How do you prepare yourself to land the perfect manufacturing job — today, as well as in the future? With all the talk of the talent crisis and skills gap throughout the manufacturing industry, it wouldn’t be a stretch to operate under the assumption that job opportunities abound. 

But the challenge for employers isn’t just finding people — it’s finding people with the right skills. With unemployment rates dropping from their initial highs at the height of the pandemic, you’ll want to make sure you have the right skills to stand out as a candidate as the industry continues to rebound. Here are five ways to make yourself a stronger job candidate in the new normal.

1. ask about apprenticeships and training programs

As manufacturers struggle to find the right job candidates to fill their open positions, many have decided to create in-house apprenticeships or training programs. Most of these programs are targeted at high school seniors as an alternative to college, but others exist as on-the-job training open to employees of all ages.

  • cultivate new skills at an employer-sponsored apprenticeship or training program.

Employer apprenticeship programs can help you learn valuable skills like:

  • engineering
  • machining
  • mold making
  • welding 
  • … and more!

The added bonus? Anything you learn is a skill you can take with you as you move up in the organization or move on to other opportunities.

2. try a trade school

Vocational or trade schools are focused on hands-on learning from professionals who have spent years in the field. Even better, most of these programs can be completed in as little as two years.

Plus, you’ll be able to test for skilled trade certifications — and that might be the ticket to your next job offer.

  • get hands-on learning from experienced professionals at a two-year trade school.

Looking to learn skills and gain certifications in areas like electrical technology, heavy equipment operation, welding and more? Check out these top-rated trade schools to get started.

3. leverage being bilingual

Skilled manufacturing workers who are fluent in another language — particularly Spanish, Chinese or German — are extremely valuable job candidates to global employers. And if you get a chance to communicate with team members from around the world, you’ll begin to develop a big-picture view of operations, which might translate to leadership opportunities.

4. focus on STEM skills

There's a big push today to educate workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the White House's STEM Education Strategic Plan makes clear. The idea is that these are skill areas where a lot of job growth will take place in the coming years, and that’s going to impact manufacturing workers, too.

  • STEM skills are in high demand — mastering them can increase your employability.

For instance, manufacturers are increasingly replacing repetitive tasks and physical labor with more sophisticated processes that embrace automation and computerized machinery.

But the good news is that you can sharpen your STEM skills in a number of different ways, including online learning, apprenticeships, trade schools and on-the-job training. Our learning partner, Udemy, for example, has tons of STEM courses you can take online right now from the comfort of your own home.

5. don't forget the basics

Employers will always be looking for people who can communicate effectively — verbally as well as in writing — and who are reliable, adaptable and able to think critically.

These are skills that will come across in your resume and in the way you present yourself in an interview. They're also things you can practice and perfect over time, and we've got guidance to help you write the perfect manufacturing resume right here. But if your resume is in need of a full-on reboot, consider having our automated resume builder write a brand-new one for you in seconds. 

  • strengthen your resume to ensure you're putting your best foot forward when applying to jobs.

As always, there is high demand for manufacturing workers who are mindful of how the field is evolving and eager to learn, whether in the classroom or through on-the-job training.

If you or your friends are looking for new job opportunities, Randstad is here to help! Start searching for open manufacturing jobs in your area or visit our Upskilling Resource Center for more tips on becoming a stronger manufacturing job candidate.