Advice on getting a woodworking job

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Forum topic by drewnahant posted 05-12-2011 07:15 PM 1687 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3114 days

05-12-2011 07:15 PM

I guess this isnt too specific to woodworking, though I am hoping to find a job in the woodworking field, but here it goes.

I am looking for a job, and the problem is that my resume isnt great, for the past few years I have been in college, and only been employed in the summer, and work independantly as a handyman, and building custom pieces in my shop during the winter…..All those gaps in official employment dont look very good. I know that if I got the opportunity to talk in person, I’d be hired ( I have been hired for every job I got an interview for), but nobody will talk to you unless they like the resume. If someone would let me, I’d work a day for free in their shop just to show them what I can do, of course that causes all kinds of insurance issues for them, so it probably wont happen.

I guess I am looking for advice from anyone who has been employed in a cabinet shop or similar location, or from a manager or owner at such a place.

By the way, I live north of Boston. if anyone has an opportunity for me in the area, or knows someone who does, I’d love to talk.

Thanks in advance.

6 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2718 days

#1 posted 05-12-2011 07:24 PM

I really wish I could help you. Maybe you could spin your resume without the chronological employment history. Maybe break it into a relevant skills section, etc. I’m a doctor so I’ve got about 10 versions of my resume depending upon who wants it. If you feel like the resume is painting an inaccurate picture of yourself, go a little nontraditional with it. I wish you the best of luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View chrisstef's profile


17424 posts in 3031 days

#2 posted 05-12-2011 07:40 PM

Maybe you can use some photos in your resume to highlight your skills, kind of like a photographers portfolio. IMO im of the “dont tell me show me” camp which is probably par for the course with most woodworkers. Good luck.

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

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2718 days

#3 posted 05-12-2011 07:45 PM

I really like Chrisstef’s suggestion. Why not approach it more like an artisan than a potential employee? I know nothing of putting together an artist’s portfolio but that sounds like a wonderful idea.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 05-12-2011 07:50 PM

Start calling shops and ask if they have a call for part-time or full-time help.

Sending resumes to cabinet shops is not likely to be effective. Call shops
and you’ll talk to some people who don’t have time for you and some that
do. Then you go in and show some pictures of what you’ve done and
so forth.

Starting off, you’ll probably be tasked with sanding. It depends on the shop.

Don’t take a job with a shop doing work you fine lame. Boston is an affluent
area and even in down-times there’s plenty of high-end work being done

There’s a shop in MA that has an apprenticeship-to-mastery program for their
employees. I read about it a few years back. It’s like school combined with
a job. The guys that get accepted and stick with it get trained to build
the Queen Anne furniture and other stuff.

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3306 days

#5 posted 05-12-2011 08:11 PM

Don’t puff up your resume. In fact, don’t even offer it unless asked, just fill out the application. Be honest in the interview and explain you’re eager to learn how your prospective employer does things. I worked in the trade and quickly learned not to take people’s claims too seriously. It’s likely the guy who claims to be a woodworking wizard can’t, in reality, find his @ss with both hands. You might take some photos of your work to an interview if you have a good body of work to show.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2797 days

#6 posted 05-12-2011 10:08 PM

I don’t know anything about woodworking as a profession, but as someone who has hired several people I can offer you my opinion.

As stated before, woodworking is as much as an art form as photography or other artsy jobs. Look up artist based resume templates, usually these templates have high colored pictures of your own work built into the resume.

Another thing to consider is building a resume holder out of wood. It would be as something as complex as a hinged folder, or as simple as a small clip. These can be time consuming and/or expensive so make sure the place has an opening before using this tactic. Not only does it show off your tallents, but it also makes the potential employer feel like you care more about the position.

I wish you luck in your job search.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

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