Top 11 Production Skills to Develop

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published December 7, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published December 7, 2020

The production and manufacturing industry includes a wide range of specific positions for job seekers. Despite the variety of different fields these jobs exist in, many require a similar set of requirements. For job seekers interested in a career in production or manufacturing, knowing which production skills to develop can help you establish a competitive edge over other applicants.

In this article, we explain why production skills are important, describe the 11 most important skills to develop and provide tips for seeking jobs in the production and manufacturing field.

Related: What Is Manufacturing?

Why are production skills important?

Production and manufacturing jobs used to require little experience and training prior to starting in a role. Now, however, many of these positions require some training, skills and expertise due to the continued influence of technology on the industry. Developing the appropriate production or manufacturing skills before actively seeking jobs in the field can help you qualify for better positions and develop a long-lasting and lucrative career in the industry.

Related: The Different Types of Manufacturing Environments and Jobs

11 most important production skills for production employees

While every production or manufacturing job will vary slightly in terms of the necessary background, skills and experience, most candidates seeking employment in this field will benefit from developing these 11 skills:

1. Attention to detail

In the production and manufacturing field, focusing on each disparate piece of the product or item while ensuring it's properly assembled or packaged is key for job achievement. The ability to focus while maintaining important details is vital for success.

2. Critical thinking

Inevitably, small issues or challenges will occur during the course of work. The ability to quickly identify the problem, find the solution and implement the fix are all elements of critical thinking. This skill can help you perform your job exceptionally well and help you promote through the company's ranks.

3. Communication

Some production and manufacturing jobs are relatively autonomous, while others are fully team-based and collaborative. Regardless of the role you have, the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently with your colleagues and supervisors is necessary for success.

4. Computer-aided technology

Many production and manufacturing roles require you to understand and use computer-aided technologies like computer-aided design, commonly referred to as CAD, or similar programs. Some training and professional development in this area can help establish you as an exceptional candidate for the position.

5. Reliability

Many production and manufacturing jobs are relatively autonomous. Managers and supervisors want to hire employees they can train and then trust to perform their work efficiently and effectively without the need for constant supervision and guidance. Reliability on the job is a key skill for production and manufacturing employees.

6. Trainability

Production and manufacturing are ever-changing in terms of technology and procedure. Establish a growth mindset and seek out opportunities to cross-train in other areas of production. If you're currently working in the field, ask your supervisor for training opportunities to help expand your skill set.

7. Lean manufacturing

The main goal of manufacturing and production is to make effective and functional products as quickly and efficiently as possible. Understanding the practices of lean manufacturing or Six Sigma can help you improve your own efficiency and establish you as strong managerial material for promotion opportunities.

8. Fabrication

Many production and manufacturing jobs require a background in fabrication, which is the process of creating metal structures, parts and products. Having some background in cutting and stamping, as well as the design procedures related to these practices, can set you apart from other applicants.

9. Welding

Welding is a time-honored production and manufacturing skill that remains in high demand. The practice of welding involves fusing materials—usually two metals—together using focused heat. Developing welding skills and experience can help you find a production or manufacturing position.

10. Machining

Machining is another metalworking skill that can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. Machining involves creating shapes, structures or materials from metal using special machines designed for the purpose. Knowing how to safely use these machines is a vital production and manufacturing skill.

11. Machine maintenance and repair

Most production and manufacturing jobs require the use of tools or machines. Understanding how these machines function is a necessary skill for those in this field. The ability to identify and perform necessary maintenance and repairs on these machines saves you and the company time, money and energy.

Related: Manufacturing Jobs: Definition and Examples

Tips for getting a production job

If you're interested in getting a job in the production and manufacturing field, use these tips to help you find and apply for positions:

  • Consider physical strength: Many production and manufacturing roles require the ability to lift and move products or parts. Spend time building up your strength to ensure you're prepared for the physical demands of the job.

  • Look for certifications: Look into obtaining industry-specific certifications or licenses. While not every employer may require these, they can give you additional education and a competitive edge over other applicants.

  • Seek professional development: While job searching, look for professional development opportunities to help you expand your knowledge and skill set. List any trainings, workshops or seminars you've attended on your resume.

  • Review the job description: Ensure your resume and past work experience relate directly to the job duties provided in the job description. Consider including a cover letter with your resume that further expands on your professional accomplishments and skills.

  • Think about growth: Look for jobs that provide upward mobility through the company. The more skills you develop and the more time you spend with the organization, the better chance you'll have to make a lucrative career with the company rather than having to move from job to job.

  • Develop hard and soft skills: Hard skills like welding and machining are undeniably useful for production and manufacturing employees. However, many employers are just as interested in hiring employees with soft skills like communication, attention to detail and focus. Take the time to develop both types of skills as you look for positions.

Browse more articles