Our world could not exist without light industrial personnel–those who are responsible for assembling, testing, assuring quality control, packaging, and shipping of the products we use every day. From reading blueprints, manufacturing electronics, or working in a warehouse to welding, food production, and much more, light industrial workers are the backbone of society. Currently, they are in high demand, as many companies are running short-staffed.
However, that does not mean that skills aren’t needed to succeed in the light industrial arena. They may not be acquired via a college degree, but the following skills are essential to building a satisfying and fulfilling light industrial career:
1.) Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
Problems and issues will arise regardless of your position within the light industrial realm. Being able to approach the issue from a logical, reasoning perspective is critical. What went wrong? Where was the breakdown? What could we have done differently? Can we reverse it? What are our options for moving forward? What are the pros and cons of each option?
As you can see, critical thinking involves asking questions and digging for the best answers. It’s evaluating the existing views, solutions, ideas, and evidence, then listing the potential options and the pros and cons of each option. Sure, you won’t always produce the perfect solution. Sometimes the option you choose will crash and burn, and you must start over, but you can still glean and learn from it. Being able to discern the situation and solve it is a valuable skill. Employers are looking for people who recognize that something is wrong, know when to act, and proactively look for solutions.
Depending on your position, you often must keep parts, tools, product components, paperwork, or even schedules organized and at hand ready to be used. The better you are at doing this, the more efficient and productive you can be in your work. In addition, being organized and paying attention to the details will help you recognize potential problems early on and ‘solve’ them before they become an issue.
3.) Cross Trainer
This is just another way of saying teachable, adaptive, or flexible. In the light industrial arena, workers often move from one position to another. For example, you may decipher an order, operate machinery in the process of putting it together, then package it, and complete the process with proper documentation. Even if you are in an assembly line and complete a repetitive process for the entire shift, your employer may ask you to work at various positions in the line to fill in for absentees. Being willing to learn, quick to pick up new things, and making the switch with a cheerful outlook are invaluable to your success.
4.) Team Player
Being able to work with others in a pleasant, agreeable manner is essential. Many positions require communicating and collaborating with other workers. It means supporting each other by ensuring you complete your responsibilities correctly and on time, stepping in, and giving a hand when needed. It means recognizing the value of each member on the team and giving credit where credit is due. The next skill on the list enhances your ability to do this well.
5.) Emotional Intelligence
EI (also labeled EQ) is both self-awareness and others’ awareness. It is awareness of your emotions and understanding, controlling, and expressing them in a way that strengthens the situation. It is also being aware of, understanding, and then effectively responding to the emotions of others. Some experts suggest that your emotional IQ is even more important than your mental IQ.
Last on our list, but equally important is reliability. Light industrial positions are rarely, if ever, stand-alone positions. Each job is one gear in a giant machine, but just as one gear in a mechanical device can malfunction and shut the entire device down, each person’s role is essential to the rest. Your employer, and everyone on your team, count on you to be there every day, on time. They need you to efficiently and effectively fulfilling your role in the process.
There are multiple types of positions in the broad and diverse light industrial field. Regardless of which direction fits your interests and abilities, the above skills are essential to your career satisfaction and success.
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