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Is there a way to reach out to companies that have the types of jobs I want but are not currently showing openings?



I want to work for a electrical utility or the city utility near where I live, either in electrical transmission or water resources. I have job interest cards with several of these companies. I am six months short of separating from the Navy and I'd like to proactively look for employment. As an E-4 MMNuke I have experience in these fields and would love to submit a resume, if possible, even before there is an actual job opening.

14 December 2017 17 replies Networking



Justin Kulhawick Akron, OH

Hi David,

I didn't read all the answers but based on your question I'll give it to you straight. Skip the Chamber, skip the Job Fairs and Resumes. If you want to get into the electrical field, go to your local IBEW which in Modesto is Local 684 and sign the books. I believe that's an inside local or wireman local.

If you want to get into transmission (outside work) then skip that and go directly to IBEW Local 1245 in Vacaville, CA. Being an outside local you could sign up and join the apprenticeship which is about 3 years of OTJ Paid training and climbing school in the beginning. If you can't get into the Apprenticeship right away, sign the books as a Groundman. As of 6/1/2016 Groundman hourly rate is $33.25 an hour + $7.40 an hour into pension + $50.00 a day per diem for showing up.

Outside Lineman in transmission make $54.44 an hour + another $8.18 per hour into pension + $50.00 a day per diem for showing up.

As an outside transmission lineman or groundman you'll end up working as much as you want. Storm outages typically pay time 1/2 or double time, 16 hours a day. It's fairly easy to clean $200,000+ being a journeyman lineman in California. You've picked a good trade and the highest paying construction industry job out there.

Good luck to you and thank you for your service. Go straight to the IBEW and they'll get you taken care of.

9 March 2018 Helpful answer


Jeremiah McKenna Metairie, LA

You can find a lot of information at the local Chamber of Commerce and even the Rotary Club. I have found that these two places have a ton of people that are involved in the community and will know who to talk to and possibly how to talk to them.

Check with the local colleges and community colleges and see when they have their job fairs or hiring events/hiring managers visiting the specific arena you are interested in. The person that coordinates these events may also know who the contact person will be for that specific arena. I know that the college I am attending will hold a job fair at least once a semester.

21 January 2018 Helpful answer


James Sipprell White Pine, TN

Paul's advice is spot on. For short term view , Justin's union shop surely pays well if you remain stationary. Ck out the 'trade' magazines in the field to learn the jargon and an overview of industry issues. It really helps in interviewing, been there done that. Any good library has these publications available (free).


Patrik Schneider Aiken, SC

Dear David
I see, this was DEC 14, 2017! Anyway, this is Patrik, CSM ret. and many years responsible for HR at the Swiss MP. My wording, NO SECOND FIRST IMPRESSION makes a kind of show your best. Companies are usually hiring when in need. But it is always an advantage to have an always updated and great looking application, telling about your skills and knowledge and your future plans. This file you show to the different companies, as a 'blind' application. Send it to the HR department telling them, that you would like to be invited for an interview at the moment they are having new places to be filled with personal. I never rejected those files and some got a job because I called them later. You cannot lose but you may win. Be courageous and spend some paper, ink and stamps. Your personal and individual initiative may be the ticket. Good luck! Best always, Pat.




Find out who the Purchasing Manager is and just send him/her a direct letter . Purchasing is a good place to start and th entry level positions do not usually require much direct experience.

The utilities are a great place to work.

My advice: do not limit yourself geographically. Google all the utilities - how about Nebraska? - a good place to live : wonderful people, see NPPD and Omaha Power Corp. How about Idaho Power a good company and honest folks, a good place to raise a family.

I have travelled all over the US for some 30 years as a consultant for the Electric, Gas and Water utilities. California, I do not think I would recommend.

In my career, I moved wherever the opportunities presented themselves for a good job and a good career. Staying in one place, for good weather and convenience may significantly
affect your opportunities


Robert Cassella Leavenworth, KS

Nothing prevents you from sending an unsolicited resume and cover letter to any employer.


James Bishop Columbus, OH

I feel like many of the answers assume you are an electrical engineer. If so the professional route outlined above makes sense to a point. There is a shortage of electricians however around the country and I assume that is true where you live.

If you are looking to work as an electrician then make sure you have all the civilian credentials that are needed. Using the tip above call any local electrical contractor and directly say, I was an electrician in the military and I am looking to apply my skills now as a civilian. "Though I was responsible for the electrical grid of a battleship that could see combat, I am sure you can help me translate that to work on a convention center or other projects you have."

Though I agree with the LinkedIn research, clients of mine who are electrical contracting companies do not really use it. Please feel free to connect with me as I don't think you know when it will be important.


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

In line with Scott's response, I suggest researching as much as possible about the company and people who work there (LinkedIn is a great resource). If you have a mutual connection, ask for an introduction. Frame it as being "interested in learning more about roles in that field" more than looking for a job. If you don't have a connection, I've had a lot of luck simply cold calling people with an intro something like "I'm researching what it is like to work in industry XXXX for companies like YYYY, if you had a few free minutes I have a couple of quick questions. Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If now isn't a good time, maybe we speak some other time."
More times than not, I've found people to be pretty receptive. I tend to call around 9:30am (not first thing in the morning, but before the day gets hectic) and not on Fridays. Often this calls can lead to tours, and coming with well educated questions is a great/humble way to show how much homework you have done.
Best of luck and thank you for your service.


