Zachary Farrar has worked in field service for nearly a decade and is currently a national service supervisor for an industrial equipment manufacturer. Here, he explains why new grads should consider a career in the field service industry.
That graduation date is whip-cracking around the corner, and it’s nearly time to get to work. If you haven’t already chosen a field and found a job, consider joining an industry you might know little about: the booming, ever-evolving field service industry.
For the Uninitiated, a Field Service Primer
My predecessor, a service manager, has a degree in criminal justice. But that man was not only a terrific field service leader, he still works in the industrial equipment industry. It just goes to show that some people find their true calling in unexpected, though fascinating, industries like (drum roll, please) field service!
Why field service? Not only are there a plethora of niche jobs waiting to be filled, but the work is fascinating, exciting — and it just might turn out to be your life’s passion.
Bleeding-Edge of Innovation and Technology
Field service is such a broad industry that knowing where to start — or even what the options are — can be difficult. Field service spans countless industries, from HVAC and appliance repair to oil rigs to the latest in high-tech, multi-million dollar manufacturing and medical device equipment. In the U.S. alone, there are more than five million technicians. Here are a few markets to explore (plus the cool equipment you could work with):
- Medical Devices: Maybe you enjoyed biology and chemistry, and lab best practices are your thing. Put those lab standards and knowledge to use. Devices include: CAT scanners, X-ray machines, gamma knives and industrial sterilization equipment.
- Industrial Manufacturing: If you have a desire to understand how mechanical and electrical systems work together, this market could be your forte. Industrial machinery includes conveyors, presses, printers, generators and massive fleet trucks with cranes.
- Electrical Equipment: The opportunities here are nearly endless. Electrical engineers who don’t want to be tied to a desk often make great field service engineers. While using high-tech equipment and tools, you could test or troubleshoot anything from one machine’s control panel to a master panel that runs an entire building. Perhaps you want to program multi-story mining tractors? Mining is expected to be a $117 billion industry by 2017.
No matter how you apply your skills — or even how you’ve learned them — there are many opportunities in the field service industry, from the ground floor to the highly technical.
Abundance of Options
“We have openings we simply cannot fill, even though employees stand to make $45,000 to $75,000 early in their careers.”
The great thing about field service is that getting a job can be relatively easy. As a national service supervisor for a global industrial equipment manufacturer, I am constantly searching for new hires. We have openings we simply cannot fill, even though employees stand to make $45,000 to $75,000 early in their careers. Higher level and senior techs, meanwhile, are making six-figure incomes. The opportunity is here, people!
Breaking in to Field Service
These days, job seekers can get pretty far by tapping social media and their online networks. But here’s a trick: a phone call, or a drop-by, can help seal the deal with hiring managers. I interact with colleagues, associates and friends online and via the phone all the time, but nothing solidifies a relationship (new or old) like face-to-face interaction.
Too often, I’ll find a great candidate on paper who shows up at the office with the personality of a stump. That’s a problem since field service professionals are the face of their companies. But, show up with the right mix of hard and soft skills, and the doors of opportunity will fly open.