If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the only certain thing in this life is uncertainty. In a matter of a few short weeks, we have gone from a record-breaking DOW to tens of millions of American jobs lost.
Parents who have never before needed social assistance are now waiting in line for hours in the hope of getting enough provisions from the community food bank to see their children through the next few days, and unless you’re considered an “essential worker,” you’re probably going to have to work remotely if you are working at all.
It used to be that a four-year college degree was all that was needed to ensure your family’s security, but the Great Recession of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 both showed us that what was true yesterday is not necessarily true today. That’s making work in the trades especially attractive right about now. This article takes a look at trade jobs and explains why working in the trades may be right for you!
The most obvious reason why work in the trades looks so good right now is that, in a constantly changing economy, the trades are jobs that are not going away. No matter how the marketplace may shift, we will always need someone to keep the lights on and the water flowing. We need someone to build our houses and our offices, to pave our roads, and to ensure our phone and internet connections are blazingly fast.
Right now, the demand for trade positions far outpaces the need. In fact, it’s not the tech and engineering jobs that employers today are having the hardest time filling. It’s the demand for skilled tradesmen and women, from welders and electricians to machinists, and that challenge is only going to increase as the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who currently make up the majority of the workforce, age out of the industry.
Good pay, challenging work
Working in the trades isn’t only about job security. It’s also about earning a solid wage doing interesting and important work. Licensed electricians, for instance, typically earn just under $50,000 per year with the industry’s top earners raking in as much as $83,000!
And if you’re looking to start your own business, plumbers and HVAC technicians typically enjoy near-constant demand while commanding significant hourly fees. For ambitious entrepreneurs, plying your trade for commercial and residential customers can be just the ticket to starting a family business that will last for generations to come.
Reaching new heights
If you’ve always wanted a little adventure and you’re not afraid of heights, then you might look for work as a cell tower climber! In recent years, as the hunger for ever-greater network speeds, reliability, and utility continues to grow. The transition from 3G to 4G and, now, to 5G has meant a surge in the demand for technicians to build, maintain, and upgrade the network.
And with significant demand comes significant coin. The median salary for a cell tower or transmission tower climber in 2017 was nearly $60,000. Make no mistake, however.
If you choose a job like this, you’ll certainly be earning your keep. Studies show that a cell tower climber is among the nation’s most dangerous jobs, putting its workers at risk for two of the most common causes of workplace injury: falls and electrocution. If you choose this particular trade, as exciting and lucrative as it may be, you also have to be ready to check your fears at the door.
If you’re looking to land your ideal job in the trades, there are a number of ways to get started. You might enroll in a licensure, certification, or apprenticeship program, or you might skip the preliminaries and set your sights on the company of your dreams. If you go that route, there are a few things you need to do first. Start by taking an inventory of your online presence. Make sure that your social media is on point and maybe even consider creating your own website to showcase all you have to offer to your prospective employer.
That also means overhauling your resume. Remember that your resume is not the time to be modest. It’s the time to show how and exactly why you are the right person for the job and the company. It’s the time to show your future boss precisely why no other candidate can compare with what you bring to the table.
A job in the trades can provide the job security and the income that once only a college degree could promise. The trades provide essential services for which there will always be a need. They offer stable incomes that can comfortably support a family, and they offer the opportunity to spend your career doing interesting and important work!
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who has a particular interest in social justice, politics, education, healthcare, technology, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ HamiltonJori.