Machine operation is the key to so many modern industries. Operators are the unsung heroes in the manufacture of countless products that we use every day.

It is an ideal vocation for the detail-oriented and those who excel at taking raw materials and shaping something useful from them.

There are so many industries out there in need of your talents, and opportunities are expanding by the day.

But how does one harness opportunity into steady employment?

How do you get your foot in the door?

It starts with your machine operator resume.

Not just any machine operator resume — a superb machine operator resume. A resume that communicates your true value.

Let’s start shaping your professional future!

You need to have knowledge of what key elements make for an excellent resume.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample machine operator to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best machine operator resume you possibly can.

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Machine Operator Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Jonathan Adams
jonadams@email.com
(773) 234-0088
Chicago, IL 60634
linkedin.com/jonadams

Summary Statement:

Machine Operator: Highly experienced machine operator specializing in production oversight and quality assurance by monitoring of CNC machines including lathes, routers, welders, and grinders in a variety of different work settings. Particularly skilled in manual operation of lathes and grinders.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Observation
  • Troubleshooting
  • CNC Machines
  • CAM Programs
  • Machine Strategies
  • Geometric Calculations
  • OSHA Guidelines
  • Quality Control
  • Detail-oriented
  • Manual Dexterity

Professional Experience:

Gilbert Machining | Chicago, IL
CNC Machine Operator | March 2017–Present

  • Utilized CAM programs for CNC machine production
  • Developed machine strategies for CAM programs
  • Managed CNC machines while in use
  • Ensured parts quality by checking gauges
  • Followed OSHA safety guidelines
  • Compiled and submitted production reports

DBR Corporation | Chicago, IL MO
Lathe Operator | January 2015–December 2016

  • Interpreted parts blueprints
  • Operated lathes for cutting, shaping, and bending
  • Cleaned lathe components
  • Maintained orderly workspace
  • Adhered to order specifications

Peters Milling and Machine | Chicago, IL
Machine Operator | June 2013–November 2014

  • Selected grinder wheels for varying applications
  • Sharpened cutting tools
  • Followed specifications using fixed gauges, surface gauges, and micrometers
  • Observed and adjusted rotation speeds

Education/Certifications

Certificate in CNC Operation
Symbol Training Institute, Skokie, IL
2016

Formatting

Machining takes precision and planning, just like your resume.

Many employers now use software bots to scan resumes for certain keywords. So it’s important to begin with this awareness and use proper keywords and language in your machine operator resume.

After the bots (if applicable), your resume passes across the desk of a hiring manager, who will spend about six seconds looking it over.

Whether or not your resume makes an impression is dependent upon its formatting.

So what makes for good formatting?

Reverse chronological order is the first tip. You list your most recent position and experiences first, then go backward in time to the start of your relevant work history.

One thing you need to watch when formatting is font selection. Your other elements of formatting will fall apart if your text is presented in a fancy or outlandish font.

Keep it simple with a basic font.

Pay attention to your use of white spaces. Resumes that have properly spaced and aligned sections are both scannable and readable.

Two things you definitely want!

The Summary Comes First

So how should your machine operator resume begin?

You want your first section to capture the attention of the reader.

To really make a good impression.

So we’ll start with a summary of your qualifications to show what you’re all about. In 2–3 sentences, demonstrate why you are a great machine operator.

You’ll want to avoid generalities and really communicate a sense of your skills and value.

Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd. You want to prove that you’re an exceptional machine operator and a perfect fit for the job.

Kicking your machine operator resume off with an impactful summary is a sure way of gaining the attention of hiring managers.

PRO TIP: Your summary is a curated list of your best attributes as a machine operator. It should not be a breakdown of your work history or a statement of your professional objective(s). The summary should be a snapshot of what type of machine operator you are.

Ok, let’s take a look at some summary examples:

Yes!

Highly experienced machine operator specializing in production oversight and quality assurance by monitoring of CNC machines including lathes, routers, welders, and grinders in a variety of different work settings. Particularly skilled in manual operation of lathes and grinders.

No!

Specialized machine operator. Monitors CNC machines in many different environments. Can operate lathes and grinders. Looking for machine work that requires skill with manual operation of machines.

What makes the first example preferable over the second?

The first summary contains just enough detail to give the reader an accurate insight into the skill level and expertise of the candidate.

We are shown why the applicant is highly experienced with a breakdown of relevant skills and work environments.

Power words are used well in the summary, conveying action and initiative.

