Line Pulls from CDA
Line Pulls from CDA
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7 tips on getting hired as an underwater welder straight out of school
You’re a few weeks or months away from completing your commercial diving training. You’ve logged thousands of minutes in the water. You’re on track to earn all the necessary certifications. You have a good relationship with your instructors.
What can you do to make sure you land the right job on your schedule, on your terms, in your preferred location?
1. Act professional
Dressing professionally, listening and following orders, and volunteering for duties before being asked don’t take much effort but they go a long way. Start building these habits once you’re at school and it’ll be easier for them to transfer once you’re out in the working world.
“Keep your nose clean, do what you’re asked, and don’t cause problems,” said Brandon Mounts, an an NCCER certified instructor at CDA Technical Institute with nine years of professional experience. “Most people who have a cool, level head just don’t have problems.”
2. Be confident, not arrogant
Commercial diving is a dangerous job that takes quick decision-making and overcoming challenges on the fly. There’s a certain level of confidence that instructors will tell you is important to any diver, but it’s just as important to not let that spill over into becoming cocky. Companies are looking to hire divers who can walk that line between confidence and arrogance — from the initial interview to when they’re working on-site.
“I was a hiring manager for years and confidence is number one,” said Mike Barron, an instructor at CDA Technical Institute who has almost 30 years experience as a commercial diver. “But that doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant. If you call me asking for a job, I don’t want you to be all ‘uh, um, uh…’ You say, ‘Mr. Barron, I’d like to apply to be your tender.’ I might say I need you here tomorrow morning for the appointment. You show up to the appointment and you make sure you’re on time. I’m a former Marine and if I tell you to be there at 1 o’clock, you be there at quarter-of. That’s what’s going to get you those jobs.”
3. Gain all the mechanical experience you can
One of the easiest ways to get a leg up on the competition after graduation is to be as mechanically well-rounded as possible. Granted, that doesn’t mean you have to be an expert, but it does mean you have to be comfortable working with your hands. Use your time at school to brush up on your mechanics and you’ll be that much more useful when applying for your first job.
4. Get physically fit
You will have some down time during school. Use it wisely. Adjust your diet so that you’re eating healthy. Cut out unnecessary fats and sugars. Potential employers give preference to the healthiest applicants because commercial diving can present you with life-or-death situations. Medical tests and physical exams can involve general physical fitness exams, hearing tests, vision tests, urine drug screen, and more. The CDA Advantage is that there is a priority put on this with daily physical training required and opportunities to work out throughout the day and in your off time.
5. Use your instructors
Your instructors have a wealth of experience in commercial diving and that comes with a network of dozens (if not hundreds) of other commercial diving professionals, many of which are hiring managers for their respective companies. Use them as a resource, whether it’s asking them questions about the hiring process or if they’d be willing to point you in the direction of someone who may be hiring.
“We encourage them from their start to learn the industry and use resources we have when it comes time to find a job,” said Drew Duffy, who works in recruiting and placement assistance with CDA Technical Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. “We coach them on resume writing, interview techniques, who’s who and who’s hiring, and as we get even closer it’s one-on-one with them. We’ve knocked on their back door and had the front door blow open.”
6. Research a company before calling
Even 15 minutes of reading up on a company’s website and Facebook page will help you become more informed than most applicants calling and asking if there are any openings. Look and see what a diving company specializes in and highlight a certification you’ve earned or special training you may have received when calling.
For example, say a company features a lot of inland welding projects on its website or social media. Try to work the following sentence into your first call with a company:
“I see your company does a lot of inland work in lakes and rivers with limited visibility. My training was done at CDA Technical Institute in Jacksonville, Florida’s Trout River where visibility is limited to three to six inches on a good day so I’m already comfortable working in that type of environment. I also have deep water training as well from the deep water training facility.”
7. Have your bags packed and ready to go
Be prepared if an employer gives you an opportunity with a quick turnaround. If a company has one applicant fall through at the last minute, your job interview could be your first job. Have your bags packed and be ready to get on the road within 24 hours of calling a company up.
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