though you may not have much of that, if any. If this is the case, go in ­depth about your schooling. Jot bullet points to highlight courses you took, projects you completed, and unique skills you acquired. Be sure to also list any work or co-­op experience that you have had. The most important thing is that the resume be clean, polished, and easy to read.

Not sure how to create a resume? No problem. You can create one for free on CraftForce. Simply sign up for a membership and answer a few questions about your background and education. CraftForce takes this information and creates a professional resume for you. Bring this resume with you to interviews and and you’re already one step ahead of most candidates!

2. BE PROACTIVE

No matter your skill set, there are jobs out there. Employers aren’t going to beat down your door, though. You have to be proactive and get out there to find them.

One way to do this is to spend some time researching local employers online that you may want to work with. Don’t just look for companies that have job openings posted online, make a list of all the companies that might be a good fit for you. If you’re a machinist, make a list of local machine shops. If you’re a carpenter, make a list of builders, remodelers, and contractors. You get the idea.

Next, start making phone calls. Ask for the general manager or whomever is in charge of hiring. When you get them on the phone, simply introduce yourself and briefly explain what you’re looking for. They’ll either have jobs available or they won’t. The worst that can happen is that they don’t have any openings.

Either way, they will likely be impressed by your professionalism and will keep you in mind for future openings. This will expand your network. A big network is always a good thing to have as you advance your career!

3. LOOK FOR APPRENTICESHIPS

Apprenticeships are a great way to start a career! Though you may get paid a little less than you would at a normal full­-time job, the experience will qualify you to earn more at your next gig, paying off over the span of your career.

Ask your trade school to connect you with any apprenticeship opportunities. Also, reach out to your local union. Most have apprenticeship programs that will place you with a great employer.

4. NETWORK

The best jobs are often landed through a network of friends, coworkers, and classmates. Want to hear about job openings before they’re even posted online? Build a big network within the industry. Great contacts can also put in a good word for you, giving you a leg up. A big network is always a valuable asset.

Make an effort to get to know everyone in your trade school and keep in touch with them after you graduate. You never know who could give you a great referral! Also, ask your school if you can reach out to alumni. Many of them will be in the workforce, so they may know about potential openings. They also may be eager to help someone who is just starting out in the industry.

Don’t be afraid to connect with people. Your connections are often your most powerful tool when it comes to finding a new job.

5. USE CRAFTFORCE

So… we’ve chalked up some of the most solid pointers for landing your first job in the skilled trades. Exciting stuff, eh?! In following these guidelines and leaning on the right resources, you’ll be employed and advancing in your career in no time.

If you’re looking for an additional resource that’ll make the job search process even easier, look no further than CraftForce’s online job-search platform. With a powerful engine that locates opportunities in the your field, instantly, CraftForce will have you gainfully employed in no time. You simply create a free account and profile describing the type of work you’re looking for. Our search engine finds job openings that meet your criteria (completing what’s otherwise known as “the hard part” of finding a job).

The opportunities are out there! It’s just on you to find them. With a little smart effort, you can and will land your first job, taking your  first step in a long and fulfilling career in the trades! ‘One small step for man… one giant leap for…’ you get the idea.

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Photo credit: vonderauvisuals via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 
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