Plumbers are some of the hardest working handymen, responsible for repairing pipes, fixing leaks and installing toilets, sinks and other fixtures. They’re often called to take care of emergency situations on weekends, evenings and holidays. But for all the trouble of gushing water lines and flooded bathrooms, plumbers are well paid and in demand.
If you’re considering a job as a Plumber, it’s important to remember that this is a trade and not an entry-level job. Plumbers must complete several years of an apprenticeship and be licensed before they are legally allowed to work on their own.
If you’ve been a Plumber for some time, you know that this career is complex with lots to learn as you gain experience. No matter how many years you’ve worked in the field, this guide will help you capture the intricacies of plumbing to land the job you want.
This guide will show you how to:
- Display your knowledge of the field and show off your sharpest skills
- Highlight the personality qualities that make you a top-notch employee and coworker
- Tailor your experience for jobs in commercial or residential plumbing
- Write a succinct and professional resume that appeals to busy managers
Plumbers are some of the highest paid tradesmen with an average annual salary of $56,910, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re looking for a long-term career with no shortage of work, plumbing may be for you.
The realities of plumbing
Tight spaces, dirty water, heavy lifting – plumbing is not exactly glamorous. However, many Plumbers report that they truly enjoy their profession because they make a difference for customers, earn a decent living and experience a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Residential Plumbers are often weekend heroes when something goes awry at the most inopportune time. They know their customers appreciate them and they enjoy contact with a variety of different people every day. They drive between houses and often don’t know what the next project will bring. They can work long and odd hours, but their profit margins are about 40 percent, higher than in commercial plumbing.
Commercial plumbing is much more predictable and usually requires less traveling during the day. Plumbers working in commercial spaces might install two sinks and three toilets in an afternoon. In new buildings, Plumbers are expected to work quickly and communicate often with electricians, inspectors and builders. If you’d prefer to work with a team of tradesmen instead of directly with customers, commercial plumbing might be a great choice for you.
For more ideas and inspiration to pimp your resume? View our related resume examples from the maintenance & repair category, including our Maintenance Technician resume sample , Electrician resume example , Carpenter resume sample , Mechanic resume example , or Handyman resume sample .
Noting the differences between commercial or residential plumbing and tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for can help you stand out as an applicant.
While you’re putting together your Plumber resume, you should know the news is not great: the profession expected to grow 5 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s slower than other professions overall and even faster than other trades, like electricians or building inspectors.
Many new Plumbers will be employed during construction booms when there will be a need for commercial Plumbers who can install large numbers of fixtures and systems in new buildings. With the rising cost of materials and construction, housing starts have been slow. These jobs are susceptible to economic downtown and Plumbers in certain areas might face a shortage of work if construction stops.
Residential plumbing is comparatively more stable, since repairs and maintenance are in demand even during economic downturns.
The profile summary: just the essentials
Think of your profile summary as that cabinet under the kitchen sink: It might not be big, but it’s got all the important stuff.
Your profile summary is your introduction, oftentimes to the person who might be your direct supervisor if you land the job. It’s important to succinctly capture your experience level, focus areas, and training. If you’re looking for a job as a plumbing apprentice, soft skills like teachability and reliability can help you stand out.
Since this is just an overview, focus on the more general categories of work and save the exact details for the skills and experience sections.
Some potential ways to describe yourself:
- Plumber specializing in residential work and customer service
- Plumber experienced in large commercial projects with tight time and budget constraints
- Plumber knowledgeable in the reparation of radiators and heating systems
- Plumbing apprentice with 400+ hours experience making repairs in homes and offices
Versatile and experienced Plumber dedicated to excellent work and customer satisfaction. Adept in servicing, installing, and maintaining plumbing systems. Skilled in reading blueprints and analyzing building codes before planning procedures. Experienced in installing and repairing residential and commercial sewer and septic systems. Committed to pleasing the customer and adhering to safety guidelines at all times. Proven track record full of the successful completion of many plumbing projects, both small and large scale.
Employment history: in working order
Employers will be looking at previous experience to assess your competency in the field. So let’s blow them away.
Even after completing an apprenticeship, it takes several years of job experience before a Plumber has truly mastered the trade. Your employment history is the proof of your skills section, so this is a great place to get into the details of what you know how to do.
Reverse chronological order , with your most recent experience first, is the best way to list your employment history in this situation. Adding some numbers is a great way to strengthen your experiences. How many customers did you service in a typical week? In a new construction project, how many plumbing fixtures did you routinely install in a day?
Don’t forget complementary tasks you might have completed while working as a Plumber. Things like welding, caulking, cutting and repairing walls show attention to detail and offer additional value to residential customers.
Plumber, Harrison & Co. Plumbing, New York
August 2015 - March 2022
- Installed, repaired, and maintained domestic water systems in 50+ residences.
- Diagnosed and found the cause of problems before making a plan of action.
- Properly identified problems, made repairs, and replaced parts.
- Performed preventative maintenance and advised customers on proper care.
- Responded to emergencies during and after work hours
Plumber, Martinez Plumbing, Albany, NY
July 2003 - July 2015
- Worked to install and maintain the plumbing system in a 40-story skyscraper.
- Followed standard precautions at all times to ensure safety and success.
- Worked and communicated with other professionals during construction.
