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View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Getting a job?

by Beginningwoodworker
posted 05-03-2012 02:43 PM

38 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17311 posts in 2975 days

#1 posted 05-03-2012 02:47 PM

Keep knocking on the doors CJ eventually one will open for you. Make sure you have a resume handy. I find that in construction a well written resume will give you a leg up on the competition. I wish ya luck my man.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 05-03-2012 02:53 PM

I had wrote a good resume that got me a job interview, but I lost it because my computer had got a virus.

View lew's profile


12019 posts in 3724 days

#3 posted 05-03-2012 03:04 PM

Persistence, CJ, persistence!!! Keep at them. If they say no the first 3 times, go back the forth time OR MORE.

If you want a job with a specific company don’t give up! Keep your name and face in front of them. Keep checking back every week. Don’t wait for them to call you- you call them!

About that resumé, if you still have a paper copy, take it to a friend or to Staples/Office Depot/Office Max and have them scan it into a digital format and burn it onto a disk or flash drive.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View chrisstef's profile


17311 posts in 2975 days

#4 posted 05-03-2012 03:33 PM

Considering that they cannot see how you work at an interview that piece of paper has to be the key to letting them know. Id be more than happy to send you some kind of template for a good solid resume, just let me know.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2330 days

#5 posted 05-03-2012 03:48 PM

The construction business in many areas is so bad that even highly experienced carpenters are out of work. If you’re in one of those areas, the odds of landing a job with no experience is nil. That says you should consider another line of work or even moving somewhere that has building activity.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Tennessee's profile


2862 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 05-03-2012 03:59 PM

I live in an area where construction is still fairly active, (SE Tennessee around Chattanooga), and still, there are many unemployed in your field. I work days for a mechanical contractor, and we actually took on two good carpenters as day laborers because they know their way around a lot of the jobs we do in older buildings.

When I recently stopped in at a local hardwood supplier, she had 1” prime oak planked, planed for $2.00 a board ft. Cabinet grade quality. Had AAA flame maple lying next to it for $5.00. When I asked her why so cheap, she said the cabinet guys are in the tank and it just lays on the pallets. I watched them making specialty pallets out of oak I would make tables out of, as she said, “to stay in business”. It was sickening…
Not trying to burst your bubble, but until the used housing market gets sold off, not much going on, and with the unemployment where it is, including all the under-employed, not many people even doing repairs or additions.
At least not in my area…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#7 posted 05-03-2012 03:59 PM

I went to school to become a carpenter so I thought that was work experienced.

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#8 posted 05-03-2012 04:01 PM

If you know what job you want and are qualified for it, keep at it. .

Persistence… and when that doesn’t work, try persistence.

Identify the companies that will best value your services and keep on them. Offer to work for free for a trial period if need be. If an employer can see your value to his company, they will want you as an employee.

People get all out of shape about 10% un-employment, but, that still means 90% employment. People ARE working. You just have to show you are above the 10th percentile—that’s not very hard.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View WoodSpanker's profile


519 posts in 3361 days

#9 posted 05-03-2012 04:01 PM

The key IS persistence, as many others have said already. The economy is still a wee bit under the weather, but I hear tell construction should be picking up relatively soon-ish. WHo knows though. Keep trying, it is the only way to make things happen! :)

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#10 posted 05-03-2012 04:02 PM

I know housing is bad, but I still need a job. My woodworking is on hold because I cant afford it.

