8 Press Operator Resume Skills (And Tips for Improvement)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The role of press operator is essential for any industry that uses metal or plastic parts. There are several essential skills you can include on your resume to help your chances of appealing to employers when applying for this position. Understanding the press operator skills to include on your resume and how to improve those skills can help you secure a job and advance your career in metals and plastics. In this article, we explore what a press operator is, list the skills to include in your resume, define how to highlight the skills, and provide methods of improvement.

What is a press operator?

Metal press operators use automatic or semi-automatic machines to shape, press, bend, and form parts from metals or plastics. These professionals use computer numerical controlled machines to perform their jobs and create component parts according to blueprints. Depending on the size of the operation, press operators may also order material supplies and check product quality. Here are the general skills required for the position:

  • Operating and adjusting machines

  • Reading blueprints to determine how to set the machines

  • Monitoring machines to detect potential mechanical issues

  • Inspecting products to ensure they conform to quality standards

  • Loading raw materials or semi-completed parts manually into the machine press

  • Checking machines for efficient operation and reporting any faults to managers

Related: 15 Jobs in Construction Trades (With Salaries and Duties)

8 press operator resume skills

Here are the eight essential press operator resume skills you can add to your resume to highlight your abilities:

1. Dexterity

Depending on the product being manufactured and the materials with which you're working, you may be required to use strong manual dexterity to smooth imperfections. Press operators use heavy machinery and power tools, so they are required to have good dexterity and solid hand-eye or hand-foot coordination. Having firm control over your fingers, hands, and arms can help you perform press operator tasks effectively.

2. Attention to safety

In a manufacturing environment, there may be several opportunities for accidents to occur. Having detailed attention to safety and associated protocols is an important quality in a press operator candidate. Understanding, respecting, and upholding the safety measures in a work environment can help you avoid injuries and promote a safe work environment. You can develop your attention to safety skills by joining a workplace safety committee and familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations.

3. Stamina

Press operators require good physical and mental stamina to perform their jobs efficiently and safely. As the machines require operators to stand for long periods of time, it's important to build up your stamina to avoid fatigue. Strong mental stamina helps operators focus on their machines and detect any irregularities or malfunctions with the equipment. This requires strong focus, endurance, and attention to detail. You can increase your stamina by participating in exercise programs, practising standing for longer periods of time, and investing in supportive footwear to help develop this skill safely.

4. Communication

Being able to listen and communicate with managers and team members is an important ability to have when operating heavy machinery. These professionals rely on strong active listening to understand instructions and act according to a plan. You might use oral communication skills when sharing details of machine malfunctions with mechanics or sharing information with the next shift of employees. Written communication abilities can help you prepare documentation reports, complete health and safety forms, or make notes on machine speed and output.

5. Quality assurance

Quality assurance abilities are a culmination of several skills, including analysis, leadership, attention to detail, and industry-specific technical knowledge. Press operators handle the consistent quality of the products and components they produce, which involves the ability to recognize inaccuracies and make adjustments to correct them. This ability requires a powerful ability to focus for long periods of time and is a skill that you may develop with experience and practice.

6. Technical knowledge

Technical skills are sets of abilities or knowledge that help you understand and perform manufacturing processes. It's important to have knowledge of certain machines, tools, and the technology that operates them to perform as a press operator. Understanding how to safely and properly operate machinery is an essential skill for finding work in manufacturing. If you're unfamiliar with the machines used in the workplace where you're applying, you may take a course or training program to develop these skills.

7. Ability to read blueprints

Blueprints communicate essential information between the engineering and manufacturing processes. Press operators use blueprints to understand the parts they are making, the amount and type of material required, and the machine settings. For a machine operator to be successful, they have the skills to interpret these engineering drawings to measure and cut materials accurately.

8. Math skills

Press operators may be required to perform necessary calculations to set their machines according to the blueprints. Knowledge of math skills can help you understand and translate blueprints, make accurate measurements, and calculate the raw materials needed. Press operators may also use math to analyze production rates to determine why a machine is not performing properly. Depending on the environment and production equipment, you may benefit from the knowledge of fractions, decimals, geometry, and basic trigonometry.

Highlighting your skills on your resume

Here are some tips for successfully showcasing your skills on your application:

  • Add skills relevant to the job posting. It's helpful to review the job posting for keywords related to the skills required for the position. Include only the most relevant skills related to the role and outline your expertise in each.

  • Be specific. Some jobs may require knowledge of specific technology or equipment. If you have experience with a specific machine used in the organization and listed in the job description, consider adding those specifics to further appeal to hiring managers.

  • Provide concrete examples. It's helpful to include concrete quantitative examples of your skills and experience. For example, if you have a 95% quality assurance rate in a previous role, you may include this information to validate your abilities.

  • Use action verbs. When listing your skills on a resume, start each bullet point with an action verb. For example, to show your experience with blueprints, you might say you read and interpret blueprints to ensure accuracy and consistency.

  • Highlight your skills throughout. You can list your skills in the general skills section of your resume and include them throughout. For example, you can highlight specific skills and qualifications that set you apart in the professional summary and in the work experience section, as they apply.

Related: Highlighting Your Skills Using Resume Bullet Points

How to improve your press operator skills

There are many ways to improve the skills required for the position of press operator. Here are some methods that you can use to improve your abilities to further qualify you for the role:

1. Identify the skills you want to learn

To help you identify the skills you want to learn, you can review press operator job postings for details on the skills required for the position. For example, if you want to apply for a job that lists several mechanical skills that you don't yet have, you might look for courses to learn them. This is an efficient way to identify skills to develop. It may help to reach out to other people within your industry to recommend skills they frequently use in their position or which they find may be the most valuable.

2. Take courses

Once you have identified the hard or soft skills you want to learn, you can search for online or in-person courses to develop your skills. Some colleges or associations may offer courses where you can learn more technical skills, often resulting in a certification you can add to your resume. If you want to develop some less technical skills, like completing health and safety documentation, you might find online tutorials to review from the governing body that requires their completion. You might also find online tutorial videos to explain how to read blueprints or other technical drawings.

3. Find a mentor

It's helpful to find a mentor to help guide you through your career, recommend skills to learn, and offer advice or assistance for employment opportunities. Establishing a relationship with a mentor can help you build technical skills along with soft skills, such as communication and active listening. They may advise you on the best practices of the industry or teach you how to hone your attention to detail and safety practices.

Read more: How to Build a Successful Mentor Relationship in Five Steps

4. Practise the skills you learned

You can enhance your abilities by practising what you learn. For example, if you learn how to read blueprints, you can find additional samples online to review and test your skills. The more opportunities available to put your new skills into action, the more advanced you may become. It's beneficial to not only describe your skills in an interview but also describe how you've used your skills since learning them. The more examples you have prepared to share, the more experienced you may appear to interviewers.

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