The second example is too general to really communicate an idea of the candidate’s value. We know the applicant is specialized and skilled, but at what exactly?

There’s also no energy or drive to the second example.

It conveys only the most basic information.

Not a good way to impress.

Your summary can be truthful and accurate, but if you don’t fill it out with your relevant qualifications, it isn’t going to do you any favors when a hiring manager reads it.

Your Expertise and Accomplishments

Next up, you need to add a skill list that conveys your expertise and highlights your accomplishments.

Use a bullet point layout.

Your expertise bullet list is an opportunity to zero in on what makes you stand out both personally and professionally.

It will also give hiring managers a snapshot of what makes you different from other candidates.

Example

  • Observation
  • Troubleshooting
  • CNC Machines
  • CAM Programs
  • Machine Strategies
  • Geometric Calculations
  • OSHA Guidelines
  • Quality Control
  • Detail-oriented
  • Manual Dexterity

Leave anything out?

Your list needs to be a balanced mix of both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills convey what you know related to the field.

How much do you know about machine operation?

Soft skills reflect your personality and behavior on the job.

Things like punctuality, observation, attitude, organization, and attention to details.

Once you get your soft skills and hard skills listed, you’re ready to move on to your actual work history.

PRO TIP : Consider your work history, what you’ve been praised and awarded for. Even mentally scan your education experience for any stand-out moments. You can use them when listing your soft skills.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Your Work History Section

So, just what have you been up to in your working life?

Time to show off!

Your work experience is the heart and soul of your machine operator resume, so let’s be sure to get it down accurately.

But what to include and what to leave out?

After all, you can’t possibly list everything you did in every position you’ve held.

So you need to pinpoint the relevant roles and tasks you fulfilled and completed on the job.

It starts with layout.

Reverse chronological order is the choice of the day here.

List your most recent position first. This helps the hiring manager see what your prior work experience has led up to.

Your most impressive experience points.

As you go through your former positions, remember that the goal is to list only the most relevant experience. However, if you lack much work history, or are just starting out after graduation, consider adding more points just to fill things out.

Be sure to include the following:

  • The company name
  • Where the company is located
  • What job you performed there

Dates of employment are a common addition.

But what if you were employed for only a short time at a certain position?

Or what if there are significant gaps of time between your jobs?

Then you might choose to leave dates of employment off your machine operator resume. However, if you do this, keep in mind that you’ll probably be asked about it during an interview. So have answers prepared.

Now onto the bullet points!

3–5 points should do the trick. Each entry should be a quick but impactful summary of your time in that position. Too many bullet points will slow the reader down and your resume will lose traction as a result.

Here are some bullet point examples to consider:

Yes!

Gilbert Machining | Chicago, IL | CNC Machine Operator | March 2017–Present
• Utilized CAM programs for CNC machine production
• Developed machine strategies for CAM programs
• Managed CNC machines while in use
• Followed OSHA safety guidelines
• Compiled and submitted production reports

No!

Gilbert Machining | Chicago, IL | Machine Operator
• Developed machine strategies 
• Managed machines 
• Parts quality 
• OSHA safety guidelines
• Production reports

Can you spot the key differences between examples?

Why is the first preferable?

The first example provides a short but sweet breakdown of the candidate’s key roles and functions in the position. Each point utilizes a power word followed by enough detail to create a complete impression.

The second example is a loose collection of points, some providing more detail than others. Only a few power words are used, so the entry as a whole lacks a sense of action and energy.

Its bullet points are too general. This person seems like a competent machine operator, but did they specialize in anything while occupying the position?

The applicant has also chosen to leave dates of employment off the position entry. Again, while you can do this, it will put you in the hot seat should you advance to the interview stage.

PRO TIP: If you’re having trouble with power word selection, consult the job description. The text will probably include many helpful power words. The obvious bonus being these words are already on the mind of your potential employer

More About Bots

We’ve mentioned software bots before. Your potential employer may be using what’s known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The software is used to scan your machine operator resume for certain keywords.

In order to make a resume more scannable, some candidates opt for using a paragraph format for their work history section. This alternate format allows for more keyword use.

So instead of bullet points:

Gilbert Machining | Chicago, IL | CNC Machine Operator | March 2017–Present

  • Utilized CAM programs for CNC machine production
  • Developed machine strategies for CAM programs
  • Managed CNC machines while in use
  • Ensured parts quality by checking gauges
  • Followed OSHA safety guidelines
  • Compiled and submitted production reports

You’d use a paragraph:

Utilized CAM programs for CNC machine production, and developed machine strategies for CAM programs. Managed CNC machines while in use, and ensured parts quality by checking gauges.

