It’s no secret that office jobs and manual labor jobs are vastly different. It’s natural, then, that labor employers seek different personality traits and skill sets that differ from traditional white collar workers. If you currently are or are a soon-to-be labor employment candidate, it’s important during the resume and interview phases to highlight these qualities:
Any job can be stressful or intense, so it’s important to realize what keeps you motivated during crunchtime. Labor positions come with a different type of stress — they can have long hours or be physically strenuous — so staying motivated through the entire day is extremely important to an employer. Interviewers might ask you to narrate a difficult project at a past employer and may ask what kept you going through all of it. Is it that you take pride in your work and love seeing tangible fruits of your labor? Is it simply putting food on the table? Your answer matters, so think about why you love your work and let your passion shine through.
Practical Knowledge of Tools and Industry
Depending on the position, certain certifications or licenses may be required. Before you even apply, make sure that you have the correct qualifications — if you don’t, see what it takes to get certified. Even if a job doesn’t require any certifications, your knowledge of the trade will be apparent when you’re being interviewed, so do your research! Know what tools are most commonly used for the position and know how to use them safely. There will always be some element of on-the-job training, so while sometimes it won’t be necessary to be an expert, some base knowledge is always a plus.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Employers need to know that you’ll work well with the rest of the team to get your job done. Bringing diplomacy when there are workplace conflicts is an admirable skill to have, so if you have experience in this area, have an anecdote at-the-ready — a popular interview question is, “when was the last time you had a problem in the workplace and how did you solve it?” If you can showcase that you have creative problem solving skills, you’ll be on the fast track to employment.
It can be relatively hard to gauge physical abilities when only sitting face-to-face, but there are some ways you can let your potential employer know that you’re able to carry out the job. For example, sometimes an interviewer will ask about your personal hobbies to get a sense of your personality. Mention something that indicates you’re physically capable of handling the job and that you have good hand-eye coordination — hiking, sports, working out — anything. They need to know you’re strong enough to make it through the day without collapsing. Sometimes they’ll be up front and ask to your face if you’re physically capable of handling the work. If this is the case, reassurance and an anecdote from a past work experience is always positive.
Of course, every job is different and will demand different qualities, but the above ones are essential in most labor positions. Do your research and know what will be expected of you while on-the-job in order to make your next job hunt the shortest one you’ll ever have!