Transitioning to a Manufacturing Supervisor Career

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The manufacturing sector includes many different types of companies, and while it is certainly true that manufacturing jobs in some industries are on the decline, in others they are on the rise. If you want to work in manufacturing, and in particular to transfer to a supervisory position, it is therefore important to prepare yourself for jobs in the growth areas.

Biotechnology, environmental technology, and digital technologies can be good sources of manufacturing jobs depending upon your location. To obtain work in manufacturing, do your homework on expanding markets, where the research and development funding is going, and future job opportunities. Even a decade ago, who would have predicted the job opportunities currently available in green technologies?

Once you have decided on the type of manufacturing position you want to work in, find out what sort of jobs are available in various companies. Are there jobs which can utilize your skills and qualifications, or do you need to upgrade or retrain? Look at a few different job ads and selection criteria and see how you can slant your resume and describe your skills, experience, and qualifications in order to appeal to them. If you are shifting from a an automobile plant to making solar panels, for example, you will need to be able to relate what you did in one environment to the other.

It can be helpful to browse online resumes of people seeking similar roles because many of them will have already worked in the same sector. However, do not be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. There are professional resume writers who can help you target your application to a particular manufacturing job and rework past experience to meet new criteria. They may also be able to advise you on whether or not you need additional training to transition to a supervisory position. These professionals will be degree qualified in applied psychology, employment counseling, or related field. Do not get them confused with resume preparers who only write and do not have professional advisory experience.

When you are ready to begin your job search, it is a good idea to begin from wherever you are. If you are already employed in a manufacturing job (and chances are, you are) then take advantage of the contacts you have already made. Every position you hold should be considered an opportunity to network and build relationships that will help you progress in your career. Research has shown that all else being equal, jobs will be offered to people who are liked. In fact, a better-performing candidate may well not be offered a job if his or her personality does not gel with the interviewer’s. This means you will be doing yourself a big favor by developing a pleasing personality and creating solid relationships in the workplace and in the broader community. When you are ready to sniff out other employment opportunities, let it be quietly known among people who may be able to help you. This way, you may get a job offer without having to actively seek out and apply for positions.

However, not everyone is in a position to do this. Sometimes, a job search is thrust upon you due to downsizing or company closures. When this happens, many people you know will be going through the same thing at the same time. There is no avoiding a traditional job search. In fact, there may be no avoiding moving to where the work is. One of the great things about America is that it is a big country, and even when opportunities are in decline, there are still plenty of them. Be willing to look at where the manufacturing job vacancies are and be willing to move there.

However, if you have a family and high costs, be aware that some places are a lot more expensive to live than others. Salary should not be your only consideration. Research the cost of living in areas you are considering moving to. Create some mock budgets to see how your family will fair in different circumstances. When you are ready, you can begin to actively apply for jobs. The Internet has made this process very effective. There are specialist online job sites which specialize in manufacturing positions as well as large generalist sites which advertise all types of jobs. Not only can you quickly find suitable positions anywhere in the country, you can even apply for them online. However, thousands of people do this, so the key to success is to have an excellent and relevant resume and highly targeted letters of application.

If you have an idea of good companies to work for, you can visit their Web sites and check out their job vacancies. Many companies now advertise jobs on their own sites and you can quickly find out if they have anything currently available which would suit you. If nothing is available, do not let that be an end to your aspirations where specific companies are concerned. Write a letter to introduce yourself and tell the human resource manager (or equivalent) what you are looking for. Also attach your resume. You never know the internet situation in a company and they may need to fill a position quickly.

Finally, do not forget to read the employment ads in your local newspaper. Smaller, local companies are still likely to place print ads and you could miss an ideal job by ignoring the newspapers.

If you have the qualifications, skills, and experience to meet the selection criteria for the jobs you are applying for, if your resume is professional, and if your letters of application carefully address the selection criteria, you will very likely be offered job interviews.
However, to go from an interview to a job offer will require you to present yourself well, to be confident and professional, and to be able to sell yourself. If you feel you need a bit of help to handle interview situations well, you can join classes which practice these skills or you could obtain individual coaching. This can be particularly important if you are seeking a supervisory or management role, because communication ability and confidence is considered to be a prerequisite.

If you do take these steps, you will give yourself every chance of landing a supervisory job in manufacturing that will move you forward in your career.
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