View cabmaker's profile


1723 posts in 2778 days

#11 posted 05-03-2012 09:04 PM

Surprise CJ ! I commend you for going to school after that certificate and all but Im sure your seeing that the certificate program is for the school, not you . In other words, it will carry little or no weight with a potential employer in the construction trades. Best bet is to sub some demo, decking or what ever you can get. Youve got to get some hands on under your belt. There are loads of extremely experianced hands out there that would work for whatever they could get right now. Even doing some jobsite cleanup at a reasonable price would get you in the loop. Its a tough journey but enjoy it ! JB

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#12 posted 05-03-2012 09:24 PM

Hey Charles
I’ve been a contractor for 25 years and I get calls all the time for folks looking for work and many of them with tons of experience saying they will take any work even clean up at minimum wage.Like many folk work is very slow for me. All I can say is the same as the others keep on trying ,it helps if you call or stop the same folks over and over because in my position I get so many calls from people wanting work I forget who calls even when I take their number. So when you touch base with some one tell them your name be friendly an don’t spend to much of the persons time just remind them of your name and that you called last week and that you will call next week again. You might also check in with all the temp agencies and do the same thing with them. My father said that when your unemployed you job was looking for a job. Good luck and keep on trucking.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#13 posted 05-03-2012 09:33 PM

Thanks for the tips guys!

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3721 days

#14 posted 05-03-2012 10:30 PM

CJ, the best thing for you to do is get a business license and the minimum insurance required as a contractor. Get a Class “C” license to start out with. Alot of states do not require testing for a Class “C”. They may require a 1-2 day course.

1. Get some business cards and hand them out to every REO/real estate agent that you can find.
2. Post your cards at home owner associations, malls, coffee shops, etc. etc. etc.
3. Have your friends network for you as well. (word of mouth)
4. Strike up conversations with small contractors at Lowes and HD. ( electrical, plumbin, hvac guys).
5. I handed off many jobs to other contractors, and they took good care of me in return.
6. Learn other trades like drywall, roofing, minor plumbing, flooring.

Be deadly honest about your limitations. Branch out with other skills as you develope them.

It might be scary at first, but trust me… will never look for another job. Right now is actually a great time to be a small contractor depending on your area. Alot of folks are staying put and remodeling thier homes instead buying up. Real estate/REO is booming with repo’s that need work for resale. If you need any more info, send me a PM and I’ll give you my cell#.

Getting laid off 3 years ago was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am almost totally independent right now, other than a little field service work I do for a local real estate broker. My current license is still a Class “C” and thats fine. I dont want the 100K jobs. I will have my real estate license in a few months as well.

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#15 posted 05-03-2012 10:37 PM

I was going to suggest going out on your own, but wasn’t sure, since it is not for everyone.

About three years ago, I was “involuntarily self-employed” myself for about 11 months until I finally found a company hiring for my position. During that time, I was able to beat the bushes and drum up enough small jobs in my area that I successfully replaced 100% of my income.

Some of those clients still come to me for thier projects and it is a good suplimentary income.
Keep at it. Keep busy. You’ll do great things!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View jack1's profile


2103 posts in 3996 days

#16 posted 05-04-2012 12:46 AM

What ever you do. Do Not Give Up. I’ve seen your work and you do good. The next time you get an interview, bring pictures of what you have done. I would think you would fit right in with finish work or cabinet making/instillation company. I know it’s a tough time but you’re tough. Hang in bud.


-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#17 posted 05-04-2012 01:43 AM

I never really though about going into business for myself.

View George Coles's profile

George Coles

183 posts in 2414 days

#18 posted 05-04-2012 02:54 AM

I remember how I got my first job in cabinet making in Australia. I went to the company and told them that I wanted to learn. Even though I had some experience. I asked them to let me work for them at no pay doing anything. Within 2 weeks, they told me that they would pay me labor/helper wages. I then went on to be signed on as an apprentice within 3 months. Not an easy way to get a job, but in my case it worked. Now I am retired in the Philippines and doing some cabinet work here, mainly as a hobby. I get many young men wanting to learn who come to me and offer to work for free just for the chance to learn. I have put two on and pay them minimum wage as I don’t make much money here. Don’t know if you can still do this in the US but may be worth a try.

-- George Coles,

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8168 posts in 2546 days

#19 posted 05-04-2012 03:09 AM

+100 for Shipwreck.

