Basic advice for job seekers in mechanical field

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Unread post17 Oct 2010, 04:37

Apologize if this has been posted before or seems crazy:

I've been retired now for 4 years and want to pass on a little advice on what I've learned from the civilian sector.... you are in demand!

If you are dedicated to finding a job specifically working on aircraft - then this might not help you.

State, County and city governments have pretty good retirement systems, so don't ignore opportunities in those areas just to "try" and get a federal job.

Background: I am a product of "RIVIT WORKFORCE". I had Red X IPI in airframe, PW and GE engines and Hydraulics. I was blade blend and borescope certified. I spent time in Mobility/Logistics, Scheduling and Facility management (bldg custodian). I supervised a flight that included the RA's at one point - as well as time as a flight chief supervising 65 crew chiefs. So...

You would be surprised how "in demand" that kind of experience really is. The fact that you have a mechanical background - whether A-Shop, engines or crew chief is a huge benefit. I'm not talking about a job where you turn wrenches for the next 20 years either - you may start there, but you will progress to management.

Here is the key - get your foot in the door and then let your employer see what you bring to the table.

Example - I took a job in public utilities as a water plant operator. Had absolutely nothing to do with my mechanical experience. I was hired because water treatment requires people that have integrity - you are responsible for the health of many people (drinking contaminated water can kill you). I was hired because the fact that I had an honorable discharge was a key indicator to my employer that I possessed some integrity - they felt that I could be at work on time and function with limited supervision.

So how did that get me where I am today?

Shortly after being hired and trained as an operator, I found myself giving the maintenance dept a hand fixing little things around the plant. The Superintendant noticed that I "went beyond" my normal duties - INITIATIVE.

In helping out, I began to be asked for my opinion on various maintenance issues and ideas for overall improvement - my professional mechanical experience was being noticed. Along the way, I was asked for ideas to improve the documentation of scheduled maintenance and inventory of parts. Next thing I knew, I was asked to take over the maintenance department - with a nice salary increase. It took 1 year for my "experience" to gain me a higher position and pay.

Basic things I learned helped me greatly. How to document things, tool control, how to research the "theory of operation" to solve issues when things go wrong. My basic computer skills, my ability to think straight under pressure and the integrity of "doing it right the first time". These are skills that invaluable to a mechanic in the civilian world - anyone can turn a wrench - your value is in how to manage the mechanical field.

Now in the last 4 years, 3 other retiree's from the flightline have been hired into my original position. None of them are there anymore - they have 1 by 1 been moved into other positions at other facilities that take advantage of their mechanical experience - not just turning wrneches - but managing maintenance!

So - my simple advice is to consider jobs that aren't primarily aircraft maintenance - sometimes we get tunnel vision and think that a career of jet mech only prepares us for a career in jet mech later - not so.

Get your foot in the door and then let your "career experience" take you places you never considered.

In the modern day world of so many people doing "just enough to get by", you will be noticed and your career will progress accordingly.
City Of Goldsboro Public Utilities
F-16 blk 15/25/42/50. F-15E
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Unread post17 Oct 2010, 04:45

Davis83 wrote:Apologize if this has been posted before or seems crazy:

In the modern day world of so many people doing "just enough to get by", you will be noticed and your career will progress accordingly.

Very well put Davis! :cheers:

I will second this one (even though I'm still turning wrenches on jets)

I agree it is hard to find qualified people for jobs anymore, those who often do 'qualify' aren't the go-getters employers are looking for. I hear from non-MIL friends that it's hard to simply get 'kids' to show up for a full 40 hour work week!?!

The training, discipline, and way of life we lead builds what many companies are looking for, especially for technical or quality jobs. Military 'lifers' or 2-3 term technicians who are in the market for a 'technical' job are they're best bet at a successful employee that will serve the company's needs best in the long term.

Good luck to all! :thumb:
[Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
— Richard Collins




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Unread post28 Oct 2010, 04:40

To all
I see people come and go Nothing worse then seeing resumes telling me they walk on water. and cant even do simply safety wire job, service aircraft tires Marshall aircraft into parking spot. or look up how to remove a part in Aircraft MM AKA tech DATA. and then want top dollars. I started at 16 an hour and took this as a license to learn within 6 mths i was a supervisor with a crew of 15 A&P Mechanic doing heavy checks on 747-200,300,400. Now 11 years later I am senior Fligthline Super/Project Manager. qualify on 747,757,767,DC-9,MD-80-83,Airbus-318-320 also engine run taxi Qual. Like Davis and the engine guy put right on the head Need to go out learn the job not miss work ETC.. I Now wish I had some of the old crew chief that work with me in USAF


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Unread post28 Oct 2010, 05:58

I'd come work for you Hoser if I didn't already have the best job in the world.




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Unread post24 Dec 2010, 17:51

Good encouraging post Davis!

However I don't feel in demand. Maybe it's because I'm a 4 year guy and am looking for work in Australia primarily.

My job search is going terrible, frankly. It's rough out there!

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