Getting Started in a Skilled Trade: Three Tips

You’re about to embark on a career that involves working with your hands, and you’re gathering the skills, knowledge, and experience you need to carve out a place for yourself in your trade. You may be studying plumbing, carpentry, auto repair, aircraft maintenance, beauty and aesthetics, HVAC repair, or any other field with eternal demand and a requirement for vocational training. But when you’ve completed your certification and gained your license, you’ll still need to overcome a major hurdle: getting started. Heading out on your own can be a challenge, but these three moves can make the process easier.

Align yourself with a guild or trade group.

Your education program should provide you with information that can connect you with a local guild, and the guild can help you establish an apprenticeship. If you can work while learning and learn while working, especially under the guidance of experienced pros, you’ll find a faster path to your goals. As you form a relationship with your mentor or mentors, keep an open mind and stay flexible. Reach out for opportunities to take risks and grow. You may never again work within this combination of freedom and security; the freedom to take risks and try new things, and the security of having knowledgeable support on hand if things go wrong.

Research developments in the industry.

New materials, state-of-the-art equipment, and new methods and processes may be appearing in your field without your knowledge. Even if you can’t get your hands on this equipment or predict its impact on the future of your field, you should be aware of its existence. To do this, stay connected with industry-focused communities, both online and off. Review trade publications, visit forums, and attend industry group meetings. Stay active and in touch with events taking place that may affect you, your employers, and your customers.

Build a network and keep it strong.

Connect with others in your industry, don’t just compete with them. Remember names and faces, and when you establish a new partnership or personal connection with a client, vendor, or friend of a friend, value the connection and recognize what it can do for you. Much of your future business may be based on referrals, which are often based on trust and personal contact. Your reputation will have a powerful impact on your success, so start building it now.

For more on how to establish a strong foothold in your specific skilled trade, reach out to the staffing and career development experts at Lift Temp.

The Importance of Work-Life Balance: Avoiding Fatigue

If you’re like most employees in the full-time workplace, you may sometimes feel that your employers are asking more from you than you’re able to give. In other words, you can’t meet the demands placed upon you without taking something away from the other aspects of your life. In order to please your boss and satisfy your implied job description, for example, you have no choice but to compromise your health or the time you spend with your loved ones. There are only so many hours in a day, and most of us have a finite amount of energy to spend during those hours. So what can you do when your job threatens to take over and diminish the quality of your life? Here are a few moves that can help you avoid fatigue and maintain control over your destiny.

Stand up for yourself.

Ask what’s in it for you. We’ve been taught to believe that this move is selfish and immoral, but when it comes to work, it’s sometimes necessary. Remember that business is business…it isn’t personal. If you’re asked to come in on a weekend or take an unexpected two-week trip, make sure your sacrifices are acknowledged and your time and investments are compensated. Imagine yourself as the CEO of You, Inc. Will your company make money if you give your product away for free? Of course not.

Physical and mental health are connected.

Before you assume that your post-lunch exhaustion or your fragile emotions during a 6:30 meeting are simply the product of your circumstances, think again. Your mind and body are linked, and the decisions you make and the care you invest in your physical health will pay off in the quality of your work and your overall happiness. Get at least six hours of sleep every night. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Eat a complete breakfast of whole grains, fruit, and lean protein. Don’t go to sleep at 2:00 a.m. and then eat cake for breakfast and expect to have a good day.

Choose the right employer in the first place.

Despite an avalanche of studies proving that well-treated, respected, and trusted employees produce better work, some employers simply disregard this information and continue to treat their employees as commodities. If your employer thinks less of you because you leave work to attend to a sick child, or actually use your allotted and earned PTO days, it might be time to look for a new employer. Your frustration may result from misaligned values, and finding a better match may be easier than you think.

For more on how to make important adjustments to your work-life balance, contact the staffing and career development team at Lift Temp.

Four In-Demand Skills for Lift Truck Operators

When most employers review a stack of resumes and schedule interviews for potential lift truck operators, they look for the answer to one (fairly obvious) question: Has this candidate ever operated a lift truck? How much experience has he or she had behind the controls? But as it happens, this isn’t the only question that matters. In fact, it may not even make the top five. Plenty of excellent, highly productive employees originally stepped into their interviews with no lift truck experience whatsoever. So if experience isn’t the only signature sign of a great candidate, what other qualities should managers watch out for?

Interest

Keep an eye on the candidates who sit up straight, walk with purpose, and show a strong interest in learning things they don’t already know. A candidate who really wants to excel will excel, even if she’s never operated a lift truck in her entire life. Look for evidence that the candidate cares deeply about what will become of him and what will become of the company that employs him. If your candidate wants to learn, is willing to accept that he doesn’t know everything, and is prepared to make each day on the job more productive and error-free then the last, keep that candidate in the running.

Intelligence

This quality falls below interest, since intelligence alone doesn’t always indicate the ability to gain and perfect a new skill set. But it does matter. If your candidate gets into a difficult predicament or finds herself with a puzzle to solve (mechanical, social, or otherwise) will she be able to figure it out? Will he be able to stay calm and stay in motion? Will he ask for help if necessary? Will she remember the training she’s received?

Flexibility

If your candidate has years of experience in the materials handling industry, then she’s already demonstrated this quality, for sure. But if he’s new to the business, make sure he knows what he’s getting into. Materials handling can be boring and monotonous one day, and utterly unpredictable the next. This work can be dirty, loud, and sometimes thankless. Some days can be very long, and sometimes work dries up without warning. Is your candidate ready for the unexpected?

Social Adaptability

Can your candidate take orders and criticism gracefully? Can she give orders that are clear and direct? Can she follow through on both? Can he get along with others and work well as a member of a team?

For more on how to identify and hire the most reliable candidates, contact the lift truck staffing experts at Lift Temp.

– See more at: http://blog.lifttemp.com/2015/07/four-in-demand-skills-for-lift-truck-operators/#sthash.i4m84WAt.dpuf