A combination layout is also an option, with one or two bullet points to emphasize certain roles and skills.

Utilized CAM programs for CNC machine production, and developed machine strategies for CAM programs. Managed CNC machines while in use, and ensured parts quality by checking gauges.

  • Followed all OSHA safety guidelines
  • Compiled and submitted production reports according to specification

The issue with choosing an ATS-friendly alternative is you lose human readability.

So in the big picture, it’s probably the wiser choice to stick with bullet points alone.

Writing Your Education Section

What education have you received?

Does it qualify you to do the relevant job?

Your education section is important. It helps complete the overall picture of your working life thus far. It can reveal how dedicated you are to pursuing a career in the field, or just indicate your level of self-discipline and drive.

List whatever education you’ve had in reverse chronological order, starting with the highest level achieved.

Start by naming your area of study and the institution you graduated from. Include minor degrees and areas of concentration as well.

If you’re new to the professional working world, consider adding your GPA and any special academic accomplishments, such as being on the Dean’s List.

If you’ve expanded your skill set via workshops or additional programs, list these as well.

Example:

    • “CNC Operation,” Technical Workshop, Chicago, IL

  • “Lathes and Grinding,” Workshop, Skokie, IL

Optional Section(s)

Sometimes, not everything that makes you stand out as a candidate will fit with the typical sections on a resume.

If this is you, think about adding an additional section dedicated to special achievements.

This can be helpful if your work history is a bit thin as well.

You may also want to add more sections if you are just beginning your career and need to fill in some space where your work history is thin.

Example:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

Limited or No Experience

Are you new to the field of machine operating?

Perhaps you’re just out of a training program or maybe changing careers.

Even if you have little to no experience, you can still craft a good machine operator resume. There are several things you can do to adapt your content.

One option is to move your education section under your summary. This change allows a hiring manager to see your education near the top of the page instead of the bottom. If you have no relevant experience, your education is going to be one of your chief selling points.

Another tip is to tailor your work history bullet points to be as relevant as possible to the job description.

Yes, you’ve never been a machine operator before, but what things have you done in the past that might help you move into your new field?

Have you done jobs in the past that required technical precision and forethought?

Have you built things?

These things will count as valuable experience.

Remember This

Take time to remember these essential tips:

Include contact info

Include a way to be contacted. In the midst of trying to get everything else right on your resume, don’t neglect your contact information. It’s important!

Use spacing to your advantage

You have limited space to make an impression. So be sure and place your most memorable qualities in the summary, at the top of the page. Follow this with your expertise bullet points, your work history, and then education credentials.

Action words are your friend

There are lots of wonderful power words to choose from out there. They are essential for conveying energy and action in your resume. So have fun with them!

Invest in proofreading

You obviously do not want any typos or grammar flubs in your resume. Yet they can still sneak past us. It’s a good idea to recruit a second set of eyes to review your work. Taking this extra step could ensure your future employment!

What Not to Do

To ensure your resume is as polished and professional as possible, here are a few “don’ts” to keep in mind.

First-person language is a no-go

Don’t use first person language, especially in your summary and bullet points. Remember, your resume is not a personal letter. It’s a professional document displaying your work skills.

Number of pages? One.

Short and to-the-point is the key. You don’t want to exceed one page when writing your resume. With proper formatting and language, you should be able to easily fit all your relevant experience and skill points.

Write it once

Repetition is a tell-tale sign of amateur effort. Since the goal is to make your resume highly readable, you don’t want to repeat yourself. Using power words will help you keep your text fresh and driven.

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words below to use for inspiration.)

Remember the font

Lastly, remember to select a font that is both simple and utilitarian. A crazy or artistic font will do you no favors and will probably subvert all your efforts at proper formatting and language selection.

Some Helpful Tools

Machine Operator Resume Power Words

  • Utilized
  • Managed
  • Ensured
  • Developed
  • Followed
  • Compiled
  • Interpreted
  • Operated
  • Cleaned
  • Maintained
  • Adhered
  • Adhered
  • Sharpened
  • Observed

Machine Operator Resume Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
CNC MachinesObservation
CAM ProgramsTroubleshooting
Geometric CalculationsQuality Control
OSHA GuidelinestDetail-oriented
Machine StrategiesManual Dexterity