NDT Job Search Tips and Resources
Your job search is a project in itself, with various stages. Here are some tips to get you started toward your goal of a new job.
Finding a Job – The Search
- Ask friends and family. This is not nepotism. You are merely asking around about opportunities where they work.
- Contact everyone you know in the NDT industry to let them know you are looking for a new position. Your name may not come to mind if you’ve not told them you are on the job market.
- Ask in social settings. Someone in your church or other social organization may have leads.
- Be an active listener. You never know what you might learn about other companies or opportunities at a meeting, while on a job site or at lunch with peers.
- If you are a student, ask on campus. Your professors or the university might have work available.
- Join ASNT and connect with the global NDT community. Membership is an investment in yourself and your career.
- Check with former classmates. Some companies pay employees referral fees for finding new candidates, so a former classmate might have leads.
- Try networking. ASNT offers a variety of ways to network from local section activities, to joining an ASNT committee, participating in the E-Mentoring Program or attending an NDT conference, each is valuable way to connect with NDT community and build your career network.
- Utilize career networking websites such as LinkedIn or JibberJobber; they can help in your search.
- Use a job search engine. Job search engines like Jobster, Dice, Indeed, and Simplyhired can narrow down your search. Some let you post your profile and resume.
- Attend career fairs. Career fairs are sometimes ideal for finding a job. Dress as you would for a one-on-one interview, and you might find yourself in one. Take a notebook, copies of your resume and a general cover letter.
- Check newspapers. Some jobs just might not be advertised online.
- Be selective. Don't apply to jobs that you know you won't like or are not qualified for.
- Practice being interviewed. Have a friend help you out, setup a video camera, then review your answers and body language.
- Beef up your skills. Missing a skill? Can you learn it fast? Say on your resume that you are learning it, then do so before an interview.
- Know your strengths. You'll likely be asked, in an interview, what you think your strengths are, and possibly your weaknesses and what you're doing about them. Make a list of both.
- Research potential employers. Visit their Web sites and search for recent articles about them. Prepare a list of questions. Not all job descriptions are clear. Be ready to ask for clarification in an interview.
- Don't overreach. It's good to be positive, but be realistic about what work you are qualified for.
- Be patient. Work might be hard to come by. Keep trying. If you are willing to wait, then stay on top of industry news. Remember NDT is part of a broad scope of industries. You may have experience in the pipeline industry that can serve an employer in the nuclear industry well.
- Be flexible. Many NDT positions may require that you relocate or take an assignment away from home. An adventuresome spirit is frequently part of an NDT career.
Keep Building Your Skills
- Practice your writing skills. In today's Internet oriented world, good communication skills are crucial. Technical writing and documentation seems to be a weak point for many.
- Stay updated. Read and subscribe to relevant weblogs, magazines, and journals. Use web feed subscription tools. Attend NDT professional conferences.
- Take refresher courses. You may not get a job in your first interview round. Consider some refresher courses before you rewrite your resume. ASNT Refresher Courses and others offer a variety of NDT educational and training opportunities to enhance your skill set.
- Start a blog. Demonstrate your knowledge of a topic related to a field you'd like to be employed in by writing a blog and mentioning it in your resume.
- Do some volunteer work. Find something you like doing and volunteer. ASNT has many ways to Get Involved. This is a great way to show depth of interest in the industry on your resume.
- Learn networking skills. Finding the ideal job usually means knowing the right person at the right time.
- Do not apply to a company multiple times if the positions do not match your experience and skills. Recruiters notice multiple submissions, and it reflects poorly on a candidate if he or she applies for jobs that aren’t a good fit.
Finding a Job in NDT
What Employers Want
Below is a list of skills and characteristics that employers, including NDT, have stated they want to see in an employee. You may be surprised to see what was not mentioned.
- Good Communication Skills
Most people would think this means to speak and write well. In reality, employers want an employee that is first willing to listen. Employers become frustrated when an employee "shuts them out," showing disrespect to the boss.
- Self Starter
Employers do not want to have to tell you each and everything to do. For example, on your own initiative, clean the equipment, catch up on paperwork or learn a new skill?
- High Ethical Standards
An employer must be able to trust you on a job site with customers. There are many times when it is just you and the customer. The employer must know that you will do nothing to harm the customer, the reputation of the company or even the NDT industry.
- Good People Skills
This does not mean chatting with everyone about your personal problems. Leave your emotional baggage at the door. Only speak professionally with the other staff or customers. Good people skills include showing respect for everyone at all times. For instance, using a person's proper title and last name is important. Never call a customer by their first name unless they make the request.
- Can Follow Instructions
Obeying all the rules and regulations in NDT is critical to your safety and others. Part of following instructions is also recognizing who is the boss. Do not attempt to "go around" the boss. If you have a problem with the boss, first talk directly to the boss.
- Critical Thinking Skills
NDT professionals, all day long, must be able to recognize and solve problems. Critical thinking means that you are capable and willing to work on a problem until a proper solution is found. It means that you will not give up and look to someone else to solve the problem for you.
- Know Your Limits
Most NDT occupations have a scope of expertise or special certification requirements. These are regulations that outline what any worker within a particular area can legally do. You must know and follow the scope of practice for your field.
- Team Player
There is nothing in any NDT field that even comes close to being a game. Employers want someone who works well with others for the common good of the customer and the company. Egos should be checked at the door.
- Positive Attitude
When there are many experienced applicants for a job, employers are more likely to offer the job to the person who has an outstanding attitude. The applicant’s attitude isn’t measured objectively. Usually it is revealed during the job interview, and the employer weighs it intuitively.
It may have struck you that "competence in the field" was not listed above. Employers expect that you will be qualified to perform the basic duties of the job because you will have demonstrated the appropriate skills during the interview process. Everything else listed above is expected in addition to competence.
Employers value employees who can do the job well, who are committed to the work and the mission of the organization, who have a positive attitude toward the job and toward their co-workers.
Organizations and Sites that are Helpful in NDT Job Searches and Career Information
This is a directory of educational institutions engaged in teaching nondestructive testing (NDT). The listing is divided into sections according to the type of institution offering instruction: vocational /technical schools generally offer a course of study leading to a diploma or an associate’s degree; junior colleges generally offer a course of study leading to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree; senior colleges generally offer courses of study leading to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree; industrial/corporate institutions offer professional training, which may or may not include some form of certification or diploma.
PQNDT, Inc.: publishes NDT salary data. PQNDT (Personnel for Quality and Nondestructive Testing) is a commercial job placement company. Registered users can take advantage of a number of job placement features such as posting a resume and searching help wanted postings.
NDT Resource Center (Iowa State CNDE) Sponsored Iowa State University’s Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, the comprehensive site provides information and materials for NDT and NDE technical education. The site was created by NDT professionals and educators from around the world.
https://www.inspectionjobs.com/ Inspection Jobs is an online job board for a variety of inspection jobs including NDT.
http://www.ndt.org/ NDT.org is an on-line job board for NDT professionals.
http://ndtcareers.com/ NDTcareers.com is a worldwide NDT careers search engine.
Choose NDT is an invitation to young people exploring careers to learn about nondestructive testing (NDT) and the variety of jobs available in this dynamic field.