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Jaypee_Logger 02-10-2006 04:39 AM

BNSF Employment
I recently put an application with the BNSF for contuctor trainee. i listed all my experience with switching operations and that i can operate a locomotive. does anyone else have any ideas or suggestions for me to help me get this job?

hoydie17 02-10-2006 12:56 PM

Emphasize your ability to work safely, efficiently and any experience you have with shift work, or being on call.

4kV 02-10-2006 01:57 PM

As with any job, make sure you spell everything correctly on any documents during the process of tryng to get the job. Even though you may be throwing switches and riding an engine, that sometimes is enough to set you apart from others. Some people laugh at this, but it is true.

Jaypee_Logger 02-10-2006 02:04 PM

thanks for the info

4kV 02-10-2006 02:08 PM

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

willie6622 02-10-2006 06:43 PM

3 areas to stress when trying to gain employment with a class 1 railroad.

#1. Safety

#2. Safety

#3. Safety

Get my point? I just can't emphasize that enough. I guess the other thing they might be interested in is your prior record. Criminal, attendance, & medical are all looked at.
I know on NS they really don't place alot of stock in prior RR experience.

Jaypee_Logger 02-11-2006 05:59 AM

well i listed on my Ap that i'm on the saftey commitee at work and our shop has won the presidents saftey award for the last 5 years. i figured that might help a little

J 02-12-2006 08:02 PM

Railroads are challenged to find qualified applicatants to fill litterally tens of thousands of jobs that need to be filled in the next few years. (Due to heavy retirements and expanding traffic). If your written application is halfway decent you should expect to get an interview. Many managers have told me they'll place an advertisement in a local paper offering jobs. Of the hundered or more people that might show up, around half will walk out when they hear they'll be subject to pre-employment drug / alcohol testing an later to random testing during their career. A few more walk out when they are told about being subject to call 24/7. Some will stay for the training and later leave when they learn what it is like to life like that.

If you are truly intersted in a railroad life, emphasize safety, but also an understanding of being on call, etc. For example, you might be able to demonstrate similiar experiences in the military or as a volunteer fireman, etc. Another plus would be experience with technology or following complex directions. A conductor has to understand air brakes, car inspections, haz mat regulations, etc. etc. Most of the time you are on your own with no direct supervision and so have to be reliable, organized, etc.

Jaypee_Logger 02-12-2006 09:49 PM

thats some usefull info i appreciate all the tips i have gotten here. thanks to all. i will let you know when i hear something. should be next week sometime.

jaanfo 02-13-2006 09:18 AM

Well, Be open and honest would be a big thing, I think you have your application and resume down.

I was hired by Amtrak, and the process of hiring took six weeks, three interviews, and three weeks of training in Los Angeles. First interview was actually a testing session... I was one of six people in my class, which was one of four (it was also the smallest). Two people walked out upon hearing the definition of an extraboard, a third walked out once it was further explained that she could get called at ANY TIME to start work two hours later. I never saw the other two after the test. My second interview was a week later with just the Human Resources employee assigned to hire for my position, and what we mainly did was go over my application and qualifications, then he gave me my test scores and set up the next interview five days later, with the district manager. I waited a week and a half, calling about every three days to see if they needed anything from me (I was expecting the drug test to come before they offered the job). Two weeks before I was to start training I was literally climbing in to my truck at my old job when Paul called and offered me the job (I sat in the truck talking over the details with him and ended up locking my keys in the car). I literally walked in to my then-current job (while on the phone with AAA), off the clock, and verbally told my boss I was delivering my two week notice. During the phone call in which he offered me the job we set up drug testing and travel. They shipped me to Los Angeles, paid for a hotel, and reimbursed food while I was training. Shows they care about the people they hire, and are willing to do a lot for us, and expect a lot from us in return.

Los Angeles had a bigger field to choose from, apparently they had one MORE interview then I did, and they hired six people. One person never showed up to training, another was fired for trardiness at training, and two others were fired during their posting (period after training while you're still on probation), so you can literally take a field off 200 people and, with enough interviews, narrow it down to four, though gradually.

The main thing is to be assertive and honest. They need people who aren't afraid of the interview, or of doing something different. You need to have a good history, and an ability to learn and remember what you learned, while under pressure. It's nice to hear my agent tell the district manager over the phone "Oh, he can do that, he's good at remembering to do things we've told him to do" (regarding making sure all the train data was entered in at the end of the night).

