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.