This week we will dive a little deeper within two of the more popular areas by examining positions in Manufacturing and looking at jobs specifically within the Maintenance area.
If you only went by the headlines in the newspaper you would probably be led to believe that there aren’t any manufacturing positions left in WNY. This could not be further from the truth. The reality is that there are fewer jobs available than 30-40 years ago and the days of the huge manufacturing employer is sadly looking like it is nearing an end. However, the pages of WNYJOBS.com clearly displays that there are lots of manufacturing positions in WNY, many of which are in small to medium sized companies. These positions have not all been out sourced to elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas. Nor has the movement towards robotics eliminated the need for human expertise and hands-on skill.
Technology has revolutionized manufacturing, as virtually all-manufacturing positions will require someone to become knowledgeable on a sophisticated piece of machinery. Job rotation is also a very real aspect of companies, so be prepared to learn several pieces of machinery and become proficient in their operation. Target employers who use similar machinery as you have been trained to operate. In any organization, attempt to learn as many different pieces of machinery as possible, because it will make you more valuable internally and to outside employers. An individual can no longer be resistant to change in the processes of how they perform their job.
Be prepared with a Cover Letter and Resume to submit to a prospective employer. The days of coming to a Job Fair or the Front Desk of an employer empty-handed expecting to be considered solely off a completed application is over. You will, however, be expected to complete an application and quite possibly take a pre-screening test that will gauge your skill level. Although you will not be expected to be in a business suit for the interview, you should arrive in clean, presentable attire. So, if you need to return home to change from your current employer, then please do so.
Referrals and references are huge in the manufacturing job market. Even if the position is one that you first heard about in the pages of WNYJOBS.com, find out if you know anyone who works there. Have them contact the Recruiter on your behalf regarding your application.
Probably the area in Skilled Labor that has the most positions available to Job Seekers is the field of Maintenance. There is a real lack of Job Seekers who have the necessary skills to be successful in most of the areas of Maintenance. There has been significant speculation as to why there is such a shortage, however, most point to our overall shift to more of a white-collar economy with a priority on academic education. Most employers’ fret over the lack of people who want to be “hands on” performing preventative maintenance (PM) or troubleshooting, and making required repairs.
Although there is a real need for humans in manufacturing, the reality is that some of the work has been turned over to robotics. The switch in some areas from people to machines places a greater emphasis, however, on the need for people in Maintenance. Someone, of course, needs to PM or repair this machinery. As this machinery has become more sophisticated, the skill level required for repair has increased, further shrinking the small labor pool. An individual in this field must be comfortable using sophisticated equipment for both diagnosis and the actual repair.
For the Job Seeker, a key will be clearly stating on your Resume and application what you are trained or certified to repair. Use specific industry-standard keywords that will describe what you know and will grab the attention of a Recruiter. Target companies that have equipment that you are able to service. Understand that in today’s world, there is a strong customer service function to any Maintenance position. Emphasize your ability to work with others and successfully communicate with internal and external customers. Come prepared to offer examples that will display your ability to troubleshoot and your strong decision-making on the right course of action. Decide how flexible you are with your schedule as often PM and repair work will occur off-hours when the machinery is not in full operation mode. This may require you to work a second or an overnight shift in your position.
There are many levels of positions within Maintenance. They range from the basic positions of Grounds Maintenance, General Maintenance, and Mechanic, to more specific positions such as Carpenter, Painter, and Welder. There are also Lead, Supervisor, and Manager positions that in this field someone can work their way up to. Maintenance is one area where often a person has started with limited skills in an entry-level position and through on-the-job learning has risen to a more skilled position.
If you are just departing from High School or Community College, a career in Manufacturing or Skilled Labor might be just what you need for a long and successful career. Likewise, if you are looking for a career change from your current position and would like to be more “hands on” in your look, this may be your area to examine.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein