Secrets You Need To Know Before Starting A Manufacturing Job As A New Grad

If you’re like me, your first manufacturing job was a little scary. I worried that I wouldn’t measure up to the veterans around me, and I’d have to wade through my inexperience to be accepted as one of the crew. 

In reality, most employees are happy to help newbies get up to speed; in fact, your employer probably expects you’ll need some help. 

As a new grad I and an engineer for a company that places many recent college grads into manufacturing jobs every year, here are my tips for making sure your first role is successful.

Work With Experienced Supervisors And Mentors

It’s never too early to start building relationships with people who are further along in their careers. This might be a supervisor, a mentor, or even someone you know casually outside of work. 

The more you get to know people above you, the better positioned you will be to make your career goals happen.

When I first started working at Boeing as an engineer, I was assigned a mentor named Matt who had been there for many years and knew all about the ins and outs of the department where I worked. 

Having Matt as my guide was incredibly helpful because he could answer any questions that came up during my first few months on the job (and still does). 

He also helped me navigate some difficult situations when they arose and recommended me for opportunities that would have otherwise gone unnoticed by someone else in my position without his input and guidance.

Be Flexible And Willing To Learn

Flexibility is key in any job, but especially when you’re starting. You may be given an assignment that requires a specific skill set and finds that it’s not what you thought it would be. 

Or perhaps your company is undergoing some changes and now has a different direction than before. Either way, be willing to adapt and try new things, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Be willing to learn from others’ mistakes as well as your own (and there will be some). This will help keep you safe while working on the factory floor, which can sometimes be dangerous territory for new employees who are unfamiliar with their surroundings.

Know That Everyone Feels Like An Outsider At First

Many new grads feel like they don’t belong. They might be the youngest person in their department or the only one who went to a small school. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t in this industry for the right reasons. 

You are here because you care about design and seeing your work come to life through manufacturing.

If you begin your career feeling like an outsider, it is good! It means that you are open-minded and curious two traits that will take you far in this industry. 

So ask questions, push yourself to learn things beyond what was taught at college, and most importantly: have confidence in yourself and your abilities!

Pay Attention To What The Company Values

It’s worth spending some time getting to know the company you’re joining. It can be tempting to focus on what you can gain from the job and how it will help your career, but it’s far more important to ask yourself: What do they value? 

What are their goals? What is their mission statement? What kind of culture do they have? How would I describe it as a place to work, or what values do they prioritize above all else in their employees or processes (e.g., efficiency vs creativity)?

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Others For Help

As a new grad, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. You’re at the bottom of the totem pole and that can be scary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

While it’s true that your supervisor is likely very busy, he or she should still find time to explain some things to you. This will help ease your transition into your new job and make sure that everything runs smoothly.

It’s also important to build relationships with your peers and colleagues so they can understand what it’s like on your end (and vice versa). 

This way, if one member needs assistance from another member, they’ll have someone to go to instead of having no one else around them who understands their situation

Learn The Basics Of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a philosophy, way of thinking and working, culture, process, and continuous improvement. It’s an iterative process that uses visual management techniques to eliminate waste in your processes. 

It also focuses on eliminating waste from the workplace by reducing overproduction or underutilization of resources. This means that you should always be looking for ways to improve upon your production lines as an employee working in a Lean manufacturing environment.

Be Curious, Ask Questions And Push Yourself To Learn Everything You Can About Your Job

As a new grad, you’re probably used to being at the bottom of the totem pole. But now that you’re working in manufacturing and not school, it’s time to change that mentality. You need to make yourself stand out from your peers by being curious and asking questions. 

I know asking questions may sound like something only kids do but this is an important skill for anyone who wants their job or career to succeed.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Ask for help when needed (and don’t be afraid if it feels like too much)
  • Ask for advice on how you can improve yourself as an employee or person in general (even if someone offers unsolicited advice)
  • Ask for mentorship from those who have been there before such as managers/supervisors at work or professors/instructors at school (this could also be considered networking).

Being A New Manufacturing Grad Is Tough, But It Can Be Great If You Take Advantage Of The Resources Available

As a brand new manufacturing grad, you’re going to have an adjustment period as you work with experienced supervisors and mentors who are used to doing things a certain way. Being flexible will help you adjust to this environment quickly.

Remember: Everyone feels like an outsider at first! So don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t make sense, and ask questions about anything that confuses you. 

If there is no one else around who can answer your question, go ahead and ask someone from another department if they know how to handle your issue or concern. 

They might not know exactly what’s happening but could point out other resources available at the company (or even outside of it) where someone might have more knowledge on the subject matter than themselves and that’s still valuable information!

In addition, pay attention when people talk about their values what matters most in terms of production goals? Quality control measures? Labor relations? And remember: everyone has different backgrounds so no one perspective represents “the truth.” 

What works for one person may not always work for another; however, having multiple perspectives will help ensure that everyone feels heard while also ensuring that quality standards remain high across all departments throughout production processes.


So, there you have it. If you’re a new grad starting a manufacturing job, remember that everyone goes through this stage and that it takes time to get used to the environment. 

We’ve given you some advice that can help make your transition easier and prepare you for success in this industry.

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