Be The Right Fireman - a Route to Rope Access and NDT

If employed by Rope Access and NDT companies, you need to be a fireman and put out their fires. They need you, but you got to be there when the time comes

The following is an excerpt from the Blog "Breakin' Out A Journey to High Altitude" written by James Scott this epic blog is deigned to journal a greenhorns route into Rope Access via the Non Destructive Testing (NDT) field. Whilst there are a lot of NDT related hints and tips there are even more snippets of wisdom that cover all aspects of career building, from interview techniques to training and attitudes. This blog is essential reading for anyone who cares about making the best out of themselves and their career - whatever the level.

I am still looking. I have a couple of really solid opportunities in the works but there are no guarantees. The two of the three companies I am talking to..., were not even looking for anyone until I called them. The other one was not hiring people with my "lack of qualifications", until I told them how much they needed me. I know it might sound a little pretentious, but it is the truth. I never asked them if they were hiring and I DEFINITELY did not ask if they were hiring level I's. So how did I do it? That's what I am here to tell you.

What I have is a foot in the door. That is where you have to start. If you are just e-mailing your resume out to companies, you might as well play the lottery. Your chances are about the same unless you have a neon sign on your CV, your resume glows in incandescent light, or, you have credentials for miles-in which case lets be honest, they know you already. Otherwise you are just one chum in a pile of qualified, barely qualified and not qualified resumes. I have been the hiring manager. Let me break it down for you.

Monday: One too many pints and way too much food. I left most of my paperwork that was not pressing on my desk to do this morning knowing damn well I would get a sea of e-mails, phone calls and at least one person calling in sick. I print off the CV's I received (because I have to, throwing them away is against the law.) I add them to the pile.

Tuesday: I got Friday's paperwork done, none of Monday's, and I got a meeting at nine. Sherry's sister's boyfriend's cousin is coming in for a pointless interview but, hey, Sherry is hot. Three resumes in the mail, and into the pile.

Wednesday: Johnny wasted my whole freakin' afternoon telling me stories about the jobs he has never been on, so, now I got to evaluate ten employee's files, yesterday's paperwork, and, the boss wants to know what we are doing about a drug screening company that will do it without wanting a first born child. I don't know how many resumes are in that pile, but I added more.

Thursday: Boss calls first thing in the morning tearing off about hiring like it wasn't him that told me to wait. 10:AM I get a phone call. He wants to "follow-up" per his cover letter and asked me when is a good time to come in for an interview. I told him to be here at 1:PM.

You are a fireman, and you need to find the fire.

Here are the steps I would suggest to approaching a potential employer:

  • Find all the information you can about the company you wish to approach. Who is the hiring manager? What is his direct line? What does the company specialize in? What are the processes of their clients. What would be your role? How can you help that company make money? What do you have to offer? What is most important to them? These are some of the questions I would answer before you set foot into an interview with any company. Come with your guns loaded. You have about ten minutes to get that job. Everything after that is a polite formality. Confident, but not arrogant. Humble, but not submissive. Strike a balance that will give that hiring manager the confidence to know that hiring you will be a good decision.

  • Send your resume by fax and/or e-mail. Apply on their site and/or in person. Be persistent, but not desperate and pushy. When are you being pushy? Whenever you call after you have been told to wait. If you call more that once every two weeks. However, if they tell you to call back tomorrow and do it three days in a row (this is what has happened to me) then be a man of your word. Do whatever they tell you to do. Bigger companies get hundreds of resumes and cannot handle the volume of calls so they don't want to hear from you, unless, you find out who the hiring manager is and get "recommended" by someone else. Find an inside line.

  • Do NOT ever ask, let me say this again, do NOT ever ask if they are hiring. Never. If you get the opportunity to speak to the right person you are not doing a survey, you want a job. The right question is, "Hi my name is James Scott. John Smith, one of your RT tech's, told me to contact you. I sent you my resume last week and I was wondering when would be a good time to come in for an interview." YES you are being presumptive. This is a classic sales technique. You don't ask someone if they want to buy it; you ask them what color they like and will this be cash or credit. You are selling yourself.

  • Since you are selling yourself any good salesperson knows his product, and so should you. What are your goals? Where are you at and where do you want to be? UUUUHHHHH is a turn off. Looking up for answers makes you look shallow and not very thoughtful of your own life. Anything else and you look like a liar. Look him/her in the eyes. NOT a stare them down, but be enthusiastic and interested. These things matter.

Past that is your search for companies to interview with and I would start that search right here at with the companies that are listed on this site. Be a fireman and put out their fires. They need you, but you got to be there when the time comes. There is a degree of being in the right place at the right time. You increase your chances by increasing your exposure. The more times you put your name in their face, the greater the chance you will be the name they see when they are ready to make that choice.

####Written by: James ScottVisit the Blog: Breakin' Out A Journey to High Altitude