Creating a successessful and rewarding career in the Electrical Industry as an electrician.
What does is take keep a job as an electrician, electrical trainee, or an electrician apprentice and make a rewarding well compensated career in the electrical industry? After being an electrical contractor for close to thirty years, I am always amazed at the missed opportunities in the electrical construction industry between the electrical contractor, foreman, and the electricians. I think much of this can be attributed to the lack of communication and mentoring in our industry. In all fairness, part of this can be attributed to the recession and the competitive atmosphere in the electrical industry. Fast paced projects and extremely competitive pricing can put mentoring, communication and training on the back burner. Not all of the blame can be placed on the electrical contractor and their foreman. Some burden can be placed on the electrician and part of Labor Resource Solutions’ mission is to help counsel and mentor the electrician, trainee and apprentice. The electrician has to understand how busy a contractor can be, and what it takes to secure a job in the electrical field.
Because an electrical contractor can be so busy chasing and managing electrical jobs and projects it is easy for an electrician to feel lost, unnoticed and under appreciated. I can tell you from experience the hard working dependable electrician trainees and apprentices do not go unnoticed. It also amazes me how many electricians whether a journeyman, trainee or apprentice assumes there is no career path or future with an electrical contractor and that a layoff after one job is the norm. The goal should be to transfer to another job with the same electrical contractor, leading to raises and promotions without having to leave. Here are some tips and observations that I believe will help the electrician secure a job that will allow for long term employment with promotions and raises.
To quote from the old T.V. series Kung Fu; “Patience Grasshopper”. As an electrical contractor, a couple of my biggest turn offs are electricians who don’t honor the employment terms, and electricians who want to negotiate raises after just a couple weeks. Conversely, nothing makes my heart soar more than a modest electrician who honors his commitment and diligently performs his job. Over the years I have learned to recognize these electricians and reward them with timely raises and promotions. I feel good when I can present an unsolicited raise or promotion to an electrical trainee or apprentice. I also think any quality electrical contractor does not have an issue with an electrician asking for a raise in a timely and professional manner.
But an electrician should wait six months before asking for a review or raise unless other arrangements were previously agreed to. An agreement like this is common when an electrician is hired, and to me is perfectly acceptable. An electrical trainee or apprentice may be able to ask for a review or raise in three months especially at the early entry stages of their careers.
There is proper way to ask for a raise, we suggest asking your supervisor for a review instead of directly asking for more money. Don’t worry, the electrical contractor will know what it is you are looking for. A little tact goes a long way. Find out who the proper supervisor is and contact that person professionally. A phone call is appropriate but an email is probably your best bet; it documents your request and it also gives the supervisor an opportunity to consider your request at his convenience, a phone call doesn’t always allow that. Give the electrical contractor time to respond. If you don’t hear anything within a week or two, another email or call would be appropriate. Texting is not recommended unless the electrical contractor is an avid texter.
Once a review is granted ask about your performance and be receptive to criticism before asking for a raise. Be polite, don’t dominate the conversation. Regardless of the result of your review a follow up email thanking the contractor for the review should be sent within a week. Be sure to keep Labor Resource Solutions informed and updated, copy us on the email correspondence so that we can document it for you as well.
At some point it may be necessary for the electrical contractor to leave the employment of an electrical contractor in order to advance his career. Remember, don’t burn bridges! The electrical construction industry is smaller than you think. It may not seem like it to the electrician but positive references and continuous employment histories are one of the first things the electrical contractor looks at when hiring for a job opening.
If you have decided to leave, give as much notice as possible, two weeks is the norm, but one week may suffice. Again, an email to the appropriate supervisor and cc: to Labor Resource Solutiopns is the preferred method. If you don’t get a response with in a 24 hour period a follow up phone call is recommended to confirm your notice was received. Be sure to thank the electrical contractor for your employment, it is not necessary to cite specific reasons or problems with the company or personnel within the company as to why you are leaving.
Call Labor Resource Solutions if you have questions or need direction, we are here to help.