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Getting A Railroad Job
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Getting A Railroad Job

Have you ever thought about working for the railroad? I did, and in 2003 I decided to submit my application to several different railroads. Getting a job with a railroad can be a daunting task. They can hire you on your first attempt or it can take several years to land a job (It took me 5 years). Don't despair, if you are not hired the first time, keep trying. There are many steps in the railroad hiring process and each railroad has it's own system, but they are all basically a like.

Applying For A Posted Job

The first thing to do is find the website of the railroad your are interested in and fill out their on-line application. This can take awhile, because there is a lot of information that they will require. Your personal information will usually be saved on their website so if you have to apply for other jobs you will not have to fill your bio out each time. You must apply for each job seperately that the railroad posts on their website, they will not consider your application unless you do this. After you complete and submit your application, you will have to wait anywhere from two to six weeks after the final date that the job was posted.

Waiting For A Response

Don't quit your current job yet, if you have one. After the two to six weeks, you will get an e-mail telling you that you were not qualified enough for the position or you will be invited to a hiring session. They will include the details of when and where the session will be and what to bring. Usually you will have a week or so to prepare for the hiring session and make sure you get there ON TIME. The railroads are very picky about showing up on time, even if you are one minute late they may not let you into the hiring session.

The Hiring Session

When you attend the hiring session, there will probably be many other applicants attending, sometimes over 100 people. There is huge competition for these jobs, because the these jobs have a high hourly rate and excellent benefits. You will be given a lot of information and details. There will be a "scary speech" about the dangers of working on the railroad. You may also have to worry about where you will be working, because many districts on the railroad work by "senority" and if you are lowest, you can end up working a long way from where you live. You have to ask questions about this, because some districts cover entire states and you may end up working on the other end of that district.

You will usually be given an aptitude test or reading comprehension test depending on the job you are applying for. If you pass this test you will be told to come back for a hiring interview, usually the same day. You will also probably be asked to submit a hair sample collected by a contracted agency to test for any drug use. If you applying for a Clerk position there may be a typing test also with a minimum correct word per minute requirement usually about 35 wpm (such was also my case). After the interview is over you have to wait at least a week for the railroad to send you an e-mail. You will either be hired or it will be a rejection notice. (You may also be classed as an alternate, such was my case, which means if someone that was hired washes out, you are next to be hired). You are not out of the woods yet, even if you are notified that you are hired.

Passing The Grade

When you are notified that you are hired, you have to wait until a background check is completed. You are also asked to submit an on-line medical history. If you check out ok on these, you are aked to go for a physical that the railroad pays for. You also will probably have to complete some type of strength test to make sure you are fit enough to meet the lifting and carrying requirements of the railroad.

The Final E-Mail

If you have passed all of the requirements I have discussed, you will receive an e-mail telling you where and when to report. If you don't make it, keep applying for other railroad jobs and learn from your mistakes. Apply with more than one railroad if it is possible. Usually, alot of people don't make it through the aptitude tests. I had trouble and bought some books to "study" for them. Depending on the job, the aptitude test may involve some math and story problems as well as questions that check your profile and attitude. The profile questions should be looked at from the company side if you want to make your point of view more favorable.


Street Talk

Hi James. Great article. I've always wondered what it would be like to work for the railroad but have never really pursued it. Glad you got on.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Steve37  

good article..anything worth working for takes time...

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes, it all pays off if you wait it out. Thanks for reading Steve!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Keep it up.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Nice one James. Like the article.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Eugene, it was may first article submitted on Street Articles.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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