• Hiring Question

  • General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.
General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.

Moderator: thebigc

  by tbh0007
Okay, So here is my situation. I finished college in May 2014 with the worst degree ever (History) aside from Basket Weaving. I've wrestled with the job market so far and lost. I've applied for all different types of jobs and either not got calls back or was over qualified and at this point I just want to work. I have a friend from school who has been a railroader since he was 19 (now he's ten years in and doing pretty well) and told me I should try it out. The problem is I've applied for every Conductor job within two states reach in every direction (7 posts for NS) and have already been turned down for two of them. My question is how do I make my candidate profile stand out. I have a college degree and they said no. I mean I've been unemployed for over a year now and that may look bad, but our job market here is awful unless your medical field or an engineer. Any ideas would be much appreciated, I'll be checking back daily. I just want to work and be a productive member of society again. This is ridiculous!
  by rovetherr
Have you looked at some smaller roads? Often times shortlines are willing to hire on someone that the Class 1's don't select for whatever reason. There is also usually some flexibility in moving between crafts, so if you don't like train service, you can switch to MoW or Mechanical, or vise versa. The pay won't be as good, but there is RR retirement.

Another route to look at is working for a contractor, I tried for a few years after I got out of college to get hired on to quite a few railroads and was turned down every time. I ended up working for a few years with Sperry Rail Service, and with the contacts I had built up there was finally able to get work on a RR. The pay wasn't great, but if you don't mind being away from home for very, very long periods of time (I would routinely spend 4-5 months on the road) and know how to watch your pennies, you can make a decent living.
  by Engineer Spike
Are you working? They want a work history. Work 2 or 3 part time jobs. This will show that even though you haven't been able to break into something, at least you are ambitious enough to do the best you can to preserver. Join the local volunteer fire department. Here safety, large equipment are used. You are also required to drop everything when the alarm rings. Maybe the national guard?

In my class, which was nearly 20 years ago, most were vets or college grads. Between college and the railroad, I worked in a bakery. This showed that I could work a physically challenging job, in extreme conditions. Here I was lifting tons of dough, in 120+ degree heat. I also ran a small landscaping business.

The point is that you need to show a commitment, which your degree shows. Next, a good job history. The icing would be something other than just handing out golf balls at the local mini golf course. Something dirty, with large equipment is good. Try working with a roofer. It's hot, and dirty. Explain the safety parts, like PPE, and fall protection. Work with a guy who paves driveways. There's lots of heavy equipment, which could squish you like a bug, just like the railroad.
  by gp80mac
Hiring has slowed down (and in some cases stopped) in the past few months. A big hiring binge before, plus the drop off of coal and oil business makes employment opportunities kind of challenging. You have a college degree (albeit not the most useful). How about applying for operation supervisor trainee (aka trainmaster trainee)?

Otherwise I'd go back and learn a trade...

PS. I have a pretty useless degree, too. But luckily the railroads were hiring a lot of people when I graduated ~10 years ago, so it was easier to get on.
  by gobucks90
Yeah hiring has pretty much come to a complete stop with the current economic climate. American manufacturing is in a recession and commodities are at like 10 year lows. If you're patient there will probably be another hiring binge in a few years when things pick up again and a lot of the furloughed new hires decide not to come back.