- Conducted service inspections and tested systems to ensure normal function.
About 30 percent of Plumbers belong to unions, which provide training and can act as an employment hub, according to U.S. federal data. Unions can often be a good place for apprentices to start their job search.
Education: your mental toolbox
Whether you completed an apprenticeship or another training, your plumbing education is an essential part of your resume.
Almost every state or municipality requires an exam and licensing procedure before you can work as a Plumber. While these requirements vary from place to place, learning the trade through an apprenticeship is one of the most common ways of preparing for the exam.
Plumbing, Apex Technical School, Long Island City
July 2002 - June 2003
Associate of Communications, State University of New York at Albany, Albany
August 2000 - May 2002
When it comes to plumbing and other trades, levels of experience are divided into three labels: apprentice, journeyman, and master. A plumbing apprentice often learns from someone who is a certified master Plumber. After passing an exam and obtaining a license, the apprentice becomes a journeyman capable of working without direct supervision.
Even though demand for Plumbers is high, apprenticeships can be competitive since many people show interest in the job and then drop out of the program when the work gets tough. If you are applying for a plumbing apprenticeship, you should be prepared to commit to 4 to 5 years of training and thousands of hours of on-the-job training. Reliability and dedication are key attributes to highlight on your resume when you’re just starting out.
You can find plumbing apprenticeships through technical or trade schools, Plumbers unions or by word of mouth. Local companies will also take on apprentices, although having a recommendation or previous coursework in the field can help you secure one of those coveted spots. Plumbing coursework at a trade school may also include math or science classes. Most plumbing apprenticeships require at least a high school diploma or equivalent to get started.
Just because you’ve achieved the level of journeyman doesn’t mean your education stops. Many states require a certain number of hours of continuing education before they will renew your license. You may also consider studying for and taking the master Plumber examination. This accreditation will allow you to start your own business and supervise younger Plumbers. You might even train apprentices of your own!
If you don’t mind working long days, the profits from plumbing are nothing to sneeze at – an experienced Plumber can make a six figure salary annually.
The skills section: the right tools for the job
When it comes to plumbing, your skills are your greatest asset. This is the place to show them off.
The longer you spend in the field, the more competences you’ll accumulate. If you’re an experienced Plumber, it’s best to cherry-pick the skills you use most often and keep them at the top of your list. If you’re particularly knowledgeable in one particular area or you’re applying to a specialized position, highlight those relevant skills to show off your expertise.
Hard skills versus soft skills
When it comes to plumbing, the distinction between hard skills and soft skills is pretty clear. Hard skills require a tool or specialized knowledge, whereas soft skills are your personality traits and your strengths when it comes to working with others.
Hard skills listing example:
- Measurement and installation under floors and above ceilings of PVC, metal and copper pipe
- Installation, cleaning, and management of sewer systems and storm drains
- Soldering, welding, and applying adhesives, sealants, and caulk
- Installation and replacement of sinks, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances
- Unclogging, cleaning, and dislodging objects from toilets, sinks, and other pipes
Soft skills listing example:
- State building code compliant
- Follows safety regulations
- Great communication skills
- Ability to work independently and in a team
- Good physical fitness and work stamina
- Excellent trouble-shooting and problem-solving skills
- Safety and Sanitation
- Knowledge of Water Supply Systems
- Diagnostics and Repairs
- Pipe Fitting
- Installation of New Systems
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
A leaking showerhead can waste more than 500 gallons of water a year, according to the EPA (U.S.). Plumbers save customers money on their water bill and help prevent water waste, too.
Resume layout and design: your blueprint
You’ve gained experience and mastered your skills. Now, it’s time to construct a layout that gives you the best chance of catching an employer’s attention.
As a Plumber, you know a good design makes the job much easier. The same is true for a hiring manager or master Plumber when reading your resume. To show off your experience and skills, it’s important to keep the layout clean and simple with no color, fancy fonts, or images.
So what’s the best way to put it all together in a jiffy? Our field-tested templates and resume builder tool save time and effort by streamlining the process and making sure your resume has the professional feel you need.
We recommend the templates in our Simple category as the best options for landing a job as a Plumber. You don’t have to worry about unnecessary frills. These templates will present your experiences, skills, and education in an attractive and easy-to-read format.
You’ll probably be sending your resume to plumbing companies by email or printing it to hand to a manager directly. If you’re applying for a plumbing school, you’ll probably be asked to upload it to an online portal. In all of these cases, a PDF is the best file format to make sure your layout doesn’t change from computer to computer and still looks great printed.
With our builder tool, you can create your resume and download it as a PDF in no time at all. Now you’re one step closer to landing a job as a plumber!
Key takeaways for a Plumber resume
- The demand for Plumbers is increasing rapidly, making this a great time to enter the profession or switch jobs.
- Tailoring your resume to the specific skill sets needed for commercial or residential plumbing can boost your chances of landing a job.
- Plumbing is a highly-skilled trade requiring several years of an apprenticeship and thousands of hours of experience before one is able to work independently.
- Plumbing apprenticeships can be competitive, so make sure your resume conveys reliability and commitment if you want to secure one of these spots.
Now it’s your turn to assemble a resume that gets you the plumbing job you’re after. Try out our tried-and-true resume templates and resume builder tool to craft the perfect resume in just a few clicks.