Preparing to Re-Enter the Additive Manufacturing Job Market

In times of uncertainty where you find yourself amidst redundancies, company closures and displacement, what can you do to get back in the game?

With recent reports of layoffs at some pretty big companies in the additive manufacturing industry, we have found many AM professionals in need of support in finding their next employment opportunity. 

This guide is designed to help you escape unemployment, providing a road map for getting back in the game, covering the following topics:

Designing Your Resume for success

Titles vs. Responsibilities

If you’ve been in the industry for some time now, one thing you’ll likely have noticed is the discrepancy in job titles within Additive Manufacturing.

This can provide quite a hurdle to overcome when searching for jobs. While you might be used to one set of responsibilities under your current job title, someone with those same responsibilities in a different company, might have a wildly different title.

This is where designing your CV (or resume) for success, is the number one thing you should be focusing on. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you change your job title on your resume, but it’s important that you show very clearly what it is that you do (especially if your job title doesn’t obviously reflect that).

KEYWORDS are key

Gone are the days where cover letters were a standard practice, where showing your character in a resume intro would win you points. What you should be thinking about now are ‘keywords’.

We would typically recommend putting industry specific keywords at the top of your resume and here’s why:

Studies have shown that the average recruiter scans a resume for six seconds before deciding if the applicant is a good fit for the role.

If that sounds drastic, it’s probably because it should say, “You have on average 6 seconds to make a GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION on a recruiter with your resume”; that meaning there are a few things you should get straight:

  • Layout (clear, concise, legible)
  • Font (easy to read)
  • Job Title (placement on the page – is it one of the first things we see?)
  • Contact Information (is it up to date and present?)
  • Keywords (do we get a sense of what you do by scanning the initial portion of your CV in 6 seconds?)
Here’s an example of what that should look like:

You have to remember, when a recruiter or HR person opens your resume on their computer, the only portion that typically shows on screen, is the uppermost part.

So, don’t waste the space on unnecessary information such as hyperbolic affirmations about your people skills and how much of a team player you are – let the CV speak for you on that front.

Celebrate Your Achievements

When it comes to the body of your resume, and you start listing your experience and employment history, an error that is often committed is the way a person lists said experience.

If you struggle to understand what is meant when someone tells you – “List your achievements!” – you wouldn’t be alone. When you do your job, day in and day out, you might be forgiven for taking for granted the actions in your role that constitute an achievement.

Reframe your thinking

Reframe the way you think about your achievements on the job. Listing what you did in your day to day is not enough – you have to think of those aspects of your job as ‘expectations’, not ‘exceptions’. Recruiters and HR persons want to know what you did in your roles that went above and beyond the expectations.

For example, where an applications engineer might say “I was responsible for servicing machines”, what would improve this statement is the following:

Additionally, you might be concerned that sharing confidential information about the businesses you’ve worked at will hinder you in being able to share what you’ve achieved. In this case, it’s acceptable to generalize to give a ballpark idea of what you’ve achieved in the roles you’ve worked, for example:

Other Areas for Consideration

Alongside prioritizing AM keywords that help recruiters to understand exactly what you’ve done in your past role, we’ve got a few other pointers for perfecting your CV that we’d like to share with you:

Technologies and materials

Similarly to the point about ‘Keywords’, when it comes to discussing additive manufacturing, 3D technologies and/or materials that you’ve worked with, you need to remain mindful of who will be reviewing your resume when you apply for jobs.

Recruiters and HR persons aren’t typically educated in engineering, instead, they are more likely to have a selection of keywords that they need to be looking out for (and that’s not to mention software that can sometimes be used to sort through job applications where the adherence to said ‘keywords’ will be all the more strict).

Bearing that in mind, when listing the technologies and/or materials that you’re familiar with, think about listing them in layman’s terms. For example:

  • Titanium, instead of Ti64
  • PETG, instead of polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified
  • FFF, instead of fused filament fabrication
  • LPBF, instead of Laser Powder Bed Fusion

Education

Remember when we said earlier that the top portion of your CV is used for making an initial impact?

Well, that also counts for the placement of your educational information. We would argue that your education doesn’t have a place at the top of your CV, and here is why…

Employers are interested in knowing if you can do the job. That comes down to how much and what type of experience you have – not how long you spent studying. Although it’s important to show that you know what you’re talking about, that shouldn’t be your trump card.

We would suggest that the appropriate placement for your education would be at the bottom of your CV – if not for the fact that chronologically speaking, it makes sense – but because if your real-World work experience is suitable for the job, the Employer will take the time to scroll down and see what qualifications you’ve gained throughout your career.

