How to Find an Electrician Job When You’re Just Starting Out
LOOKING TO GET YOUR START IN THE ELECTRICAL TRADE, BUT NOT SURE HOW TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR?
February 17, 2021
Maybe you have a relative or friend who works in the electrical trade, you’ve heard their stories, and the job (and pay!) sounds great. Or maybe you don’t know anybody in a skilled trade, and don’t know much about electrical work in general, but think a career in the industry looks promising.
Either way, you’d like to get to work on a jobsite, but you just aren’t sure where to start. First things first: in California, you must be a card-carrying electrical trainee or a registered apprentice. Both are eligible to take the certification test at the end of their respective program. To obtain an electrical trainee card, or to become an apprentice, you must enroll in a state- or federally approved training program. You can do just that at I-TAP—we offer 26-week trainee and 5-year apprenticeship training programs, designed to get you the knowledge and experiences needed to get your foot in the door with employers.
But maybe you want to start building connections before taking on the financial obligation and time commitment of enrolling in a training program. Here is a brief rundown of common ways that people like you started down the path to working as electricians.
Know someone who’s an electrician or works in construction? Use those connections!
The electrical field, and construction in general, is a very old-school industry. Word of mouth and knowing people in the business has a lot of value.
If you have a relative or a friend who is an electrician, or who works in construction, ask them questions. Pick their brains. If they know someone who is hiring laborers, they might be willing to move you up to an electrical trainee position once you start your schooling.
And there you go—you have some momentum already built as you start your training. If you know somebody who works in the industry, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Don’t know someone in the electrical business? There are other ways to connect with people in the industry.
Some professional tradespeople use LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online platforms and tools to connect with people in the industry. This is a good way to build connections, especially during the pandemic.
LinkedIn is like a career-focused social network. But you don’t need to have had a long career or robust resume to create a profile. Even people just starting out can use it to contact those already established in their careers.
The same goes for other social media networks, like Facebook. Consider reaching out to people you know work in the electrical industry. You can also search around for local electrician Facebook groups. Try searching something like “[Your Location] + construction group,” “electrician group,” and other similar keywords. Use Facebook’s filters to show only the “Group” results. Once you’ve found some helpful groups, try posting a message asking for help on your path to becoming an electrician.
This will take a bit of work—there is a chance people won’t respond, and you definitely don’t want to spam people and risk annoying them—but if just one or two people get back to you, you’ll be well on your way.
Also consider alternatives to electrical work as a way to get a foot in the door. During non-Covid times, going around to local construction companies (electrical companies won’t be able to hire you unless you hold a trainee card but that doesn’t mean they can’t go talk to them. A lot of companies will hire you as you are in the process of training. At the very least, speaking with pros in the industry is always a good idea. Put on a clean pair of pants and a work shirt—a suit and tie are a bit much—and start knocking on doors and introducing yourself.
Be sure to ask how best to apply for a job. Some companies may be willing to schedule an appointment with you to discuss hiring. Others may want you to turn in a paper application or fill out an online form.
As with networking over social media, don’t expect success right off the bat. Some businesses may decline to talk. If you’re putting your best foot forward and are positive and clear about your willingness to work your way up from the bottom, many will respect your drive despite your lack of experience.
It helps to have a basic plan for starting your electrical career drawn up—either in your head or on paper—that you can provide if asked.
For instance: “My goal is to ultimately sign up for a 5-year training program at I-TAP, but I think it’s important to get the basics down and learn what it’s like working out in the field. So, I’d like to work for 6 months to a year on the jobsite doing basic labor before I sign up for my classes. Whenever you have a position open for an electrical trainee, I hope that you would consider me at that time. But until I have the skills you’re looking for in a trainee, I’m willing to work hard at whatever job you’ll consider me for.”
Your plan may look a little different, but the basic idea is to be prepared with some sort of short- and long-term plan.
Coming up with a career plan—not necessarily a definitive plan, just the general idea of one—might seem hard to do at first. But just think about it: you already know you want to connect with people in the electrical industry to learn what it’s all about. So, that’s your short-term plan right there. Now think about where you want to be in 3 to 5 years. Once you figure that out, you can really talk about your goals with people who may help and/or hire you.
Contacting I-TAP or signing up for a class now is also a great way to find jobs.
Believe it or not, many of our students have referred one another both to us for electrical training, and for jobs as well. If you send us a message through our contact form, or give us a call at (916) 269-9263, you’ll have a chance to see what we have to offer, and talk to some of our current students.
Take the time to ask them how they got jobs, what it’s like starting out as a new trainee electrician, and if they have any ideas where you can get your foot in the door. You’ll discover that our students, and electricians in general, are a supportive and helpful bunch.
Whether you give us a call or take your own path, if you work hard at it, you’ll almost certainly find your way to a promising career working as an electrician.
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.