(BPT) - Across the U.S., there is a strong, growing need for highly skilled tradespeople. According to the Home Builders Institute, more than 300,000 skilled labor job openings remain unfilled. There are many reasons for this labor shortage, but one that doesn't get enough attention is the lack of networking opportunities between hiring trades professionals and skilled tradespeople.
According to The Home Depot's Pro Consumer Insights study, 94% of trades professionals struggle to find skilled workers. Unlike other professions, skilled trade workers looking to hire use word-of-mouth referrals as their primary or only recruitment method. Without a jobseeker platform to connect skilled tradespeople, many positions remain unfilled.
To help fill this gap, The Home Depot launched the Path to Pro Network, a new, unique jobseeker marketplace and platform focused on the skilled trades. This free platform allows candidates to connect with The Home Depot's Pro customers looking to hire in their local area. Candidates can also apply directly to job postings that interest them.
"Connections are a tradesperson's most powerful tool," said Jenna Arca, Director of Workforce Development at The Home Depot. "Whether you're entering the skilled trades for the first time, refreshing your talents or expanding on your skillset, the Path to Pro Network provides a free platform to showcase your trades experience and make connections with hiring Pros in need of skilled labor."
Before you can make connections and apply for jobs to advance your career, you'll need to create a strong profile that will make you stand out to potential employers. If you're new to making a profile or resume, check out these five profile-building tips.
1. Pick your best work
When it comes to skilled trades, no project is too small to show off your mastery of the craft. However, hiring professionals are pressed for time. They need to be able to quickly assess if you're the right person for the job.
Write a list of the jobs you've done and pick only the best ones that highlight your skills and experience. Make sure that the jobs you pick relate to the skilled trade job you're hoping to land. Also, ensure the skillsets you include in your portfolio demonstrate familiarity with your desired trades job.
2. Take photos of your projects
You've probably heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Hiring Pros need to see that you can produce quality craftsmanship when they are looking to hire a skilled professional for their team. The easiest and more impactful way to show your skill is to take and upload high-resolution photos to your profile.
During a job, take photos before, during and after to show key stages of your process. You don't need an entire photo album worth of images. Generally, 3-5 photos of each project highlighting the details of your handiwork will be enough to show hiring Pros what you can do.
3. Describe your job process
Make sure to accompany your photos with descriptions of the steps and stages of each project. These descriptions give potential employers confidence in your ability to plan and execute your work.
You don't need to write a novel. Keep it simple, short and clear. If you completed a project as part of a larger team, highlight your specific contributions, including examples of when you suggested a solution or collaborated with team members to solve a problem.
4. Sell yourself
At the end of the day, potential employers need to know who you are and that you have what it takes to work in the skilled trades. Make sure you have a profile photo that shows off your smile and personality. A photo helps you stand out in the crowd and adds a human touch to your profile.
The Path to Pro Network also features skill badges that indicate if you have accredited training, are a U.S. Military Veteran, or have graduated from The Home Depot's free trades training program.
Lastly, don't skip the "About Me" section. This short description gives hiring Pros a little more information about you before they read your work experience and skills. It doesn't have to be long or super detailed. Make sure to touch on your current position or title, relevant skills and career goals. This short description gives Pros a quick snapshot of how you sell yourself professionally and if you're a good fit for their needs.
5. Get connected and land your next job
Are you ready to get connected with Pros and land a job? Visit PathtoPro.com/FindJobs to create your own profile and access the Path to Pro Network, where you can find a job and explore new career opportunities. If you want to expand your existing skill set and get resume and interview assistance, you can also enroll in the Path to Pro Skills Program.