That’s some sage advice and it will do you well to heed it CJ. That shaker cabinet you made for your Mom will look great in your customer’s home. With some extra lumber make some cutting boards and put them on Craigslist.
Get your business cards, website, email, and T-shirts happening. Put a magnetic sticker on your truck. That alone will get you work.

CJ’s cabinetry at your service.

If you need any help, just ask.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#20 posted 05-04-2012 03:59 AM

I dont have a truck so starting a construction business is going to be hard!

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3160 days

#21 posted 05-04-2012 05:49 AM

I have never been unemployed more than a week or two…The secret is in numbers: I will spend a few days
finding out every shop within 50 miles. I print resumes so I do not have to fill out job applications. I never give my ss # that is upon request and only privileged info upon hire. If they insist I fill out an application, I write my name and phone # and staple my my resume to it (SEE ATTACHED). Every secretary, every boss, every janitor I ask if they know who is hiring. My rule is that I have to drop off 10 applications a day- 50 a week-200 a month.
My resume is one, page directed at what is important to to the employer skill and experience, and education. I also use my nights to research what prospective employers do or have done, they are very impressed when I can
accurately tell them about themselves and why I want to contribute to there work. It is always about the employer and how you can help them. It is always about how I can help them achieve there goals. Follow this proceedure and you will find a job.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3721 days

#22 posted 05-04-2012 08:42 AM

These are interesting times right now. You can cut the uncertainty with a knife. I am on great terms with my former employer and stop by for a coffee now and then. They used to have 85-90 regular employess and now have about 25. They are scared “shitless” about what is coming at them with all the new laws that are still pending. All the work they have right now is being subbed out to the hispanics because of this.

I am sure scenarios like this are going on all over the USA.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2645 days

#23 posted 05-05-2012 01:11 PM

Time for some brutal truth. Change careers. You can always change back or use your carpentry skills as a hobby or for side jobs.

The construction industry can’t support someone in your position right now – no experience.
Yea – you might get hired for a while on one jobsite – if you know someone.

As a contractor with a small cabinet shop, I had eight very qualified carpenters and cabintmakers working for me and now, I’m down to one helper @ 10 dollars hr. averaging 12 to 32 hrs. a week.

I have journeyman carpenters who had their own remodeling company with four or six employees calling me looking for a job. One guy started crying – I swear to God!

If I hadn’t spent 25 years building a rock solid reputation in the wealthy town of Lake Forest Il., I wouldn’t have any work at all. The phone only rings when someone wants a job or to sell me windows and siding. I stopped answering it.

I sat in my shop last night until 8 pm talking to a friend who had a million dollar cabinet shop – he just went bankrupt and lost it all. He didn’t even have enough tools to do a remodeling job because the bankruptcy laws are so strict, they took everything. He says he hasn’t worked in 2 years so he signed up for a class to be an insurance adjuster.

Last – I don’t know why these guys are telling you to start your own business in construction.

Come on guys – seriously? Now?

Maybe – if you are planning to start a landscaping/ maintenance company, gutter cleaning and power washing, House painting and window cleaning, you might find work and do OK on your own. Anything is worth a try.

If you do find a remodeling job prospect, get a good carpenter to hire you as his apprentice to do the job.
Considering your grammar, he can help you in writing a good contract which will also help sell the job.

If I were able to start over and knew I was going to be in this postion today, I might have decided to be a HVAC mechanic or a plumber, maybe an electrician; Especially the service industry. You can make a lot of money and the work is always there. Kinda boring compared to building a walnut hutch in my shop but at least I’m working full time with good benefits and insurance.

