Pacific Ropes Training Blog

10 Steps to Getting A Job

Let's be honest, the hunt for your professional big break or next great job opportunity can be an incredibly stressful time. Especially if you've quit your old career, dropped a ton of money on rope access training, and maxed out your credit cards. How do you land your next job before rent is up again? As a Rope Access Employer, I receive a lot of resumes on a daily basis. And to be honest, I don't read all of them. So, below are some tips that I have from my experience as an employer on how to make your job application stand out among the rest:

1) Treat finding a job like it is a full time job in itself. 

This process requires your time, attention to detail, and great organization. Making the decision to rush this process can lead to frustration, poor quality resume/cover letter submissions, and, when employers do not respond to you as a result of this, a real sense of hopelessness. Point being: give yourself an ample amount of time to apply for new work and take the process seriously.

The job market in Rope Access, although growing and with increasingly more opportunity, still remains highly competitive. Your goal should therefore be to apply for several jobs that you are sincerely qualified to carry out, not simply the one that sounds the most exciting. This requires you to be ruthlessly honest with yourself about the qualifications and skills that you genuinely can bring to any new employer. 

A Rope Access ticket alone won't be enough. If after many submissions, you find people aren't responding back, perhaps it's time to do a bit more research to see if there are other skills, certification, experience you need to gain to get the job you want.

2) Do not base your interest in a job exclusively on your ideal salary expectations. 

Many current techs will brag to their friends about the wages they are making. However, a misconception in the Rope Access industry is that with a Ll IRATA certificate, a tech is guaranteed a certain salary. This isn't the reality. There are three levels of certification but it doesn't mean that everyone in those designated levels will make the same amount of money. Wages are highly dependent on the trade you can perform, the work hours you have previously logged, the geographic area a job is taking place in, the size of the company that is offering the job, and the work sector the job is being performed within. Salary is contingent NOT standardized within our industry. So, do yourself a favor and throw all salary absolutes away. Sometimes you may need to start at a lower entry wage, gain experience, and then work your way up.

3) Resumes matter! 

Your resume is the first thing an employer is going to see that is a direct reflection of who you are, prior to them even considering interviewing you. It is up to you to make a good first impression on paper. Here are some tips below in creating a resume. If you're still unsure, google search resume templates and start from there.
  • Avoid an overly complicated layout, font, and special effects in general. Stick to the traditional font of Times New Roman, 9 to 12 point size, and black type against a white paper. You might try a different type size for your name and the companies you have worked for, perhaps your title. But try to be consistent. Go easy on boldface type, italics, and underlining.
  • Use a reverse chronological order. List your present, or most recent job, first, and then work backwards-the same goes for mentioning education and certifications. You state the complete name of the company you work for, or have worked for, and what they do, how long you were there-month and year. Then list the position you held and your accomplishments. You do not have to use full sentences. Begin with verbs. "Performed maintenance ... ", "Executed installation ... ", "Surveyed ... " for example.
  • Get rid of objectives and summaries and all that silly stuff. It's all fluff. An employer does not care about your objective. They care about you successfully executing his or hers.
  • Skip personal information such as 'married with three kids'. Sounds stable and respectable to you, but to a hiring authority looking for someone to travel, it may keep you from being interviewed.
  • Stories sell. Numbers, statistics, percentages get attention if you put in bold type.
  • Fuzzy key words and phrases should be avoided. These include 'customer-oriented', 'excellent communication skills', and 'creative'. These words lack meaning and do absolutely nothing to help you get an interview. Instead, use words that relate to your previous job titles,'Managed', 'Supervised', 'Assisted.'
  • Most importantly, your work and education history has to be honest and relevant. Your paper route at 13 isn't of great value to mention anymore. 

4) Know the company you are applying to work for.

Visit their website, search their mission, vision and values, and know their prior work history by investigating any case studies they make available online. In Rope Access, an excellent safety record that is in accordance with our industry standard is something you should require and this precaution works to protect your own employment record.

