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Which Trade Is Right for You?

June 4, 2015

Becoming a skilled tradesperson comes with plenty of career potential. But learning a trade doesn’t just open up a number of job opportunities; being a skilled worker can also prove to be very lucrative. Every day, trade workers complete jobs in diverse settings and on important projects that make a difference to their communities. For those who are starting out in their careers, one of the biggest questions is deciding which trade to pursue. Below are some guidelines for prospective apprentices to select the trade most suited to their skills, interests and passions.

What Are You Good At?

The best jobs are those that you will enjoy doing and have a natural affinity for. This is classic career advice, yes, but it applies particularly well to trade careers. Think about previous jobs that you’ve enjoyed, whether in your school woodworking class or around the home. If you are skilled in the areas of maths and logic, carpentry and electrical trades are potential options you would enjoy. For those that enjoy working outdoors and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, more physical trades like landscaping or bricklaying could be the way to go. If you’re still unsure which path to choose, it can be worth taking a career aptitude test to get a clearer picture of your natural abilities and then matching different trades that closely align with your interests and skills.

Talk to People in Your Top Five Trades

After you’ve done the soul searching and the research, it’s time to shortlist your top five trades and start talking to people. People who work in the trade you are aspiring towards will be able to give realistic insights into the demands of the job and provide an accurate ‘day in the life of…’ snapshot into their work. Be sure to ask questions and spend a day on the jobsite wherever possible. Remember: the right job is a lifestyle, so don’t pick a trade based on the job title – it needs to be something that you’ll enjoy doing. At the end of the day, it only matters what you think of the work, not anyone else.

Understand Your Personality Type

Some personalities are more suited to working face to face with the general public, such as in service-based trades like locksmithing. People who are more introverted may prefer working behind the scenes in a manufacturing trade for a company such as WIA. The point is, your personality will help to determine where you’ll thrive and what positions may amplify any of your weaknesses or limitations. Speak to trusted friends and family and find out their opinions about what trade may be best suited to your personality. Also consider what you value and what motivates you. For example, if you value leadership and teamwork, working as part of a team and learning from others is something that should happen naturally in the trade you ultimately choose.

Have you learned a trade? How did you know it was the right choice for you? Leave a comment and share your experiences with others.

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