The trades offer a long list of vocations, each with their own set of unique demands and challenges. Electricians, who we will be focusing on today, must have the right skills and attributes to perform their work to a desired standard.
While they won’t be expected to cry on command like an actor, or rush into a burning building like a fireman, the traits necessary for an electrician to excel in their field of expertise are no less rare.
With a growing decline in the workforce, it’s clear these traits are only becoming more scarce as the years go by.
Obviously, a general know-how of installation and maintenance procedure is a must for any electrician - but what about the skills and natural talents that can’t be taught from a textbook?
These are the golden traits we will be exploring today.
Now, it isn’t essential that an electrician be a five-star conversationalist. At the end of the day, you’re visiting a customer to fix their wiring or install a fire alarm - you’re not there just for a chat and a cup of tea.
However, one of the best strategies for customer retention is a friendly demeanour and a willingness to communicate. Customers need to feel comfortable around you and know that their home or workspace is safe in your hands, and a clear display of people skills will go a long way to making that happen.
For this reason, the best electricians will find a natural satisfaction in conversing with people day-to-day. They’re able to show an interest in their customer’s situation and their needs, and interact with them both in good humour and with a certain level of empathy.
Customers react positively when they believe an electrician has their best interests at heart, and doesn’t just see them as another paycheque. Showing a customer consideration and treating them like a human being is the best way to avoid this, and develop a strong business relationship.
In every trade there is an element of risk. It comes with the territory. The likelihood of earning yourself at least a handful of minor injuries over the course of your career is extremely high.
For an electrician, getting a shock or two is a very real possibility. And so, while every electrician should ideally come equipped with a little bravery, we’re more interested in the other side of that coin: caution.
It may seem obvious that any good tradesman ought to exercise caution when handling dangerous equipment. Should something go wrong while on the job, not only could a customer’s property be permanently damaged, but someone could be seriously injured, or even lose their life.
A plumber might get away with cutting a few corners if all it results in is a toilet that doesn’t flush properly, but an electrician can’t afford to mess around when high currents are involved. This makes an overly casual attitude completely out of the question for an electrician.
On top of a professional respect for health and safety, it’s important to have a keen eye for detail to spot potential hazards.
Combined with people skills, a demonstrable caution will see you earn the respect and continued business of your customer base.
As with caution, flexibility also plays a part in maintaining a positive relationship with your customers. But what do we mean by flexibility, exactly?
Electrical work requires flexibility in a number of areas. This is a career without a set structure, especially if you’re self-employed. Much of the work will be done off your own back.
Often new jobs come calling before you’re done with an old one, and it will be up to you how many you take and when it is you’ll do them. This career demands that you get your head around that system and keep up with the pace.
Likewise, flexibility is necessary while on the job. Coupled with a talent for problem solving, a professional electrician needs to be able to adapt to new obstacles that arise while working.
With that said, a significant factor in an electrician’s flexibility is how prepared they are. For example, if an unforeseen issue comes up in the middle of a job, already having the tools at hand to fix the issue right away will be key in allowing an electrician to apply their problem solving and fix the issues as and when they appear.
An understanding of maths
The majority of teachers will tell you that a basic grasp of maths is a necessity in every job, and for an electrician this is especially true. It’s important that an electrician is able to understand the algebraic equations behind certain electrical formulas.
The thought of actually having to use algebra might make most of us break out in a cold sweat, but don’t worry. Even if it didn’t make sense in school, it’s often the case that learning maths in a vocational context makes it infinitely more understandable than it was when you were 16.
And whether or not equations are your thing, a general instinct for mathematics will help you run and maintain a business, if that’s one of your ambitions.
As we touched on with flexibility, being an electrician is usually a juggling act, and more often than not you’ll be working on multiple jobs at once. In a lot of situations this career will demand you double-up as an amateur accountant to balance your own books.
It pays (literally) to keep a cool head, know how much work you can take on, and pace yourself to meet those goals. Keeping these structures in place gives you more freedom in the long term, and allows for the efficient balancing of work and leisure time.
Yep. If having to do maths scared off half of you, this will probably scare off the other half.
Full disclosure: you won’t need to be an athlete to succeed as an electrician. But, as is fairly typical of a job in the trades, it will involve some heavy lifting, a bit of climbing, and a lot of leg work.
For every part of the job you can spend sat down with a sandwich in your hand, there’ll be at least twice as many where you’ll be stretching, squatting, reaching and pulling.
It’s an active job, and really, that’s part of the appeal. Think of it as yoga with extra voltage.
Though an essential trait for any electrician, basic physical fitness is not necessarily something you’ll need to have straight off the bat. You’ll be in decent shape after just a few weeks on the job, thanks to the versatile nature of the work you’ll be doing.
Working as an electrician, you may be able to get by with only a select few of these traits. But those looking to forge a long and successful career while building a solid reputation should possess all five.
If you think these traits describe you, SERT offers both apprenticeship and diploma gateways into this rewarding and versatile career.
Contact Callum at email@example.com or 01489 232090 to find out more.