For techs who doubt that they need to have a different resume and/or cover letter for each employer, think about it from the employer's point of view: They see their business as distinct and different from the rest, so should you. Speak to the specialties of each company you are applying to. Again, this means giving yourself an adequate amount of time to cater your resume and/ or cover letter to their company nuances.

Simply put, a tech who sends a resume that is copied and been sent to multiple employers with no consideration of what they each distinctly offer, their main clientele or area of expertise, is a tech who is not setting their application
apart. Finding out this information means you are actually interested in the job an individual employer is offering you, not just any job that happens to be out there.

5) A cover letter will set you a part.

A cover letter is an opportunity for you to expand on who you are, your skills, and how you would be the ideal candidate for the company. Nowadays, not many people write a cover letter. So, whenever I receive a resume with a cover letter, I take notice and take the time to read it. As an employer, the cover letter provides me a glimpse of the person's personality, demeanor, and "vibe." It won't take much longer to write the cover letter, but will definitely put you strides ahead of all the other resumes that clutter my inbox. 

6) Do not send a blank email when submitting your resume and cover letter.

Before you submit both your resume and cover letter via e-mail, make sure you have written and proofread a brief introduction to submit in the body of the e-mail you are sending to your potential new employer. This should quickly introduce who you are, your interest and suitability for the specific position, and a 'thank-you' for having the opportunity to apply for that exciting position. I always delete resume submissions of blank emails. To me, a blank email means that person didn't even take the time to acknowledge me by name or consider anything about me and my company. This also applies to someone who writes, "To whom it may concern, here is my resume" and then sends it to 50 companies at once.

7) Having an active Linkedln profile that is up-to-date and reflects your work history is a good networking tool. It is about who you know.

On LinkedIn, as a rule, the more detail the better, and always make sure that your profile picture is professional and in good taste. Linkedln is the one social network where headhunting actively takes place on an international scale and this can be helpful if you are looking to use Rope Access to work AND travel. Being 'searchable' in our industry always helps in your overall networking goals and is yet another gauge that you are actively invested in your career.

The old saying "it's all about who you know" is true. When someone is familiar to me, I'll naturally take the time to listen to them versus someone whom I have never met. Whether it's through social media, at one of our open gyms, or a quick email asking about me and Pacific Ropes versus about you (see #9), these small interactions will go a long way.

8) For better or worse, your social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook are also being searched.

Make sure all of your social media profiles present a positive impression of who you are. If you have posted work photos or videos, be sure they present you working in accordance with our safety regulation standards. People in the Rope Access community WILL notice if you are not, and news travels fast.

9) Talk about your future employer! 

Too often we think we have to sell ourselves as this "great rope tech" to get a job. But, in fact, the best way is to build relationships with people whom you'd like to work with (or for) instead. Start by being sociable, sharing your admiration for their work, and asking for advice. Do this with professionals at companies you'd love to work for, long before they have a job opening for you to apply for. If you emailed me asking me question, I'll most likely answer that email versus one that says "you don't know me, but hire me!" It's human nature to be selfish and I'm just as selfish as you. So, your first email to me should be about me. However, it's also human nature to reciprocate. So, once you ask about me, I'll most likely return the favour and ask about what you want. 

10) ALWAYS have a second pair of eyes!

Ask someone to review your resume and cover letter to spot any glaring errors, and ask a person who has been in our profession at length to review your Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter accounts. They may see an error, spot a red flag, or have a suggestion on how to maximize your resume/cover letter and social profiles to work towards making you look more employable! 

Last Thoughts..

Rope Access is an exceptionally exciting job market to enter into or continue to explore. It can take you from city skyscrapers, huge bridges, cliff face stabilizations, oil rigs, wind turbines and pretty much anything in-between that requires working at height. It can even take you across the world. There is no straightforward answer to how to find work. However, as with starting out in any career it requires time, patience, persistence, research and a little bit of luck making contacts that will help you out along the way. 

To see how others have done it, go to our Stories page to discover how other rope techs have landed their first job:

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