This way, you maximize the space in your CV – getting to the important stuff quicker.

Overcoming & understanding Salary Discrepancies

Now for the real talk. Compensation.

Much like with Titles and Responsibilities, salaries cause a lot of confusion in the additive manufacturing industry. This is why we created the annual AM Salary Survey as a way to start mending the compensation landscape in the industry. You can download our salary guide by visiting our dedicated Salary Survey Report page.

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that there are going to be salary discrepancies in every company. So here are our takeaways in dealing with that:

Salary Benchmarking

When using salary benchmarks to decide on what you should be asking for in terms of compensation, there are some things that you need to consider, such as:

  • Location – where are you based? How do the salary benchmarks compare to the salaries where you are? Should you look at the higher or lower range of the benchmarks?
  • Experience – how many years of work experience do you really have? Some Employers will only consider ‘practical’ experience, not post doc.
  • Cost of Living – What do you realistically need? Not how much you’d like to have if you could ask for anything in the World, but how much do you realistically need to maintain your cost of living and perhaps improve slightly from where you are now?
  • Seniority – this is linked to the above point on cost of living. If you’re trying to step up from where you are now, at least ensure that what you are asking falls into the expected amount for the seniority level of the job you are applying for. There’s no sense in asking for a Manager-level salary if you’re not applying for or prepared to take on Manager-level responsibility.
  • Don’t look at what Jim down the road is earning – you’re not Jim. You don’t work where Jim works. In fact, Jim has nothing to do with your career trajectory. Don’t justify what you’re asking based on what someone else is earning. 

Loxley Graham – our Head of Europe & ROW – took part in a webinar with guests from 3DPrint.com to interrogate what Talent really want, based on the results of our 2022 AM Salary Survey Report. In this webinar, he covers how to negotiate your salary and how to arrive at the right compensation for you

How to use the annual salary survey report

Using the above points, when facing a salary guide such as ours, you can start to understand how this can guide you in understanding what you should be asking for from a prospective Employer. 

For example, you:

  • are a Senior R&D Engineer
  • with 3 years of practical work experience
  • based in North America

So you can see that you could expect to ask for something in the range of $65K – $160K (with $160K being the maximum amount you could expect to ask for as someone with your level of seniority and experience).

However, you are based in Amarillo, Texas, which by comparison to the likes of New York is a relatively lower cost area to live and work in. Judging by this, we can say that you’d be much more likely to ask for salary in the range of $65K – $93K.

From here, you can use the criteria in the previous section to work out exactly what you would be best off asking for, based on: current earnings, location, experience, seniority, cost of living and what you REALLY need.

Salary Guidelines from the 2022 AM Salary Survey Report

PARTICIPATE IN THE ANNUAL SALARY SURVEY REPORT

If you want to see your numbers reflected in the annual AM Salary Survey Report, it’s worth taking the 5-7 minutes to complete the survey. This also ensures that you get the analyzed results ahead of the rest of the industry.

The survey is 100% confidential. You can learn more by watching a short video about it from our Founder & Director, Nick Pearce, and our Marketing Executive, Sophie Pontoppidan, on LinkedIn.

Professionals and AM Talent can take the survey here, until November 30, 2022.

Employers and Hiring Managers can take the survey here, until November 30, 2022.

Maximizing Your LinkedIn

Finally, think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume. If you have a profile on LinkedIn, you can imagine that people are going to look at it when you’re apply for jobs. So, making sure that it’s as polished as your resume is worthy time investment to make.

As recruiters, these are the small – but important – features that we often notice and would recommend optimizing in your profile while you’re on your job hunt:

Your Profile Photo

LinkedIn is a professional networking site – it’s not Facebook. 

That means, making sure that your profile photo on LinkedIn is:

  • up to date
  • professional
  • representative of what you actually look like

In today’s World, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be in a suit bearing a serious, but polite, smile. It just means that you should make sure you look smart, tidy and as you would professionally represent yourself out in the World.

Keywords (Again)

We did say to think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume, so ‘Keywords’ count here too.

If recruiters are visiting your profile and they see your byline reads,

“Lover of people | Team Player | all round believer that the World is a magical place”

they will quickly move on to the next profile. Why? Because it doesn’t tell your audience what you actually do!

Using the example of the Senior R&D Engineer, you might try something like:

“Senior R&D Engineer | 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing | Aerospace & Defense”

Immediately we see what you do, which tech and vertical industries you operate within and whether you could be suitable for the role or not.

