You are probably tired of working odd hours doing dangerous tasks or are not making as much money as you once made as an electrician.
Either way, you are ready to seek a new career path. This article discusses seven practical steps you can take to help you successfully transition from the electrical industry to a new career.
The steps are:
- Research alternate careers for an electrician and select one
- Speak to other professionals with a similar background
- Acquire foundational knowledge and get qualified
- Identify and package your transferrable skills
- Evaluate and reframe your work experience
- Acquire new work experience
- Update your professional assets
#1. Research Alternate Careers for An Electrician and Select One.
Before researching alternate career options, you need to figure out why exactly you no longer want to be an electrician.
This is important because understanding what you do not like about your current profession will help narrow down what you should be looking for in a new one.
Whether you’re burnt out, tired of the odd work hours, or you’re feeling the physical strain, once you know these things, you can start creating a list of what you’re looking for in a new career.
Try asking yourself;
- What type of work-life balance are you looking for?
- What income range are you hoping for?
- Are you ready for additional training?
Now that you know your wants and needs, 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 an electrician match up to this new career you’re hoping for.
To do this, you’ll need to look for the requirements that a career requires.
A great way to do this is by searching for that job, for example, “mechanic”, on job hosting websites like indeed, LinkedIn or monster and compiling a list of the common candidate requirements they require.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a specific new career in mind, then my tip for you is to search for jobs that align with the skills, interests and experience level you’ve listed down.
Below are some alternate career paths you can consider.
What are some alternate careers for electricians?
I did a little research of my own and came up with a list of jobs that former electricians have successfully transitioned to. Let’s take a look at some of them;
- Home Inspector: Home inspectors are professionals who inspect homes and properties to inform potential buyers about any immediate or future concerns concerning the property.
An electrician can easily use their skills with wiring to make sure electrical components are safe and up to code.
- Construction Project Management: New building and construction projects often need experienced people to oversee the instalment of electrical systems.
You can use your experience to plan and guide the implementation of electrical components throughout the project.
Getting a Project Management Professional certificate will open up many opportunities.
- Foreman: Foremen are experienced tradesmen who supervise other workmen. As a foreman, you will be in charge of all the workers on a job site.
- Academia: Teaching in a trade school will allow you to stay in tune with your electrician background. You can use the real-world experience gotten from your time working as an electrician to prepare future tradesmen.
- Renewable Energy Specialist: These professionals provide technical, operational and administrative assistance throughout energy provision programs.
With some extra training, a former electrician can become a specialist in wiring solar panels, turbines and other alternative energy systems.
- Service/Maintenance Technician: Service technicians pay visits to their client’s residences and either install or perform maintenance work on appliances.
Your electrical skills will easily come in handy here when installing the machinery.
- Mechanical Inspector: Mechanical inspectors inspect and test machines to ensure that they function as intended.
These may include kitchen equipment, factory equipment, or even generators.
Electricians already have experience inspecting the insides of electrical systems and are also familiar with the tools needed to inspect these machines.
#2. Speak to Other Professionals With Similar Backgrounds.
Once you’ve confirmed the new career path to take, you need to speak with professionals in that field who have a similar background in the electrical industry.
Why is this important? 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 is really valuable.
If you’re wondering where you can find these professionals, here are some ideas:
- Facebook groups: Try searching for groups dedicated to your new professions. There will be experienced professionals to who you can speak.
Be honest in sharing that you are looking to transition to a new career and would be grateful for some tips.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn has filters that allow you to search for specific job titles. Search for professionals in your new field of interest and browse through their qualifications to see if any of them have an electrician background.
Send a connection request with an added note explaining your intentions.
- Forums: Sites like Quora and Reddit have communities dedicated to many different professions.
Search for the ones dedicated to your new profession and try posting questions that you may have.
#3. Build Foundational Knowledge and Get Qualified
When deciding on a new career, it’s very likely that 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.
For example. Imagine you are trying to transition into a home inspection role. You will most likely be required to have some form of certification or accreditation to show you are competent.
Degrees, qualifications, and 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.
But these days, you don’t have to attend a traditional university for 3/4 years to become qualified.
#4. Identify and Package your Transferrable Skills
As an electrician, you have acquired and accumulated transferrable skills over the years.
These skills are still relevant and can be used in your next career.
These transferrable skills will show you as a fully rounded individual and can easily act as selling points for other careers that may require them.
Let’s look at easily transferrable skills that electricians can use in other professions.
- Communication/Customer Service Skills: Electricians often discuss with customers in order to explain the problems with their wiring and what their charges are.
Whether it’s written or verbal, communication is a skill that’s needed in every field.
- Problem Solving Skills: Electricians identify and think of ways to fix electrical problems. Fixing these requires great critical thinking skills.
Employers appreciate employees that can take the initiative and handle difficult situations properly.
- Administrative and Multi-tasking Skills: A lot of the time, electricians have to perform administrative tasks alongside their more technical ones.
Answering phone calls and scheduling appointments are some examples of these duties. Employers appreciate employees that are capable of performing more than just their basic roles.
- Efficiency, organization, attention to detail and continuous learning are some other skills that engineers often develop and can transfer to other fields and careers.
#5. Evaluate and Reframe Your Work Experience
Evaluating your work experience helps to put in perspective what you learned on the job as an electrician 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 have you developed through your job? Will these skills benefit you in the new position you’re looking for?
Even if you feel your work experience doesn’t really relate to the new role, 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, but as an electrician, you will have had experience installing and repairing appliances.
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.
#6. Acquire New Work Experience.
The candid truth is that employers don’t care much about your degree or shiny certificate.
What they care about is how your knowledge can be applied to generate actual business value.
Once you know what career you want, working in that field is a good way to get your feet in the door.
Some ways to acquire new work experience include;
- Volunteering: One way to get more work experience is by volunteering for professionals in the new field you hope to work in. 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.
- Personal projects: You can also work 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 centres in line with your new career.
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.
#7. Update Your Professional Brand Assets.
At this point, you have all the ingredients required to build and update your professional brand assets.
Personal branding is all about marketing yourself and attracting recruiters and more job opportunities for you. Some good places to start are;
- Your CV: Highlight your skills and experience on your resume in a way that fits the new career options you’re looking into.
If you’ve gotten more work experience, qualifications or training, make sure to add them to your CV.
- LinkedIn: It’s important to match the information on your CV to that on your LinkedIn profile.
Optimize the headline and summary section of your profile by listing major skills, certifications and experience that will be required in your new profession.
- Your Personal Websites: Your personal websites give you the opportunity to show your work and differentiate yourself from others. I suggest you include your website or portfolio link in your CV.
Bonus Tip: Take Action.
Now that you have an action plan, the only thing left is for you to actually get up and start using it.
It may not be an easy thing to do, but if you’re intentional about what it is you want, the only thing left to do is believe in yourself and finally put your plan into motion.
Do not hesitate, the best time you have to make this career change is now. Commit to putting into the work, and your efforts will definitely yield results 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.
There are many opportunities out there open to people with backgrounds in electrical works. 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.