George Wilhelmsen Rochelle, IL


There is a lot of solid advice provided above.

I would suggest a different tact - you know what you want to do, and if there are no jobs in the area, what will you do?

The field you are looking at is contracting in a sense. Market pressures from subsidized wind and cheap natural gas from fracking are driving the price down in the energy market. Since many energy companies are publicly held, that causes pressure on profits, so we're cutting back to stay viable.

Translation: You may have to go where the jobs are, rather than staying in your location.

Fortunately, everyone needs electricity, so you can go south (Arizona Public Service) and possibly find a job there (I hear that linesman have a rifle to shoot the occasional rattlesnake as standard equipment in the line trucks), or even at the Palo Verde Nuclear Station. It's a bit of a drive from where you are. With that said, you have a background which would interest most nuclear utilities, and that might be a good way to go.

I'd suggest Diablo Canyon to the north, but they have elected to terminate operations in 2025, so I'm not sure that would be the best advice.

Otherwise, there are other nuclear utilities who could value your future employment. Go with a broader search on the various search engines, and look for jobs at Exelon, Entergy, Duke, NextEra, Southern Company, Xcel and others, to find these job opportunities.

Yes, they aren't in Modesto. But they are rewarding jobs, which will pay you enough to go back when you want to on occasion to visit.

Best wishes. Again, this is only if you can't find something local - it's always good to have a Plan B.

George Wilhelmsen


Ashutosh Mehta Berkeley Heights, NJ

Thank you for your service David. I would think, only recruiters or hiring managers would know about jobs which are not posted outside. To make yourself ahead of curve, find recruiters from LinkedIn / Twitter for that company, and see if they are interested in networking. Joining some local chapter also helps you get in touch with like minded or on same search people. Good luck!


Tim Feemster Dallas, TX

If you are looking in the Modesto/SFO area, I do have one contact at PG&E that I could do an electronic introduction. Please send me your resume to so we can connect and discuss your needs.


Gerald Mannikarote Houston, TX

Sometimes simple networking helps in these cases. See if you can meet with people in the same industry. Go to events or groups like Toastmasters, 'Young Professionals' meet ups, etc. There you may have the chance to meet others that may know of openings that are becoming available before being posted on the company's website.
Good luck!



Rob Gasperetti Locust Valley, NY

Hello David,
Looking for a position of that type may require you to deal with civil service and/or union regulations. This would possibly get you the best benefits and that all-too-rare defined benefit pension. While you still have time in to do your research, look into the civil service laws for the area. You may have to take a written and practical test first, but there also might be a veterans preference. In New York, we have a civil service newspaper. See if there is one for the closest metropolitan area around you. It can be a great resource. Also contact the public information office of the unions for those industries. They might have hiring windows that you can take advantage of while still in.
Best of luck,


Deb Yeagle Tampa, FL

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has been recognized as one of the best employers for Veterans and has numerous training and professional development programs for transitioning military.
Check this out:

Good luck!


Mike Cottell Glen Head, NY

Hi David, great advice from both Scott and Jeff and I'd like to build on that.
1) Make sure your resume aligns with the skills and accomplishments that would make you interesting to a particular company. You may need to have slightly different versions for different organizations.
2) Your resume should reflect " what you bring to the table" and " why you should hire me" .
3) Practice your oral pitch of " why me" so when you network you grab someone's attention right away.
4) Consider sending your resume with a cover letter to head of HR saying why you admire that organization, why you would be a good fit and request an exploratory interview.
5) Have someone you trust look at your resume to make sure it properly represents you and compels a reader to seek an interview with you. There are many ACP advisors who excel at this and you can post a separate question asking for a review of your resume.

With preparation comes confidence and that is fuel for success. Good Luck to you!


Jeff Daugherty Middleton, WI

I go to a ton of networking events, and I see two problems -

1.) People handing out business cards like it's a contest
2.) People showing up once and expecting magic to happen

PIck - at most - a couple networking events, show up consistently, and start networking for unlisted jobs. After the first few meetings, people will start to warm up to you.

Hope this helps!


Scott Agnoli Clifton, NJ

Even though companies may not have openings, there may be upcoming possibilities and you need to develop a relationship with the decision makers.

Utilize LinkedIn to search out the department heads of those companies and start some correspondence via email and snail mail. Also, start corresponding with the HR people at that company.

Another angle is to find business conferences/conventions which that company may attend or be a sponsor/paricipant. Many times, Not only can you learn more about that company, but there will most certainly be can similar companies in attendance. Research and find industry organization’s websites which may list upcoming conventions. Email the leaders of those professional organizations that are in that industry and ask which conventions they attend.

This can be a good start in building the relationships that can lead to revealing an opportunity which is not public.

I hope this helps.
Feel free to follow up with me if you have additional questions.


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