Trade jobs are the cornerstone of the American economy. Yet despite being responsible for our country’s impressive development and growth, positions in this industry are often undervalued. The demand for trade skills continues to grow, with manufacturing careers becoming very lucrative and rewarding.
Read on to learn about the competitive benefits of trade jobs and how to get a job in manufacturing, no matter your experience. Here, we’ll explore how to get a manufacturing job and, more specifically, a factory job.
Benefits of working in the manufacturing industry
The manufacturing industry is a great place to develop new skills and advance your career. Wages are increasing, and so are the benefits. It’s a quick turnaround from a trade school to a career in manufacturing, plus most organizations offer continued training and development opportunities for young professionals. Overall, it’s a faster route to a good salary than a four-year degree.
Additional benefits of working in the manufacturing industry include:
- Job security resulting from stable industry growth.
- Upskilling opportunities for professional growth.
- Competitive wages, even for entry-level roles.
- Hands-on work and tangible results.
Skills and experience to get a manufacturing job
The more you prepare for a job in manufacturing, the more you get in return. Presenting your certifications, education, goals, preparation, and training in the right way will help you find a career you love. The following steps will help you get closer to that goal:
- Identify what type of manufacturing job you want (there are a lot out there!)
- Gather information about schooling, job growth, and day-to-day demands that work best for you.
- Complete the proper education and training.
- Promote your qualifications to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Six steps to finding a manufacturing job
The steps required to get a job in manufacturing are similar to other industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an entry-level position or already have manufacturing experience. These six steps will show you how to find a job that fits your qualifications and skills.
1. Leverage personal connections
Chances are you have more connections than you realize, and using that network will give you a leg up in your job search. Finding people you know who are already in the manufacturing industry will help you explore companies and open positions more honestly and personally.
Leveraging your connections helps you connect with HR departments more efficiently and gain references for job applications. It may not seem like a big deal, but having a contact will improve your chances of getting the job you want.
2. Go to job fairs
Wondering how to get a job in manufacturing but lack the inside connections? Job fairs are a great way to network in the trade industry. You’ll gain exposure to new opportunities and the confidence to practice self-promotion. It will probably take a few warm-ups before you feel confident talking about your passions and skills, but practice makes perfect.
3. Search online job postings
One of the biggest tips for finding a job is using the internet to your advantage. Online job postings help you explore opportunities, show job requirements, and can even lead you in an unexpected (but helpful) direction. There are many online resources to explore, so stay focused on what you’re qualified for and don’t get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless possibilities.
4. Trade schools
Attending trade school is an effective way to prepare for a career in manufacturing. These graduates are in high demand, so many people receive job offers before finishing their program.
Going to a manufacturing trade school can significantly increase your odds of finding a career that matches your experience. It offers a structured path into the workforce, and many trade schools offer career placement assistance.
5. Prepare a job application
Figuring out how to get a manufacturing job starts with training and ends with self-promotion. Your job application is the appropriate place to highlight your skills and show prospective employers why you are the best fit for a position.
Job applications should be unique and tailored to fit each position. Before you begin, consider these goals:
- What makes you unique: Explain why you’re a better candidate than others and don’t be afraid to add personal interests. Find creative ways to stand out on paper.
- Feature your experience: List any qualifications that are relevant to the position, from education to certifications and degrees. Think outside of the box and consider the different ways your experience is applicable.
- Ensure it’s organized and error-free: Take the time to ensure your application is grammatically correct, readable, and well-organized. Don’t let typos prevent you from getting the job.
6. Prepare for the interview process
Preparing for your interview is the final step to finding a job in the manufacturing industry. Spend time reviewing your application and thinking about why you want the job. It’s also helpful to brainstorm potential interview questions, including questions you want to ask the interviewer and what they might ask you.
Interviews are usually your last chance to present yourself personally and professionally, so it’s crucial to prepare well. Be ready to answer questions about your skills and past experiences, including failures and successes.
Top paying manufacturing jobs
The manufacturing industry offers room for growth, substantial salaries, upskilling opportunities, and job security. Many times, this is a quicker route than the cost of four-year college programs:
- Boilermakers are specialized in the manufacturing of boilers and other large containers. These positions make an annual median income of $65,000 and require a high school diploma or GED, plus an apprenticeship.
- Industrial maintenance technicians specialize in factory machinery and earn an estimated annual income of $54,000. These positions require a high school diploma or GED, a two-year associate’s degree in industrial maintenance, and an apprenticeship. (These positions are expected to multiply over the next ten years!)
- Refrigeration technicians specialize in manufacturing industrial refrigeration systems and make an annual income of $50,000. This profession requires a technical degree and an apprenticeship.
- General maintenance technicians can specialize in a wide range of areas. These positions are a great way to gain experience and knowledge about the industry. General maintenance technicians make a median income of $40,000 annually and require a high school diploma or GED.
Find a manufacturing career you’ll love with Top Workplaces
While it might be important to find a high-paying career, it’s equally essential to find a job you’ll love. When you find a manufacturing role you’re passionate about, you’ll experience an increase in engagement, morale, performance, and productivity.
The Top Workplaces for Manufacturing award is given to companies whose employees vouch for their people-first culture excellence and being a great place to work. To find the best manufacturing companies to work for, visit the Top Workplaces site — it’s a great place to start!
Does your company have an amazing culture that deserves recognition? Nominate your organization for Top Workplaces, the employer recognition program that offers awards in 60+ regional markets and national awards for culture and industry excellence.