As a mechanic in either automotive, diesel, or aircraft, there are many wonderful career options available to you if you are considering a career change. However, you may be wondering what Action you need to take to transition from your current profession as a mechanic. This article is about the practical steps you can take to switch careers.
Here we go!
Step 1. Explore and Decide an Alternative Career for Auto Mechanics
If you’ve decided that you want to change careers from working as a mechanic, it is good to know and understand why you’ve decided to leave your auto mechanic profession behind.
For most people, it is the lack of advancement in their current career. For others, it is the dissatisfaction with senior management.
This might be you, but nonetheless, it is important to ask yourself, “what do I actually want to do.” Changing from one career path to another requires lots of commitment and resources. Thus, you want to be reasonably certain about your decisions.
- Do I still want to work with auto motives?
- Would I like to work for myself?
- Would having a different employer make me change your mind about leaving mechanic work behind?
Now that you’ve asked yourself these personal questions, it’s time to ask some more career-based questions.
- What type of work-life balance are you looking for?
- Are you interested in career advancement opportunities?
- What income range are you hoping for?
- Are you ready for additional training?
Now that you are somewhat clearer, the next step is researching what careers are out there to choose from.
If you already have a specific career in mind, then the best thing to do is see how your skills and experience working as a mechanic match up to this new career you’re hoping for.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a specific new career in mind, here is a list of common jobs that former mechanics have successfully transitioned to:
- Service Technician: Service technicians pay visits to their client’s residences and either install or perform maintenance work on appliances like electrical or plumbing products and appliances. Your mechanical skills working as an auto mechanic will easily come in handy here when repairing machinery and motors.
- Mechanical Assembler: Mechanical assembler typically works on either production or assembly lines to fabricate or put together the different components for machines or mechanical products. This is a great alternative career for mechanics because it utilizes both mechanical knowledge and familiar tools to create the finished products.
- Mechanical Inspector: Mechanical inspectors inspect and test machines to ensure that they are installed and function as intended. These may include HVAC systems, kitchen equipment, factory equipment, or even generators. Mechanics already have experience inspecting the insides of mechanical systems and are also familiar with the tools needed to inspect these machines.
- Home Inspector: Home inspectors are professionals who inspect homes and properties to inform owners or potential buyers about any immediate or future concerns concerning the property. A mechanics technical skill may not be useful when working as a home inspector, but transferrable skills like critical thinking and attention to detail can easily be utilized.
- Aircraft Mechanic: Aircraft mechanics inspect and repair aircraft parts, including structural and hydraulic systems. If you’re still interested in working as a mechanic but are just burnt out from working with cars, then this is a great career alternative. Aircraft mechanics perform typical mechanical duties similar to those of auto mechanics, albeit with the use of different tools.
- Customer Service Representative: Customer service reps typically assist customers that have trouble using a company’s product or services. This is another great alternative career for former mechanics that are already experienced in handling and using these products and want to use their knowledge of the industry differently.
- Truck Driving: Truck drivers transport cargo across long distances from a pickup point to a specified drop-off point. They also perform minor repairs to their vehicles as they are prone to breaking down. Mechanics already possess the mechanical knowledge required to perform these duties making this another great career alternative.
Step 2. Speak to other Professionals With Similar Backgrounds.
Now that you’ve possibly decided on a new career to transition to, it is important that you find and speak with other professionals who have had a similar background to yours.
There is truth to the common advice of “talking it out” A career change is not an easy decision to make, and having someone you can be open with and who can possibly mentor you around any challenges you may face really makes all the difference.
Think about it. A former mechanic will have a more personal experience about the hardships you might face compared to any article on the internet. Additionally, someone who has successfully attempted what it is you’re trying to do will have much more knowledge on the best options to choose and the best way to go about things.
Communicating with both your personal and professional networks is a great way to get in touch with professionals who have a similar background. You can discuss your career interests with them, enabling them to connect you with possible opportunities.
Colleagues and previous colleagues can act as your professional network, while friends and family can be your more personal network.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to only previous mechanics. Professionals from the field you plan to transition to can be very helpful, they’ll have better insights into what job requirements in the field are and what additional education or training you may need to stand out to employers.
You can find professionals in any field by reaching out to them through professional networking websites like Linkedln, or if possible, you can try finding internet forums related to the new industry you hope to transition to.
Step 3. Build Foundational Knowledge and Get Qualified
Foundational knowledge is the concept, theories, principles, methods, mode of reasoning, and framework for a particular subject or skill.
