If you’ve got more experience in the field than in a cubicle, chances are you like to work with your hands and on your feet.
For blue collar workers — like most everyone else in the labor force — classified ads in newspapers and billboard job postings have largely been replaced with online job boards and virtual recruiters.
Here’s everything you need to know to navigate online job boards like ZipRecruiter and land a great job that fits you.
What Are Blue Collar Jobs?
Blue collar is a broad term, maybe even a bit of a classist one, for distinguishing jobs that require some degree of physical activity from those that don’t.
Some of the smartest and most successful people in the world built their fortunes doing blue collar work. They went to work earlier than their peers, started earning much more money and never looked back.
There isn’t an agreed-on definition of blue collar work, but these are some of the elements most people agree on. Most blue collar jobs:
- Require some degree of manual labor
- Are commonly paid hourly, per diem or per project
- Often require vocational and on-the-job training
- Less commonly require advanced degrees
While physical labor is typically required of blue collar workers, blue collar jobs may or may not require specialized skills. But the more skill involved, the better the compensation and benefits.
Best Job Boards for to Find Blue Collar Work
Most job boards don’t care what color collar you wear. Their focus is to show you as many relevant jobs as they can. However, some job sites have put more effort into attracting blue collar employees and employers. And they make it easier than others to sort through jobs based on industry, experience and skill.
Would you rather shop around in a department store, or at an entire shopping complex? ZipRecruiter is like a shopping mall for job boards.
Unlike other job-search sites, ZipRecruiter syndicates job postings from over 100 partner job boards. You’ll find that some of these boards are brimming with blue collar opportunities, while others may be better suited for the desk-and-computer-monitor setup.
Having 100 options for anything can feel overwhelming, but that’s where ZipRecruiter’s virtual recruiter comes in. You don’t have to sort through all those job boards — their virtual recruiter uses artificial intelligence to match you to jobs and will even recommend you to companies looking for employees like you.
Simply tell ZipRecruiter what you’re looking for, along with the type of experience you have, and your virtual recruiter will recommend highly relevant jobs to you from dozens of job boards.
If you associate LinkedIn primarily with white collar jobs, you might not be wrong.
This business networking site built its name on facilitating opportunities and connections for white collar workers and professionals. But over time, it has expanded to include a fuller spectrum of job opportunities.
Through a series of startup acquisitions, which began around 2012, LinkedIn has worked to flesh out its “economic graph.” This graph is supposed to be a more realistic representation of all the different types of jobs that power the economy.
These days, LinkedIn has stepped up its efforts to facilitate blue collar hiring. While other options may be better suited for connecting you with blue collar jobs, Linkedin certainly isn’t a terrible place to look.
While LinkedIn started with white collar jobs and expanded to include blue collar work, Indeed started with entry-level service jobs and expanded to include many more advanced career opportunities.
Those service jobs weren’t necessarily blue collar work. But over the years, Indeed has seen a marked increase in the types of jobs that require you to work with both your hands and your head.
One common complaint you may find to be true about Indeed is that there’s an ocean of entry-level gigs you’ll need to swim through. And you might find many job postings that are essentially duplicates.
Yes, you can find plenty of “duplicate” postings on other job sites. But unlike ZipRecruiter, Indeed doesn’t offer a virtual recruiter to help sort through all the look-alikes and find postings for blue collar jobs that are just about perfect for you and your life stage.
It used to be one of the best places to find blue collar work, but we’ve got trust issues now. Craigslist has always made it easy for anyone to cheaply post a listing for anything: full-time jobs, one-off gigs, furniture for sale, cars for sale and a whole lot more.
And when we say anyone can post a listing cheaply, that includes both people with good intentions and those looking to rope you into a confidence scam.
Consider applying for work on a job board that has stronger content moderation and employer verification, such as the other job sites listed above.
No matter where you apply, you should always look into the people behind a job listing to make sure you can trust them before sharing personal information.
Applying for a Blue Collar Job
Blue collar jobs can be much more rewarding than a role based solely on what you know, and these jobs can be lucrative. Here’s how to get started:
1. Assess Your Skills and Figure Out What You Like to Do
No one likes to do a job they don’t care about. Figure out what matters most to you, in terms of your personal values and career goals. We all want to do something that makes a difference, one way or another.
Take an online career assessment and personality test if you’re not quite sure what you want to do. You might learn a little more about yourself and find that you’re suited for work you’d have never considered otherwise.
2. Research Career Fields and Specific Jobs
Focus on a few fields you’re interested in, but don’t write anything off. Sometimes the most rewarding jobs are in fields we’d never considered before.
Get a better idea about career paths by examining a day in the life of a typical employee in that field. You can get a look behind the curtain on social media by following people who do the job you’re interested in or by talking to contacts in your extended circle.
3. Gain Experience
Most people don’t walk right into their dream job. You have to get your foot in the door first. And oftentimes, you’ll have to put in extra legwork by doing elements of your dream job without actually having the title or pay.
While a college education isn’t required as often for blue collar professions, consider investing in some form of education. Vocational training or certificate programs can fast-track your career, and a college degree certainly won’t hurt your chances.
At a minimum, make sure you secure a high school diploma or a GED.
4. Apply for the Right Type of Job
Put your experience to use. Online job boards like ZipRecruiter can help match your experience and personality to relevant jobs. The artificial intelligence behind its virtual recruiter can show you relevant blue collar jobs you might not have considered otherwise.
Need a little more information to help you determine if a career in blue collar work is right for you? Here’s a roundup of some of the most commonly asked questions from around the internet.
What types of jobs are blue-collar?
First, there’s usually a significant amount of manual labor involved. But they’re more than just manual labor jobs. The more advanced roles require highly skilled workers with advanced knowledge of their field, both of which can require years of education and training.
You’ll find blue collar workers in just about every sector of the economy, though you’re likely to find a higher concentration of them in certain industries.
Those include construction, auto repair, engineering, hospitality, agriculture, forestry and many more.
What sort of education does a blue collar worker need?
Most blue collar job opportunities require at least a high school diploma or a GED. Though more skilled roles may require some technical or vocational training. And the more advanced jobs may even require advanced college degrees.
How much money can I make as a blue collar worker?
While the lowest-paying jobs are often blue collar work, an experienced, skilled blue collar worker can make about as much as a typical white collar worker. However, the upper crust of white collar employees earns considerably more, while entry-level manual labor jobs often start at minimum wage.
However, blue collar employees can often go to work sooner than white collar workers, which could result in more earnings in at least the near term.
Finding blue collar work isn’t as simple as it used to be. But sites like ZipRecruiter let you thoroughly research jobs and the companies offering them. You can even read reviews from current and former employers in many cases to get a better idea about what you’re signing up for.
Ready to take the first step? See what blue collar employment you can find on a job search site like ZipRecruiter that partners with dozens of diverse job boards.