Something to think about.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3721 days

#24 posted 05-05-2012 02:25 PM

reedwood, sorry to hear about your business. But a cabinet shop cannot be compared to a handyman/home repair business. A cabinet shop is a “1 trick pony”. A handyman business should be able to take care of a house top to bottom, and that leaves you open for most any repair that does not require a trade specific permit. Even then, you can have a network of friends from various trades to pull a permit for you when those jobs pop up. Networking with other small contractors can open alot of doors when considering what jobs to take on. My electrical and HVAC buddies will do thier own take off’s and throw a good number at me to compile with my overall estimate. We all make a buck.

I do most everything…... Light framing, drywall, electrical, flooring, roofing, painting, cabinet installs, plumbing, trim, stairs, decks…. etc. etc. etc. If you limit yourself to 1 specific trade…. you will go hungry.

The only small business associates I know that are going hungry are the ones who are strictly trade specific, the rest are doing pretty well. I am turning down a alot of work right now as I am getting close to the limits of a Class C license. I have no desire for a A or B.

There is plenty of opportunity out there for a guy who is not afraid to learn different skills. You can work for the man if it makes you feel comfortable, but it also makes you dependent.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#25 posted 05-05-2012 02:27 PM

I thought about a career change, but I am 28 years old soon to be 29 years old. So I am getting to old to change careers.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3721 days

#26 posted 05-05-2012 02:41 PM

Your 28? I retired from the Navy at 38 and started over. I bought a truck (semi) and hauled freight for 6 years until i got bored with it. I started doing dywall at 44 years old and was eventually moved to estimating. I got laid off at 51 years old and started a home repairs business. Im 54 now and am working on my real estate license. I plan on keeping my business after i get my license.

Get off yer butt (j/k)...........I think you are plenty young. :)

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3078 days

#27 posted 05-05-2012 02:42 PM

Charles, it is a tough job market out there but don’t get discouraged. Bottom line is that effort will eventually pay off. And, besides, what other choice do we have but to try right? Personally, my advice is to neither discredit any of the skills you currently possess and to never hesitate on picking up new skills as things go along. I work in the IT field but always dabble in things.

A few years ago, a buddy and I replaced the roof on a portion of my house. I am not a roofer and that was my only job, but if the market were tight and I knew someone that would hire a roofer, I would point out that I knew how to use a roofing nailer, had cut tiles, laid out flashing, etc. Experience is experience. I never discredit my time in the shop because using saws, planers, hand tools, etc. are job skills. I had to replace plumbing pipe in my house, mix and pour concrete for a slab, do some soldering, etc. All functions that I had to learn and go with.

Work on your resume, include your woodworking skills, don’t hesitate to mention the furniture builds, work on your shed, and construction you have done for yourself and others. In your free time, offer your assistance to friends and acquaintances who are in different areas of expertise (roofers, plumbers, electricians, etc.) that could use a hand with home projects or the projects they are hired for. Those people can teach you a great deal and every bit of education and experience you can claim counts, even if it is unpaid. Keep putting your name and resume out there. Have photos of your handiwork handy to display for job interviews. Don’t fluff, keep all of your experience and knowledge honest and eventually it will pay off.

Good luck bud,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3721 days

#28 posted 05-05-2012 02:45 PM

Ditto David. Aim High!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#29 posted 05-05-2012 02:54 PM

Guys thanks,for the encouragement.

View patcollins's profile


1683 posts in 2834 days

#30 posted 05-06-2012 03:54 PM

Hell I went to college for 5 years, spent 3 more getting a graduate degree, worked 12 years in my field and am thinking of a career change because I’m bored.

Part of it is where you live too, contractors/handymen here charge an arm and a leg and still get away with it. The overbuilding, cheap loans, and hubris of the early 00’s when it came to houses contributed to todays tough market, soon as people have less disposable income they slap a coat of paint on it instead of replacing it.

To start a successful buisness I would say start by undercutting the competition, do a good job, and dont pull the bullshit alot of contractors do with their customers.

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#31 posted 05-07-2012 04:25 PM

A lot of people are complaining about the slow down, and with good cause.
In 2007 in Phoenix, we issued 60,000 residential building permits. In 2011 we issued just 7,000.

