May 1970 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
Preparing for a technician
career in electronics today is not so different than it was in 1970, when this article
on resume preparation appeared in Popular Electronics magazine. Sure, particular job descriptions
have changed, but the basics are pretty much the same. In 1970, being able to list
television and radio repair on your resume was a valuable indication of your schematic
reading and troubleshooting prowess. The keywords Sams Photofacts would jump right
off the page at a knowledgeable interviewer (you can still buy documentation packages
from Sams Technical Publishing).
Then, as now, having a two-year college electronics degree or a stint in the armed
forces as an electronics technician - or both, preferably - is almost a requirement
for landing a job at a defense or aerospace electronics company.
See other installments:
Opportunity Mirror - Preparing a Resume
Thoughtful Reflections on Your Future
Third in a Monthly Series, By David L. Heiserman
Preparing a Resume
I notice that most "help wanted" ads request a resume from the applicant. I have
never prepared one. What information should I include in a resume?
Your resume should be as brief and factual as possible, but do not leave out
any important or interesting information about yourself that might help you get
the job. The following items must be included in your resume:
1. Full legal name.
2. Home address and telephone number.
3. Personal information. (Date of birth, marital status, and number
4. Educational background. (Name and location of your high school
and any college, technical school or military school you have attended and the amount
of time spent at each. Describe the major courses you studied and indicate any certificates,
diplomas, degrees, or honors you have received. Detail any home study courses you
have completed and name the schools and describe the courses.)
5. Work experience. (List your last employer first and then the names
and addresses of all previous employers showing the date you started working and
the date you left each employer. Also include the name of the immediate supervisor
at your last place of employment. Describe the kinds of work you performed for each
employer and the titles of the positions held. Name any special equipment you have
worked on - military or civilian. Lastly, give an honest reason for your leaving
6. Military and draft status, including any military experience.
(Show dates, duties and rank.)
7. Special interests. (Detail your hobbies and favorite pastimes.)
Don't be afraid to prepare one master resume and to send copies (Xerox or other)
of your resume to different prospective employers. However, be sure to attach a
personal note to each prospective employer telling who you are and why you are submitting
I work in a TV service shop and we have a complete file of Sams Photofacts. I
use at least three different folders of schematics and maintenance data every day.
In the years that I've worked at the service shop I've never discovered how Sams
develops these valuable folders. Is it true that errors are occasionally put in
the schematics to circumvent the equipment manufacturers' copyrights?
Since 1948, Howard W. Sams & Company has been publishing complete circuit
schematics, parts lists, troubleshooting hints, and maintenance tips on just about
every TV, radio, and phonograph made in the United States. These folder packets
of information are available at a modest price from most of the large electronics
retailers and are considered the bibles of the TV and radio service industry.
It is not true that errors are intentionally introduced. In fact, Sams is very
careful to avoid errors of any kind. According to Les Nelson, Director of the Photofact
division of Howard W. Sams, all of the schematics are original and not copies of
the circuits distributed by the manufacturer.
It seems hard to believe, but Sams develops the schematics the hard way-by tracing
the circuit on working models of the equipment. Sams has a staff of about 60 technicians
who trace out the schematics, take voltage readings, photograph oscilloscope waveforms,
and develop maintenance and alignment techniques. Sams also has an expensive staff
of draftsmen, photographers, and artists to put together the Photofact folders.
Most manufacturers are so pleased with the services provided by Sams that new
working models of home entertainment electronic equipment are loaned to the Sams
laboratory as soon as the first models are off the production line.
Electronics technicians and draftsmen interested in more information about job
opportunities with Howard W. Sams should write to: Mr. Frank Wallace, Personnel
Department, Howard W. Sams & Company Inc., 4300 West 62nd Street, Indianapolis,
Frank Wallace tells us that he is especially interested in hearing from people
who have completed training at a two-year technical school, and have had several
years experience in home entertainment manufacturing or servicing.
I am a senior in high school and have always bad a great interest in electronics.
I also have a ham radio license. I would like to teach electronics, but my school
counselor hasn't been able to find any material on how to prepare for a career in
this particular field. He has information about science and the industrial arts,
but nothing on electronics. Is there anything different about the kind of training
an electronics teacher must have?
I assume that you do not want, or intend, to teach electronics in high school.
Very few high schools offer any courses in electronics. Those few schools that do
use their regular science teachers, or hire a part-time electronics teacher. Generally
speaking, electronics in high school is usually at a hobby level.
In order to teach electronics full time, you should be shooting for a teaching
job in a vocational school or a two-year technical college.
Teachers at accredited vocational schools and technical colleges must have college
degrees in the subjects they teach. Since you want to teach electronics, your counselor
should find you a good university where you can study electrical/electronic engineering.
If you don't want to teach at the vocational level, you must get a college degree
in education and according to the rules of the various educational colleges, a prospective
teacher must "minor" in a secondary subject that he can also teach. Unfortunately,
electronics is not one of the minors offered by any of the usual education colleges.
If you want to teach electronics in high school, you will probably find it necessary
to have a minor in science.
Even with a degree in education and a minor in science, you should have formal
electronics training. Let your counselor help you select a home study course in
Electronic Organ Repair
Here is a case where the tail may be wagging the dog! I have been working as
a digital circuit design technician for six years. Last Christmas I bought my family
the large Heathkit electronic organ. I became so entranced by organ circuits that
I am seriously considering getting into the electronic organ repair business. However,
is there such a thing?
The electronic organ manufacturers that we have talked to all tell us that they
hire organ repairmen and technicians who can meet two principal qualifications:
a good solid background in electronics, and at least a one-finger ability to play
However, the electronic organ repair business is very specialized and it is doubtful
that you can make it a going business just by yourself. Each organ is a different
design and it would appear to us that your best bet would be to try part-time electronic
organ servicing in behalf of a large music store or organ dealer's service shop.
If the shop thinks you are qualified, they may have you tag along with an experienced
technician. Then, they'll probably ask you to go to a full-time factory school for
a week or so - with pay, of course.
At these factory schools the instructors will tell you about the circuits used
in their organs and how to cure the most common bugs and defects.
From that point on, you will be a specialist in that particular brand of electronic
organ. And, you can expect to spend at least a week each year back at the factory
brushing up on new circuits and maintenance tricks. If you happen to get a job with
one of the larger companies you'll also be spending several days a year at regional
The career opportunities in electronic organ repair appear to be very good at
the present time. Organ sales are rising steadily and there is a demand for top-notch
repair technicians. At the same time we cannot disguise the fact that the complexity
of organ electronics is increasing at an alarming rate. Organ dealers are paying
top wages to attract and keep electronics technicians who feel at home with modern
solid-state computer-type circuits.
If you don't want to get too involved, you might contact the Niles Bryant School,
3631 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95820 concerning a home study course
on electronic organ repair.
Posted December 2, 2022
(updated from original post on 9/26/2012)