For many, being a tradie is a dream come true. It allows you freedom, good pay, and (if you do it right) stable work. But it’s also extremely competitive. Up to 30% of Australia’s labour force is made up of tradies. With a massive pool of skilled tradespeople to choose from, employers are looking for a number of key things when picking the right person for a job.
Having these essential things might just land you your next gig.
Do you hold the right credentials?
You need to be licensed and hold the appropriate certifications. You are competing with other tradies and this means you need to highlight your experience and knowledge. Ultimately, when someone meets you or sees your quote for a job, all they know is what’s on paper. They have no personal experiences with your work, so often all they can rely on are your credentials.
The more credentials you have, the better. It’s worth getting as many certifications and licenses that are required for your specific field of work. It not only increases your chance of success, but it’s great for networking too.
Do you have the skills and the right experience?
Do you have the soft and hard skills necessary for being a tradie? The best tradespeople are known for being good communicators and are hands-on in the projects they undertake.
Are these the skills that you still need to develop? If so, there are so many free online courses that you can take to develop your skills according to your career goals. Take a look at the skills that are being asked for in the area that you are.
As an example, the construction industry is the fourth largest industry in Australia. If you’re eager to break into the construction field, getting a Diploma of Building and Construction is essential. It’s also important to be aware of licensing requirements in your chosen area of work. You may need Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) to qualify as a licensed builder in QLD, ACT, TAS, and NT.
In the long run, no tradie ever stops learning. The more experience and certifications you gain, the more likely you are to get better jobs. And that means that you may need to pursue jobs that are outside of your wheelhouse, so you can expand your experience.
Working with another tradie is often the best way to expand your knowledge set, so working under a more experienced tradie is recommended.
Can you back it up?
As you complete jobs, you should be building up a list of references, reviews, and testimonials. As a tradie, this is essentially your portfolio of work. As you set out to find new work, your future clients will want to know more about your references and their experiences. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising for tradies, and it’s important if you want to get your foot in the door for increasingly more valuable projects.
You can attract more opportunities when you request clients to share their testimonials of your work online. Word-of-mouth and positive reviews from clients will help you build your online presence and will help you build trust and credibility in your preferred industry.
Have you got all the above? Once you’ve ticked off all the above conditions, you need to get on board. Here are a few other things you can do to land that role.
People can get jobs in any field through word-of-mouth. The more you network, the more you’ll know other tradies. The more tradies you know, the more likely you’re going to get referrals. Send referrals to other tradies and they’ll want to return the favour to keep those jobs coming.
For tradespeople, referrals are powerful. You might not do a specific type of work, but you might know someone who does. By referring back and forth, you’ll have more satisfied customers and increase your reach professionally.
Networking also makes it easier to get the skills and experience you need. You may find yourself getting hired for a large job by a more experienced tradie or trade company or you may find yourself learning from those who have been in the business much longer.
It can take a long time to break into the trades, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get in immediately. Many people have already paid their dues in the skilled labour force and it is extremely competitive and highly selective today.
Be prepared to provide flexibility when you’re just starting out. For example, you may opt to charge a more competitive price than more experienced professionals in order to hit the ground running and build your portfolio. The key focus here is gathering experience, building your client network, and increasing positive reviews
Jobs in the trade are directly linked to the state of the economy, so you need to be prepared to go to where the jobs are. Certain trade jobs for larger projects may only be available in areas which require a bit of a commute from home.
And if you’re really committed, you can even offer to work off-shifts. These show employers that you work hard and are dedicated to getting the job done. Once you’ve put in the work, you’ll be able to steadily move on to better projects and pay grades.
It’s all about connections
Connect with a union. Your local union can likely give you more information about breaking into trades. Unions are powerful, and they are designed to help promote hard-working, talented tradies from within. They will have information about additional training and education that you might want to go through, and they’ll be able to tell you what you need to do to take the next step in your career.
Breaking into the trades isn’t easy. But once you’re in, you can build an incredibly successful career — and possibly even own your own business someday. By working hard, developing your skills, and networking, you should be able to pave the right path for an excellent career.
Know that you’re going to need the right credentials and you’re going to need to make sure that you qualify for the positions that you’re pursuing.
Check if you have the right credentials and learn how to build the right qualifications for your preferred trade job. Sign up now with GotCred and be one step closer to landing your dream role.