When the slow down hit, two things happened;
1) The outfits just getting by when times were good, failed and went out of busisness.
2) The outfits that could weather the storm, had no huge debts, etc, got really, really busy.

It happens because fewer companies are around to handle the available work.
I saw it happen in the early 90’s and again recently. The company I’m working for is extemely busy right now.

Bottom line: If you offer good value, either to an employer, or a client, and you are agressively persistent, you will be busy as well—and that is in ANY market.

Keep busy—good things will happen.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#32 posted 05-07-2012 04:28 PM

P.S. The real estate market in Phoenix has reportedly been reduced to a 0.8 month supply of sales.
The shortage has propped up the housing market and prices have rebounded 20% since January.

Residential construction appears to be on the up swing. It is a PERFECT time to start a business as long as you can do it smartly. (i.e. no debt)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DrDirt's profile


4423 posts in 3711 days

#33 posted 05-08-2012 04:33 PM

I think that DS makes a good point, however it is important that Montgomery Alabama and Phoenix Arizona are going to be very different markets. Construction in the south may be struggling for some time.

One thought I had is that you might attach a one page sheet that has 3-4 or your projects on it. Don’t need professional photos or anything, but perhaps something that can grab the potential employers attention, and show that although you may be looking for the first real position, you know your way around a job and do good work.

I also like Georges point (Comment 18) you need a way to get in the door to prove yourself. Cutting grass keeps the groceries on the table, but isn’t helping you gain some wood/construction credibility.

Like others said…. you are WAY young.

P.S. ALWAYS BE SUPER nice to the secretaries. NOTHING happens in a business without their approval. If you come accross pushy, they will just toss your resume in the trash, rather than pass it around.
It is not uncommon in the corporate world that when they have someone coming for an INTERVIEW – - they will have the secretary be a Bitch, just to test you.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#34 posted 05-08-2012 04:45 PM

My employer has been continuously looking for skilled workers since last fall.
We can’t find people.
Need electricians, plumbers, riggers, fitters, welders, drivers.
Must be drug free, and prove it.

I know you are not here, and I’m not suggesting you move, but if you can meet any of the above requirements I’d suggest you apply to some general contractors. Many are busy as can be. We are not alone in the need for trades people.

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2835 days

#35 posted 05-08-2012 07:43 PM

My son in law is certified to operate just about every piece of heavy equipment except cranes. His last job was on a casino/hotel in Las Vegas and they stopped it in mid stride with $Billion already in it. It’s just been sitting there collecting dust and costing interest. My son in law is competant in reading the blueprints inside and out in a place like that and had several hundred skilled men under him. He hasn’t been able to find any construction work in over 3 years except for working for a company putting in a sewage line but that played out after after two or three months. Work is hard to come by these days. I’m 61 and I’ve never seen it this bad. He’s working for a scaffold manufacturer until things come back but not for anything close to what he was getting paid.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2660 days

#36 posted 05-09-2012 07:22 PM

If you do think about moving, there’s an oil boom in North Dakota fueling all sorts of jobs. The problem there is the lack of housing. Sounds like an opportunity for someone with some construction skills who can get their butt up there, even for a few months.

Just doing a quick scan of craigslist for North Dakota turned up all sorts of jobs, and it doesn’t sound like they much care about experience, they just want people who will show up ready to work.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2389 days

#37 posted 05-09-2012 08:14 PM

My employer has been looking for a new shop forman for about two months now.
Good pay, good beni’s—no such luck finding qualified candidates, so far.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View patcollins's profile


1683 posts in 2834 days

#38 posted 05-09-2012 09:43 PM

helluvawreck, what happened in Las Vegas is unreal. The first time I was there was 2001 and they were blowing stuff up (got to see the desert inn blown up!) to make room for new stuff, the second time was in 2009 and I couldnt believe all the half completed abondoned buildings.

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