Foundational knowledge for, let’s say, a welder would understand how to read and interpret blueprints, shop safety, and to know how to measure and cut materials accurately.
How does this apply to you and a career change?
When deciding on a new career, it’s very likely that after evaluating your personal preferences, needs, and wants, you may decide on one that you do not have all the required skills or technical requirements to enter into. This is where building your foundational knowledge and getting qualified comes in.
Let’s look at an example in detail. Picture a former mechanic trying to transition into a home inspection role. Apart from the useful soft skills these roles will require, they will also likely require certifications, work experience, or even a portfolio of projects the candidate has worked on.
The mechanic can build on their foundational knowledge by researching what the requirements for these roles are and setting out to achieve them.
This is another area where having a network of professionals with a similar background to yours can come in handy. They’ll have more knowledge than you on what additional education or qualifications you’ll need for a new role.
You can build on your foundational knowledge in so many different ways. If what you’re lacking is experience, then acquiring some work experience in your new field is building on your foundational knowledge.
If the role requires you to get new degrees or certifications, then doing exactly that is helping to build your foundational knowledge too.
Getting additional degrees or qualifications may seem like an energy-consuming task. But, it may really be required to bridge your knowledge and experience gap for some career changes. Degrees, qualifications, certifications are tested and proven ways to gain the experience you will need in almost any industry.
Studying these will allow you to know the history and procedures for the industry you hope to transition into and will definitely help in bringing you up to date for your new career.
Step 4. Identify and Package your Transferrable Skills
Before moving forward with your career change, the next helpful tip we have for you is to stop and take a moment to look back on the skills you have that allowed you to excel as a mechanic or even the skills you picked up while working as one.
Soft skills are often overlooked by a lot of people, which is a big mistake. A lot of employers will require you to have experience and certifications, yes, but they also want to know that they’re not just hiring a robot or textbook candidate.
This is where your soft skills come in. They’ll help to show you as a “Full package” candidate and will complement your more technical skills.
These transferrable skills will show you as a fully rounded individual who will add value to an organization apart from just carrying out your job description to the tee.
These talents and skills of yours can easily act as selling points for other careers that may require them.
Let’s look at easily transferrable skills that mechanics can use in other professions.
- Communication skills: Mechanics often discuss with customers in order to explain the problems with their cars or to explain the steps they took to repair the car and what their charges are. Whether it’s written or verbal, communication is a skill that’s needed in every field. Being able to correspond with clients, superiors, colleagues is important.
- Problem Solving Skills: Mechanics have to identify why a machine isn’t working and then figure out how to repair it. This helps in developing their abilities to find different solutions to a variety of problems. Employers value employees that can come up with ideas to fix problems an organization may be having.
- Administrative and Multi-tasking Skills: A lot of the time, mechanics have to perform administrative tasks alongside their more technical ones. Answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and arranging inventory are some examples of these duties. Employers appreciate employees that are capable of performing more than just their basic roles.
- Customer Service: Part of being a mechanic is interacting with customers to communicate information. These customer service skills will definitely help in a role where you also have to communicate and interact with customers.
- Software Skills: In this age, a lot of mechanics operate and use diagnostic software to diagnose problems in cars. This software requires good computer skills in order to run effectively. Your ability to adapt and learn to use specific software can be very advantageous in a number of industries.
- Efficiency, organization, attention to detail, and continuous learning are some other skills that mechanics often develop and can transfer to other fields and careers.
Highlighting any of the transferrable skills you have in a cover letter or resume when applying for a job will help to emphasize your suitability for the job and help to hire managers see you as a strong candidate.
Step 5. Evaluate and Reframe Your Work Experience
Evaluating and reframing your work experience is the next step in transitioning out of an auto mechanic career.
Evaluating your work experience helps to put in perspective what you learned on the job as a mechanic and how these may fit into your new career. But more importantly, it makes it easier to reframe your experience to present yourself as the perfect candidate for a job.
Try asking yourself what particular technical and interpersonal skills you have developed through your job? Will these skills benefit you in the new position you’re looking for?
For example, you may have used your problem-solving skills to develop an innovative solution for some problems that a customer was facing.
Now that you’ve identified these skills and experiences, what areas of your job did they affect? For example, your attention to detail or result-oriented nature may mean that you always had satisfied clients and customers.
Putting these achievements on your resume will stand out and do wonders for you.
But even if you feel your work experience doesn’t really relate to the new role you’re looking towards, you can easily reframe your work experience to help justify and amplify your skills to make you look like a good fit for the position.