The assertiveness was all about making myself known... making sure I stood out. I emailed AND Snail mailed my resume, Paul ended up calling me twice and realizing as I answered his second call that we'd already talked, I called them every few days to make sure things were still rolling... the first *interview* (not testing session) I called constantly because the dates kept changing... he wasn't calling me, until I was at work and he decided right THEN he had all the times and dates set up. At my old job I answered his phone calls on my cell phone, something I wouldn't do for my own mother. I wasn't discreet about it at my old jobat all (I should have been) and my boss found out quickly (then she cheered me on lol). I also went to the station in my spare time and introduced myself, and was given a guided tour by the agent.

Lastly, be honest, just tell it like it is, don't sugarcoat it. I even confessed during the interview that I was late because I didn't have a reliable car, which was a requirement, and had travelled by trolley... but did *slightly* sugarcoat it with saying that I was planning on buying one once I had the decent cashflow, and had options such as borrowing my Dad's truck, and leaving him to commute in his Nissan Sports car. Most of My interview questions were standard, easy questions, asking about reliability and prior job performance. Asked about drug se, schools, where I was going with my life, etc. I admited to receiving two written warnings at my old job for tardiness... Also explained that I'd had that job over a year and you get a warning every third tardy, and confessed to calling in late on two occasions, but never had called off sick. The main question I was unprepared for was "why do you want this job?" It required some extra thought on my part, but I think my answer is good... I've always liked trains, since I was a kid, and figured that a career with Amtrak would be a way to entertain my enthusiasm, while securing a decent future and C-A-R-E-E-R (key word!) for myself. One last thing though, is I also admitted to wanting OBS, and that station services was just a foot-in for me while I was at college.

Sorry I'm rambling. I know Amtrak and BNSF are different, but I hope some of my experience can help you with BNSF's hiring process. I wish you luck, and keep us updated.

Jaypee_Logger 02-13-2006 02:29 PM

thanks again for the info. all these tips i've been getting should help me in the interview process if i get called for one. i should find out this week sometime i hope.

J 02-13-2006 05:01 PM

Additional Perspective - Salem IL
UP plans presentation in Salem, Illinois

In a joint effort to assist the Union Pacific Railroad with finding people to replace several employees that will be leaving the railroad because of retirement and in an effort to help stimulate the local economy, the City of Salem Economic Development Department has jumped on board the Union Pacific train in an effort to fill many anticipated career openings with the company for the Salem, IL area in 2006 and 2007.

Nationwide, Union Pacific (UP) will be replacing about 52 percent of their work force over the next 10 years. Their immediate needs include an estimated 5,000 employees being hired nationwide in 2006. The reason for the turnover in employment is the fact that the age of their work force is creeping upward, and retirement will take its toll, along with an increase in business for the company. At present, there are around 49,000 employees, with the average age of UP personnel being between 45 and 51.

Following a meeting set up by the Salem Economic Development Department that included Bill Blakney, field recruiting manager of the Central Region for Union Pacific Corporation; Art Borum, director of the South Central Illinois Growth Alliance; Bob Stephenson, business service representative for Faces of Opportunity, a branch of the Illinois Employment and Training Center; and Kelly G. Bennett, director of Business and Industry at Kaskaskia College, the City of Salem Economic Development Department will host a Union Pacific Railroad career presentation on Thursday, Feb16, at 17:30 at the Salem Theatre.

The presentation by Blakney will inform interested individuals about the career opportunities available to prospective employees. The information will also cover the application and hiring process for Union Pacific Railroad. UP is mainly interested in hiring individuals for positions in the transportation/ operation department, specifically in train service. The positions would include brakemen, switchmen, conductors, and locomotive engineers. These positions have an approximate beginning wage of $40,000 and up to $75,000 per year if one is fully “marked up” after approximately five years.

Economic Development Director David Foster said, “We are very pleased to be able to work with Union Pacific Railroad and Bill Blakney. We are glad to be able to offer our services to help them however we can. Salem is excited that Union Pacific will be coming into the community with more good jobs.”

Union Pacific Railroad is an operating subsidiary of Union Pacific Corporation. It is the largest railroad in North America, operating in the western two-thirds of the United States. The railroad serves 23 states, linking every major West Coast and Gulf Coast port and provides service to the east through its four major gateways in Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. Although Union Pacific Railroad’s primary role is transporting freight, it also runs a substantial commuter train operation in Chicago. - Bob Haney, The Salem Times-Commoner

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