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Many people are workers in a “skilled trade,” which means they are manual workers (blue collar) who happen to be very skilled in a particular craft or trade. A person described as “skilled” demonstrates expertise with a specific skill or set of related skills.
Most jobs require training and orientation, at least to some extent. Whether a person is a convenience store clerk, security guard, or welder, he or she receives training. While this could technically fall under "skilled labor," this type of training is not what the term commonly refers to. Knowing how to operate a cash register or time clock is not a skill, but a simple task.
On the other hand, skilled labor refers to tradesmen who use tools to do more than simple tasks. While anyone can learn to use a carving knife, a screwdriver, or a hammer, only a carpenter has enough skill to carve and assemble a beautiful seamless chest of drawers. This expression of manual or mechanical skill or art is a measure of quality in work that shows a combination of ingenuity, knowledge, and craftsmanship.
Generally, what separates a skilled laborer from an unskilled laborer is how much training, time, and practice a person must go through to learn a manual or mechanical trade. Certain professions, such as carpenters and electricians, require those learning the craft to apprentice under a craftsman. This person may spend years as an apprentice, cleaning up, caring for tools, and doing grunt work for the craftsman, tasks that build familiarity with the trade. The craftsman then teaches the apprentice the basics of the craft and explains the intricacies of the work. Once an apprentice shows competence in the craft, he or she may then advance to a journeyman and hopefully to a craftsman.
Several professions in the skilled trade category are:
Non-conventional skilled trade professions may include:
As we prepare a skilled trade resume, we will be looking for the following artifacts:
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