For example, if an employer is looking for a service technician, you may never have worked as one in an official capacity, but as a mechanic, you will have had experience installing and repairing machinery. You can point out how your experience is similar to that of a service technician and show how valuable this experience will be for the role.
Step 6. Acquire New Work Experience
Just like gaining new qualifications or certifications can help when transitioning to a new career, gaining actual work experience is also very important.
Unless you’re planning to start at an entry-level position, a lot of jobs will require you to have some form of experience.
Once you know what career path you want, working in that field is a good way to get your feet in the door. This doesn’t mean making an immediate career change in that field; think of it more as interning or just getting practical experience in your new field.
Some ways to acquire new work experience include;
- Volunteering with an organization: One way to get more work experience is by volunteering for professionals in the new field you hope to work in. You can connect with professionals using professional networking sites like Linkedln. Not only will this help you build your resume, but it will help you develop your skills while building new networks.
- Working on other company projects: Another way to gain more work experience is by volunteering to work and help out on related projects going on at your current company.
For example, if you’re hoping to transition to a more supervisory role, you can volunteer to help your shift supervisor to handle minor tasks like assigning work schedules and hours.
- Work on side projects: In the evenings after work, you can spend your time working on side projects that can help you pad up your work portfolio. You can even offer your services to small non-profits or local community centers in line with your new career.
Remember, the experience can come in so many different forms, and acquiring new work experience will not only look good on your resume but it will also give you an inner look into the industry you may be working in in the future.
Step 7. Update Your Professional Brand Assets.
Changing your line of work will most likely require you to change and fine-tune the way you present yourself professionally. Reviewing your CV, personal websites, and Linkedln profile can go a long way in making your career change experience smoother.
Personal branding is all about marketing yourself and attracting recruiters and more job opportunities for you. Some good places to start are;
- Your CV: Highlighting your skills and experience on your resume in a way that fits the new career options you’re looking into Is important. Make sure your CV is up to date and includes your most recent and relevant professional experience.
If you’ve gotten more work experience, qualifications or training, make sure to add them to your CV.
- Your LinkedIn Profile: Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places that a hiring manager will check; this means it’s important to match the information on your CV to that on your LinkedIn profile. As someone moving into a new career, it’s also important to let recruiters know that you’re open to hiring and looking for new opportunities.
Optimize the headline section of your profile by listing major skills that will be required in your new profession. Also, optimize the summary section of your profile by highlighting your work experience, certifications, technical skills, and expertise.
- Your Personal Websites: Your personal websites include all your social media accounts. A good tip is to make sure all your social media accounts show you in a professional light; if possible, let your social media activity reflect your interests and activities you may have carried out in relation to your new field of work. Make posts on topics that you’re passionate about and connect with professionals working in your field of interest.
Bonus step: Take Action
Now that you have an action plan, the only thing left is for you to actually get up and start using it. Prioritize yourself and your future by investing your time and energy into making this career change work for you.
Don’t treat your career change as an afterthought once you’ve decided on it, be committed and dedicated to turning it into a reality. Motivate yourself, and surround yourself with people who will also push you to achieve your dreams.
Even though it may be a big and scary decision to make for most people, if you’re intentional about what it is you want, and you’ve drafted out your action plan on how to achieve what you want, the only thing left to do is believe in yourself and finally put your plan into motion.
Do not hesitate, do not procrastinate. The best time you have to make this career change is now. No other time will be as good as now. Commit to putting into the work, and your efforts will definitely yield results for you.
Just think about it. What do you have to lose? In the best-case scenario, you make a successful pivot into a new career that you love and is perfect for you.
Changing careers can be a difficult thing to do, but with the right tools and attitude, you can make it happen! The eight tips in this article are tested and proven when making the action plan that’ll you’ll need to make this career change a successful one for you.
Do some research into what careers best fit your experience, skills, personal needs, and wants. Network with professionals who have a similar background to you, build on your foundational knowledge by acquiring more work experience, skills, and qualifications you’ll need for your new role.
Update your professional brand assets to align with the new career you’ve decided to pursue and market yourself as a perfect candidate for roles in your new career path.
Finally, take Action and treat your career change as a job in itself. Make sure to invest your time, energy, and any other resources you require into turning this dream of yours into a whole reality.
There are many opportunities out there open to people with backgrounds in mechanic work. The key is finding these opportunities and equipping yourself with all the experience, skills, and qualifications that are sure to make you perfect for the role.