6 Skills You Need to Be Successful in a Manufacturing Job

March 31st, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

It used to be that a pair of hands, a strong back and a committed work ethic were the most important skills for enjoying a career in manufacturing. Generations of manufacturing workers utilized these hands-on skills for decades as American manufacturing soared.

However, in recent years there has been a transition from the assembly-line style of manufacturing of the past to the technology-driven manufacturing of today—changing the way manufacturing companies hire prospective talent.

Today’s manufacturing workers need to have a wider scope of skills to be successful—something we know first-hand after placing talented workers in manufacturing jobs for 50 years.

Drawing from our experience, below we review some of the skills that manufacturing hiring managers are looking for in prospective employees.

1. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a job skill that was important in the old days of manufacturing, and remains important today. In fact, there are few jobs where an attention to detail isn’t important.

With speed and precision being a priority in manufacturing, it’s essential for workers to be both focused and detail-oriented. When operating heavy machinery, as is the case with many manufacturing jobs, a lack of attention can spell danger for you or your co-workers.

2. Critical Thinking

Today’s manufacturing worker has to be able to think on their feet and troubleshoot small problems as they arrive. Supervisors don’t have the time to solve all of the day’s issues individually. Hiring managers for manufacturing companies seek out employees who are can make sound, in-the-moment decisions in response to unforeseen issues.

3. Strong Communication

Communication is a great skill to possess regardless of the industry you work in, but in manufacturing, being able to communicate effectively with your team is hugely beneficial.

Employers want workers who can work with their co-workers to troubleshoot issues and achieve the greater goals of the company. Strong communication skills helps you verbally show you’re a team player who’s committed to the overall success of the company.

4. Interest and Aptitude for Technology

Employers love to hire those who have an interest and aptitude in technology. Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way manufacturing workplaces operate. Five years ago the smartphone altered the way manufacturing operated, today it’s drones. A few years down the line it could artificial intelligence.

By demonstrating an interest in technology and a desire to learn it, you’re sending a message of your long-term potential to employers. Make sure you highlight this skill in your resume using examples from previous jobs.

5. Dependability

Manufacturing workers must be dependable. Manufacturing workplaces are often large, so supervisors need their employees to be accountable with little oversight. Workers who excel without their supervisors standing over their shoulder will carve out successful careers.

In addition, arriving on-time and ready for the day also ties into dependability.

As a good rule of thumb, aim to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure you’re not rushing to your station.

6. Ability to be Cross-Trained

With so many different job tasks involved in manufacturing, an employee who has been or has the ability to be cross-trained is hugely valuable to the company.

Things happen—people get sick, people take vacations and some workers simply don’t show up. If you have the ability to be cross-trained in numerous functions, supervisors can plug you in as needed. Also, employees that can perform numerous job functions lead to excellent trainers and supervisors down the line.

Is a Job in Manufacturing Right for You?

While all of these skills are important for finding success in a manufacturing job, if you can’t check each one off just yet, don’t worry. If you have a desire to learn and refine your skills, as well as have a real interest in working in manufacturing, we encourage you to consider getting your feet wet.

From entry-level to managerial roles, there are a variety of opportunities and job types across a wide array of industries.

If you want to explore current openings through Masterson Staffing Solutions, visit our Find a Job page. Not sure about manufacturing and thinking of an administrative position? Check out our post that discusses the critical admin skills you need to succeed.

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