Top Skills Needed to Succeed in Your Manufacturing Job

Matt Shelly
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Although the number of manufacturing jobs available changes regularly, there are a few ways you can improve your chances of landing a job if you are looking to change fields or advance your career. Ritika Puri of Forbes says that manufacturing jobs are going unfilled because the demand for skilled manufacturing workers is actually outpacing the supply of workers available. Puri says many of the unfilled positions are those that require specific manufacturing skills, as many workers lack the skills needed to work as machine operators or technicians. As a manufacturing professional, you must understand what skills are needed if you want to succeed.


In an article published on the Green Bay Press Gazette website, Nathan Phelps discussed a program aimed at giving high school students the manufacturing skills they need to get jobs when they graduate. One of his sources, Mark Kaiser, said that the students coming out of the program will have the blend of soft skills and technical skills needed to obtain manufacturing jobs. This is an important reminder for anyone interested in entering the manufacturing industry or advancing into a management position: don't assume that employers hiring in this field are considering applicants' technical skills alone.


Employers are actually looking for manufacturing workers with good interpersonal and communication skills, a strong work ethic, and a high level of enthusiasm. Basic math skills and the ability to read and write in English are also a must for success in the manufacturing industry. For advanced positions, coursework in science and computer technology is also helpful. Some managers even say they have a hard time finding candidates who answer the phone in a professional manner, so someone with basic soft skills could get the opportunity to advance rather quickly.


That is not to say that technical skills are not just as important as soft skills. Some of the most difficult manufacturing jobs to fill are those of machine operators, manufacturing engineers, machinists, CNC operators, assemblers, and packers. These positions require the ability to operate computerized machines, troubleshoot technology issues, and perform other tasks that require advanced skills. When surveyed by Advantage Marketing Information on behalf of The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, employers were asked to identify what type of training they would provide to workers if money were no object. More than 30 percent of the respondents said they would provide computer and IT training. Respondents also said they would provide training in customer service skills, Microsoft Office applications, accounting, communication skills, project management, and leadership.


If you have an interest in one of the many skilled manufacturing jobs available, you must have the right combination of soft skills and technical know-how. Knowing how to communicate clearly, perform basic calculations, and work with computers are just some of the basic skills you must have to succeed in this industry. Skill in operating digital machines and other types of technology will help you qualify for a greater number of manufacturing jobs.


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