power up your skills.

  • career advice
  • May 12, 2017

Here’s the reality: more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs are expected to become available in the next 10 years, but more than half could remain unfilled because workers don’t have the right skills.

The Manufacturing Institute — a Washington-based think tank — and Deloitte, LLC also found in a 2015 study that job applicants don’t have the computing and technical skills, basic math and problem solving they need.

Is a college degree the answer? Not always, say experts, even though technical aptitude and skills are important. “The silver bullet comes by adding more training opportunities during and after high school,” says Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. 

So what can you do to prepare yourself and land a manufacturing job now and in the future? Here are five ways to make yourself a stronger job candidate.

ask about apprenticeships or training programs. 

Many manufacturers are struggling to fill positions, so they’ve created their own in-house apprenticeships or training programs. Most are targeted at high school seniors as an alternative to college, but many exist as on-the-job training and hands-on experience for employees of all ages.

The added bonus? Anything you learn is a skill you can take with you as you move up or move on.

try trade school.

Vocational or trade schools are focused on hands-on learning from professionals who have spent years in the field and most can be completed in two years.
You’ll also be able to test for skilled trade certifications that can be the ticket to a job offer. 

leverage being bilingual.

Combined with technical and managerial skills, fluency in Spanish, Chinese or German can make you even more valuable to global employers.

Communicating effectively with team members from around the world gives you a big picture view of the company and increases your chance of leadership opportunities.   

focus on STEM skills.

There is a big push around the country to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), primarily because the U.S. has fallen behind in these areas.

Manufacturing has swapped repetitive tasks and physical labor with more sophisticated skills that embrace automation and computerized machinery.

These are skills that can be developed and transferred from other industries, from apprenticeships, trade schools, on-the-job training and a bachelor’s degree.

don’t forget the basics.

Employers will always be looking for people who can communicate well verbally and in writing, 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. Does your resume need a reboot? Have it written by the professionals at Monster's Resume Writing Service.

As always, there is a high demand for manufacturing workers with an awareness for how the field continues to evolve and has a willingness to learn — both in the classroom and on the job. 

If you or your friends are looking for a new job opportunity, Randstad is here to help! Visit our website and search for open positions in your area.