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Blue Collar Job Hunting Tips

One complaint that a lot of financial advice posts get is that they are clearly geared toward white collar workers. That is a fair criticism: often sites will tell you where to list multiple degrees and other things that aren't really relevant to someone, say, applying for a cashiering position. Some of this is because we don't have a lot media coverage on blue collar jobs. Imagine it: This week- will Tim the Delivery Driver get the signature for alcohol that he needs, or will crazy home-owner lady once more elude him?

They also often suffer from reputations as 'not real jobs.' Somehow, being a gas station attendant doesn't count as a career, despite it being an important position in our highly-mobile society. This is a bit of a vicious circle: retail jobs and other blue-collar positions get a reputation for being unimportant and easy, then attract people who consider the work beneath them and are only there until they go on to something else. It hurts the people in those jobs and the industries they work in.

And these jobs are good ones. Some of them, such vet tech or delivery driver can actually pay pretty decently, and they can give you a lot of satisfaction. They deserve to be treated as careers. You know, real jobs.

Even if you aren't planning on staying in a blue-collar position for long, treating these positions seriously will help you get paid better and advance in your work life. In that spirit, here are a few tips on how to get the better-paying options and grow in the industry:

1. Pick An Industry And Stick With It

It's tempting to simply apply for anything that will take you when you need the work, and this can lead to people being in the bottom-tier in a series of unrelated jobs. However, employers are willing to pay more for experience. So, were you in retail before? Stick with retail. You won't be starting over at minimum wage that way.

2. Exploit What You Know About Companies

Get to know other people who work in the same industry with you and gossip about the companies. Check out websites such as Glassdoor to investigate what it is like to work for a company. Knowledge is power, and you have the power to apply only to companies that have a history of treating you well.

3. Make Lateral Moves

When I started out, I worked for a store as a cashier. I did a lot of resetting displays as part of the job. After I had my daughter, I discovered merchandising jobs, which require a lot of resetting displays in stores. It was a way shorter learning curve and helped me earn more quickly.

4. Keep an ear out for ways to learn new skills on your job.

If you are the only one who knows how to fix the belt at work, you have some leverage for asking for a raise.

5. Get familiar with your company's website and their job portals.

This will give you opportunities to apply for higher positions and generally take advantage of what they have to offer. You will also learn about any pay caps and how to work around them.

I won't say that this will make your work life easier, but these tips can help you make the most of these positions. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

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