Are you looking to maximize your career as a CNC Machinist? Let’s take a look at a number of ways you can become a CNC machinist star.
As you may know, the career of a CNC machinist isn’t uniform. Instead, you choose where you want your skills to take you based on your interests, ambition, available opportunities, pay levels and other factors. Some paths available to CNC machinists include:
CNC machinists shouldn’t rest on their laurels when they’re looking to get the most out of their career. We recommend that you think of every day as an opportunity to learn new skills and stay current. This concept should lead you towards supplementing your training with classes at a local trades school or it might motivate you to learn new skills at your current employer.
To ensure that you are actively learning instead of just phoning it in, consider documenting your learning, either by journaling or a method that keeps you accountable. You can see your progression (or lack thereof) and question your assumptions that you’ve had. For instance, are there ways to make your work more efficient? You may notice trends that you have missed, mistakes that you continually repeat, or techniques that can be applied elsewhere. If allowed, take photos of your finished product to go along with your notes on how you made the process more efficient.
If you don’t have the opportunity to learn new skills first-hand and can’t attend school to learn more skills, subscribe to YouTube channels that cater to CNC machining techniques. This can put you ahead of those that are merely just relying on their old knowledge and limited swath of experience. By showing initiative, your employer will take note of your ambitions—especially as you can help them make become more profitable. You may become management material (see previous section) as you see the big picture, rather than just cashing a check by doing the minimum level of work.
As a CNC Machinist, your versatility is your selling point. And there’s no substitute for first-hand knowledge. If your company has cool opportunities to learn, new machines that they need to train someone on, materials other than metal to machine or projects that may stretch your skillset, speak to the manager and volunteer for them. This also gives you a measure of job security: you can make yourself more valuable to your current and future employers. If you’re laid off at any point or looking to move to a new company, having these skills can make it easier to find a new job at a higher pay rate or salary instead of starting at the bottom of the totem pole.
This almost seems like a no-brainer, but by practicing safety measures, you can ensure that you and others aren’t harmed while doing your job. Make a habit out of being thoughtful and conscientious with safety, equipment and materials – safety is important. Equipment and materials are expensive, so think before you act. A sloppy job performance shows in your output, so paying attention to what you’re doing at all times is a secret of success as a CNC machinist. And, as always, make sure you’re wearing proper safety equipment. All these efforts will be noticed by your manager and employer and you will avoid any situations that could seriously derail your career.
Your career success will result from hard work and good strategy. Remember that your skills are in-demand—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNC machinists are some of the most sought-after professionals, especially as the world modernizes towards automation. If you feel the learning curve starting to taper off at your current company, look around and start paying attention to opportunities that may exist both inside and outside of it.
As a best practice, we recommend that you stay where you are when possible. “Job hopping” between companies is looked down upon, so be sure to very thoughtful before making a leap. Why? Word can get around and you may find yourself having a harder time securing employment when compared to candidates with longer tenures. If you have been at a company for two years or more, that is enough time to seriously consider opportunity outside of your current company. If you have worked at a company for less time, but feel like you NEED to make a change, be sure that you have an excuse that makes legitimate sense to any recruiter or hiring manager.
At this point, take a look at various online job sites to see what opportunities and in what industries are available and at what pay levels. Again, think about what career track you are pursuing and how these opportunities fit into that plan. Have you decided that there is one industry that you want to specialize in or how tight of tolerances you want to machine in? Additionally, identifying the best employers in a sea of companies is tough work, so consider reaching out to a specialty recruiting company, like Xemplar Workforce Solutions, that has long-standing relationships with both trades professionals and employers and can match you with the company that fits your skills, goals and personality.
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If you really want to kick your career as a CNC machinist into overdrive, consider working with Xemplar Workforce Solutions as your connection to high-demand CNC positions. As a specialty recruiting company, we match high-skilled CNC machinists with outstanding employers looking for long-term trades professionals. Contact Xemplar Workforce Solutions today and start on your way to CNC machining success!