5 Tips for a Successful Career Switch to the Trades

trades job professional
trades job professional

5 Tips for a Successful Career Switch to the Trades

Are you tired of working behind a desk or at a cash register? Do you daydream about a career where you’d work with your hands, and get to spend time in and outdoors? It may be time to switch to a career in the Trades. It’s more common for people to switch careers than you might think, especially when you realize the job you have is not necessarily the job you want. But how can you jump from one field to another? You’ll need to plan, train, and network.

1. Decide What Trade You Want to Pursue

When you think of your ideal career, what does it look like? Do you want a job that lets you be active and keeps you busy all day? Do you want to work in a variety of settings, such as homes, businesses, and construction sites? Do you consider yourself a handy person who likes to work with tools and machinery? Do you want a career path where employees are needed? A career in the Trades might be right for you.

The first step is to consider what you might enjoy that you could also make a living at. Electricians, plumbers, and the people who install and maintain HVAC and cable systems are Trades professionals. So is the auto mechanic that just repaired your car. Think about the profession that seems to align the most with your interests.

2. Do Your Research About Trades Careers

If you’re leaning toward one field or another, take the next step and do some research. A simple Google search can help you find out what individual Trades careers are all about. Investigate what the work schedule will be like, what you can expect to do each day, and who employs workers in your Trade. You can read blogs, news articles, and even view YouTube videos to get a clear picture of what your career could look like. This is also a helpful step if you still can’t decide which Trade you’d like to work in. With a little research, you can narrow down your choices.

3. Network with Professionals in the Trades

A great way to break into any business is to network with professionals who already work in the industry. They can give you advice, connect you with other professionals, and let you know about available jobs. You can network on any social media platform, but LinkedIn is a good place to start. Create a profile and post that you want to begin a career in the trades. Then, connect with people in the industry who have a career path you might like to follow. Once you’re connected, message them and ask if they have time for a brief phone call or Zoom chat. You can also check out local Meetups for tradespeople.

4. Train for the Profession

Especially for a career switch, you’ll want to get training from professionals who have worked in the field. Learn the skills of the Trade including important components like safety codes and protocol, electrical or plumbing systems, how to use specific tools or machinery, and how to troubleshoot problems. And get firsthand knowledge from people who have been there. Choose a school that hires instructors with actual field experience. Depending on the program, you may also be prepared for certification, licensure, or apprenticeship at its completion.

5. Update Your Resume

You don’t have any prior experience in your field so how do you convince an employer to hire you? Once you complete your training, update your resume to reflect your new career path:

  • Education—Add in your new education. Show that you have training. If you’ve earned any certifications through your program, add those too.
  • Skills—Don’t forget to add in your new skills, including tools and technology you’ve trained on. Also include soft skills, such as communication and problem solving, that are relevant to the job.
  • Relevant Experience—You may have come from a different industry altogether, but some of your experience may still apply. Did you work with technology? Did you assist or communicate with clients? Highlight transferrable knowledge that you can bring to your new career.


If you’re ready to make an exciting career switch to the trades, contact Porter and Chester Institute today. We offer a variety of trades programs that can prepare you for a career in automotive, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or low voltage technology. Fill out the form to learn more.