our everyday life

How to Go From a White Collar to a Blue Collar Job

by Jan Simon, studioD

If you're weary of living your work life in a cubicle, it may be time for a career change. Our turbulent job climate finds many individuals opting into new occupations. If you like working with your hands, trading your desk for a hard hat need not mean a cut in pay. Transitioning from white collar to blue collar positions may be a strategy for success if executed by individuals who embrace change and select the appropriate trade.

Consider the type of work you enjoy. If you relish traveling the open road, driving a truck might be an ideal match. Individuals who derive satisfaction from tinkering under the hood of a car might consider a career as a mechanic.

Assess the new skills required for your job of choice. If you need technical training or certifications prior to making the leap, investigate trade schools to find the right fit. Research state codes regulating the trade. You may have to sit for a licensing exam.

Examine your financial position. Don't quit your white collar day job until you've bankrolled enough cash to cover any trade school tuition and your living expenses while you're training.

Update your resume. Highlight any transferable skills you possess that are of value in your blue collar job of choice. For example, you may have significant experience working with teams and be thinking about joining a construction crew. Perhaps your well-honed organizational skills will help you obtain a skilled job in the field.

Research companies in your area looking for new talent. Begin networking with friends currently working in the trades and ask about any openings. Attend job fairs sponsored by companies looking for blue collar workers.

Assess job opportunities the same way you would in the white collar world. Before you accept a new position, look at factors beyond salary and benefits. Consider opportunities for additional training and career growth. Work-life balance is another consideration. Will you be expected to work significant overtime when assigned to specific projects? If so, be prepared for additional hours and weekends.

Items you will need
  •  Updated resume


  • Think long term. If your goal is to own a car repair business, apprentice with a company where you can gain the appropriate skills.
  • Consider your hobbies. If you seek employment as a carpenter and built a sun deck on the back of your home, include that in a separate section of your resume.


  • Don't take interviews for blue collar work lightly. Attend these meetings armed with knowledge about the company and the job. Employers seek workers with integrity. Be prepared to discuss your work ethic.

About the Author

Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.

Photo Credits

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