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05-19-2011, 11:51 PM #1
Another fresh-faced tech-school grad. SE WI.
Yessir, another one. I can already sense the veterans rolling their eyes and chuckling. I'm not entirely sure if this is as much a 'job wanted' post as it is me laying out a mission statement for myself, but I figure it can't hurt.
I'm 26 years old, a native of the Milwaukee area, and I've recently completed the AAS of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology at Milwaukee Area Technical College. And, as such, it's time for me to attempt to enter the HVAC workforce and the first stepping-stone of an HVAC career.
As to why I decided to enter this field, I'll explain. Straight out of high school (2003) I immediately began attending a four-year college. While doing that, I picked up a job working with the maintenance department of my local municipal water utility. I really enjoyed the technical nature of it, and helping (read: I was bigger and taller than him so I was the one who always had to lift things or lean on the pipe wrenches) the resident HVAC guy there with the boilers, or the dehumidifiers in the pipe gallery was what initially got me thinking about this as a career. By the time I was almost done with my four-year degree (which I did earn) I had already decided to immediately pursue a degree in HVACR from one of the local tech schools, which I've done and here I am.
Unfortunately, every employer looking for a tech with 5+ years of experience (lovin' this current job market...) for the few jobs that are currently advertised and available puts me at a big disadvantage. That, and the fact that I'm a person who learns by doing, not by reading books and listening to lectures. One hour of hands-on time teaches more than 10 hours of lecture, in my opinion. Nothing against MATC or their (very good) instructors, but lab time is always limited and I'm the sort who can always use more.
So, I'm looking for that one job. You know, the gofer. The shop grunt. The lowest man on the totem pole. I'm not expecting to make 40k a year fresh out of school, and I'm not expecting the best job ever to just be handed to me. What I'm looking for is a genuine learning and working experience, that through a combination of hard work and experience, will turn me into a proper HVAC technician.
Now, I'll never pretend that I know every trick and trap of HVAC and refrigeration (who does?) but I did learn the basics at school. I can tell you what superheat and subcooling are, I can draw a basic cycle with refrigerant states for you, I understand why a centrifugal blower draws less amperage when blowing against dirty filters, I can solder copper together without burning off my eyebrows, I understand a TXV's function, I get the basics of DDC and pneumatics, I can make use of PT cards and charts, I can put on gages and do recoveries, I can wire a thermostat...those sorts of things. I also have practical mechanical experiences, both from previous jobs and my own hobbies, so I won't be staring confusedly at tools or trying to install bolts backwards. The rest will have to come from experiences learned in the wild.
Will I work hard? You better believe I will. I'm not a stranger to it. Will I bat an eye at 10-hour days. No. Will I be grumbly when I'm told to lug the furnace down Mrs. Smith's basement stairs (and the old one back up again)? No. Will I be surprised when you tell me to get to the shop at 5am? No. (My current job starts at 4am anyway). Will I refuse to read tech manuals or take part in additional training or education because I'm not paid for it? No.
Will I listen intently to everything I'm told, make notes of everything I see, and do my best to make the most effective use of that new information? Absolutely YES. I also do intend to better myself and improve my versatility once I've found a job. ASHOPE III and II, welding classes and a structural cert, some sheetmetal classes somewhere, things that will turn me into a more valuable member of a team.
At this point I'm not terribly picky. Residential, light commercial/commercial, HVAC or refrigeration...if you need a body and are willing to work with a newbie, I'm more than willing to take on the challenge. And, since I've no practical field experience, I haven't yet picked up any bad habits or become set in my ways...my mind is yours for moulding.
I'm a bit wary of posting my email address to a site like this, so if anyone actually does wish to learn more about me, or read a resume, a personal line dropped via the board will work just fine for me.
Thanks for reading!
05-21-2011, 12:59 AM #2Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- Southwest Missouri
If you want to learn a lot about the HVAC job market in a hurry, call up a few HVAC contractors and offer to work for them for free until they think you're worthy of any wage. See what happens.
05-21-2011, 01:23 AM #3
05-22-2011, 10:29 PM #4Professional Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
05-23-2011, 06:40 AM #5"Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it's profitable."
05-23-2011, 01:10 PM #6
Add to it the mechanical abilities you currently possess, and your realistic expectations regarding work, hours, and pay........You should have no problem landing a job in less than a week.
.....keep us in the loop....."The problem is the average person isn’t tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and it’s not in the movies they watch, and it’s not in the few books that they buy, they don’t get it" - Jack Canfield
05-23-2011, 09:15 PM #7
Thanks for the encouragement, guys!
I've been a little slow in sending out resumes, thanks to life and it's usual curveballs keeping me busy (my neighbor managing to smash his car into the ONLY other car parked on my street - mine! - being the most recent surprise didn't help), but now I've finally got some time to myself which means it's time to look for a job!
furnacedoc, I'll be sending you an email shortly.
Last edited by Andr00; 05-23-2011 at 09:38 PM.
05-24-2011, 07:32 PM #8
Here's a question for the more experienced guys.
Cold calling potential employers.
What would you react best to? A walk-in? A phone call from someone looking to set up a future meeting? Or a mailing which lets you see immediately see a resume and whatever else, with the option to make contact up to you?
Like most places in the United States, the area I live in is pretty dead for work, and the few places that do need someone only want 5+ years of experience...and keep posting their want ads over and over and over. I guess they're experiencing difficulty in finding that person...har har har. So, before too long I'm just going to start making contacts on my own, but I'm wondering what your average shop manager/owner would react best to.
Personally, I'd rather do the walking-in, but maybe that wouldn't be for the best.
05-24-2011, 08:10 PM #9
Without a doubt walk in, show up with clean work clothes and well oiled work shoes. A firm hand shake and direct eye contact is a pretty good way to introduce yourself.
05-24-2011, 08:19 PM #10
HVAC Supply house
Dont over look your local HVAC supply houses as as huge potential to network.
The guys behind the counter know all the heavy players in your area.
05-26-2011, 03:12 PM #11
OH GOD PANIC!
Well, not really but...
Landed an interview. My first since finishing tech school and probably not my last either, heh. It's not a residential shop. Refrigeration job.
05-26-2011, 04:45 PM #12"The problem is the average person isn’t tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and it’s not in the movies they watch, and it’s not in the few books that they buy, they don’t get it" - Jack Canfield
05-26-2011, 04:49 PM #13
Next Wednesday. And thanks for the luck, 'cause I'm sure I'll need it!
They're willing to train which is nice. Hopefully they'll think I'm worth the effort.