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Industry-Specific Ways to Stand Out Among Skilled Workers

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Skilled workers are in high demand and their work does much to drive the economy. HVAC, piping, architecture, construction, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, material handling, or automotive — you bring a lot of value to the industries you work in. You do things others can’t.

The job market is competitive, especially for skilled workers like you. So it never hurts to find out, from an insider’s perspective, what it takes to set yourself apart from the competition.

We asked Aerotek recruiters with industry-specific experience to share their tips for standing out in key industries.

HVAC and Piping

“Hard skills in these industries come from hands-on experience,” says Aerotek Recruiter Sarah Mitchell. “But more important than any specific skillset is a self-awareness of your own skill level and an eagerness to work hard, do quality work, and learn — combined with honesty about what you can and can’t do.”

She adds, “Set yourself apart by dressing nice for interviews, showing an organized, well-written resume and communicating well. It’s also helpful to have an online presence on LinkedIn or Indeed. Professionalism can get you to the next step in your career, whether that’s in leadership or client interaction.”

Architecture and Construction

Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Sam Yeomans specializes in Architectural and Construction recruiting, and says, “Having a technical degree is very important.” What other “hard skills” are vital to earning jobs in these fields? Yeomans says, “It’s also big to have commercial project experience, or at least a co-op or internship in commercial design or construction. Professional registrations or certifications such as P.E. or EIT, Licensed Architect or LEED AP also make a big difference.”

But what about softer skills and personality traits to emphasize? According to Yeomans, “Good communication, client interaction and teamwork, including a willingness to work long hours under deadlines, are all important. And you have to be willing to put in the time and pay your dues before you’re trusted to lead projects.”

Aerospace and Defense

When we asked Aerotek Technical Recruiter Kelsie Mellor what skills requirements she sees in her role as an Aerospace and Defense hiring specialist, she said, “CAD software like SolidWorks and NX Unigraphics, knowledge of GD&T (geometric dimensions and tolerances) as well as the ability to do FEA/stress analysis on structures and products are all crucial hard skills. We also see a higher success rate for contractors with bachelor’s degrees and certifications.”

Asked about soft skills specific to these industries, Mellor replied, “Employers prize an ability to communicate with customers and suppliers, as well as manage a project from start to finish. Aerospace and defense employers also love when you demonstrate drive and motivation.” Finally, she suggests tailoring your resume to the job description and requirements of the position you’re applying for, and listing key accomplishments at each previous position.

Manufacturing and Production

Manufacturing and production can incorporate a wide variety of roles, and Aerotek Technical Recruiter Carmel places candidates in all kinds of positions. What’s he seeing a need for?

“Mostly, people who can use hand and power tools, read and interpret blueprints, understand how to properly and safely operate a forklift, work on a production line and/or do picking and packing in a warehouse.”

But what can you do to set yourself apart from other candidates in these fields?

According to Carmel, “The number one trait that’s most important is reliability and attendance, followed by a positive, can-do attitude.” He adds, “Employers want candidates who communicate and work in teams well, who follow instructions, who are receptive to new tasks and challenges, and who learn and adjust to understand what the company’s needs are. You can also set yourself apart with the ability to multi-task, prioritize tasks and seek more responsibilities than what you were hired for.”

Material Handling and Automotive Manufacturing

“Both industries are growing like crazy,” according to Aerotek Technical Recruiter Roshberg, a Kentucky-based specialist in material handling and automotive recruiting.

But what about skills?

She says, “For material handling, mechanical engineers and mechanical designers are the most wanted skill set I see. Having a strong background designing structural steel in AutoCAD or Inventor software is big. In the automotive industry, I mostly see a desire for quality engineers. Tier 1 automotive experienceis a huge difference-maker.”

We also asked Roshberg what soft skills her clients need the most.

“Most material handling and automotive clients want work warriors with laid-back personalities. They need people who can juggle multiple projects with minimal supervision, and maintain a positive attitude when changes happen. Also, if you can provide examples of creative problem solving, it makes a big difference in interviews, since that quality can be crucial to whether you’re ultimately successful in these industries.”

Learn more

Want to hear about what skills are most in-demand in your area? Talk with an Aerotek recruiter. And if you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search.