Getting through school is only the first step to becoming a CNC machine operator. Interviewing for the internship (or vocational training depending on your location) is the next step. While you run across similar questions in any interview – How well do you work with others? If you don't understand something, what do you do? What is your greatest strength or weakness in this field? etc. – there are some ways to make your resumé and your interview stand out from the rest.
First, Create an Outstanding Resumé
The state of your resumé will determine whether or not you get to the interview stage of your job search. Pick a format that organizes your resumé into easily-readable categories. Key points employers are looking for to be included in a resumé are:
- Educational Experience: Your educational experience will include any college courses you took that apply to this specific vocation. Some important courses to lists – and show that you excelled in – are college mathematics, computer programming and design, as well as metal or plastic working.
- Machinist Experience: Most employers are looking to hire someone with experience operating machines in another industry. While this may be difficult coming out of college, a lot of universities provide work experience opportunities for their seniors or include some work as part of a course – emphasize the success you had in metal working or computer programming, giving specific examples of the type of machines you practiced with.
- Job-Specific Skills: The ability to read blueprints is a major skill for a CNC machine operator to possess. If you didn't focus on that in college, you can take an online course, or study and practice using online tutorials, such as this one. Other necessary skills complement the experience defined above, ability to take accurate measurements (through studying math) and the ability to code, or program, a machine
Next, Be Professional at Your Interview
Your interview is the opportunity to show that you are even better in person than you are on paper. Your resumé caught the attention of a potential employer. Now you have to prove that you can bring more than your education to the work field. Here's what to emphasize in your job interview:
- Specific Abilities: Circle back to your resumé and talk about your specific experiences while gaining experience and skills. Tell about work you did previously and why you were the most competent one on the job. Give examples of making corrections in coding to supply more accurate machine parts, reading blueprints accurately the first time, replacing broken equipment, etc. Specific examples show that you understand and possess the abilities they are looking for to fill this position.
- Express Desire for Improvement: While you want the company to believe that you are capable of this position, you cannot come across as a know-it-all. Express your willingness to learn – maybe you focused more on metal working at school, but you are really interested in the innovative laser cutting technology the company has started to incorporate. Don't brush off your weaknesses, but share them in a way that shows your interviewer that you are aware of them and want to overcome them.
- Show Knowledge of Company: The final thing you want to do during your interview is prove that you have knowledge of the specific company you are interviewing for. This means being up-to-date on the type of equipment they use and the company's they contract with for parts. Ask questions, such as whether or not you will provide parts for each of these companies, or if you will work for one or two specific corporations. Ask if the machines change parts on their own of if you are expected to do it manually. This will show your potential employer that you are aware of the work ahead of you and anxious to start.
Applying for a CNC machinist position requires you to show experience in the right fields. A professional resumé and interview will go a long way towards your lifelong career. Continue reading more about training.