Activity list

If anyone ever had to tell you not to get political on LinkedIn, let us reiterate that point. Especially because thanks to the Activity List on LinkedIn, anyone can read up on the interactions that you have on the platform! Yikes!

Try to avoid engaging in petty discussions on LinkedIn, debating political topics or anything that could damage your credibility and reputation with your employer and the industry you work in. However, the Activity List can also be used for your benefit. Here’s a summary:

DO:

  • Network
  • Engage in relevant industry news and discourse
  • Be uplifting and encouraging
  • Comment and engage with content from key players that you admire
  • BE ACTIVE, show that you’re alive on the platform

DON’T:

  • Be political
  • Engage in negative discussion
  • Associate your name with content in poor taste

ITAR & Visas (USA)

While searching for career opportunities within the Additive Manufacturing industry, you may find employers stating that they are an ITAR facility. This may mean that they do not offer sponsorship for employment in their facility. To learn more about ITAR, please visit this link: Understand The ITAR – DDTC Public Portal (state.gov)

In short, to conform to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. 

Visa holders or those with permanent residency in the US, may also wish to visit these sites for more information:

Advice for H1B Visa Holders

Having supported many candidates in the US (between visa holders, permanent residents and US citizens), these are the tips that come up time and time again particularly where ITAR regulations and visa holders are concerned:

aim to apply for positions in larger companies

When searching for 3D printing jobs, aim to apply for positions in larger companies with a focus on non-ITAR regulated markets (such as consumer goods, automotive or medical). You will find doing a H1B transfer into one of these companies is a much smoother process.

be upfront about how much time you have remaining on your visa

If you are so fortunate as to receive an interview with the employer, be upfront about how much time you have remaining on your visa (- this may expedite the process in your favor should the employer take interest in your profile). If you neglect to tell the interviewers what timeframe they are working with in terms of your visa, you may find the recruitment process overshoots what time you have left.

NETWORK!

An uncomfortable truth is that hiring companies may often overlook visa holders in a recruitment process. This is why networking is an essential practice to exercise. Whether you choose to network through recruiters or feel comfortable enough to go digging and make connections on LinkedIn – reach out to the people who know people to ensure you get in front of the all-important Hiring Managers. 

IN Summary

To make sure you’re in the best position to re-enter the additive manufacturing job market here’s what you can do:

YOUR RESUME

Make sure your resume is set up for success. A successful resume looks like:

  • Having a clear layout with an easily legible font.
  • Up to date contact information
  • Keywords at the top of your resume that reflect exactly what you do in your existing role
  • Key achievements listed under each job experience – not just expectations of your role
  • Your educational background at the bottom of the resume

YOUR COMPENSATION EXPECTATIONS (SALARY)

Knowing how to decide on the appropriate compensation that you should be asking for in a recruitment process is a skill worth developing. There are a variety of resources that can help you benchmark and understand what kind of compensation you can expect based on your experience, seniority and discipline – not least the Alexander Daniels Global annual AM Salary Survey Report.

Using the following criteria will help you to understand what you should be asking for:

  • Location – where are you based?
  • Experience – how many years of PRACTICAL experience do you have?
  • Cost of Living – how much do you spend each month on living
  • Seniority – what type of jobs are you applying for? What will your responsibilities be?
  • Don’t compare your salary or comp expectations to that of other people!
  • Use salary benchmarks to help guide you – make sure to apply the above points and your own discretion to the numbers contained in a guide!

Maximize Your LinkedIn Page

Making sure your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of your resume is worthwhile time investment to make. Beyond making sure your job history and educational background are up to date, here are a few other details that we feel is worth taking care of:

  • Your Profile Photo – make sure your profile photo is up to date and representative of what you actually look like
  • Keywords! (again) – make sure your byline on LinkedIn contains keywords that reflect your specialism, industry and/or job title so people (and recruiters) can understand what you do straight away.
  • Your Activity List – don’t forget that visitors to your profile can read up on the comments, likes and posts that you engage with on LinkedIn. Make sure that you don’t engage in political or harmful content that could damage your credibility and/or reputation. Instead, try to engage with positive, industry specific content or key individuals!

For additional support with your job search, download our Career Advice booklet. From kick-starting your job search to acing your interview, here you will find a multitude of hints and tips to help you navigate the additive manufacturing job market.

Applying for Jobs

To register your resume with Alexander Daniels Global, you can sign up to our candidate portal here, where you can manage job applications and your candidate profile.

Alternatively you can apply to any of the jobs on our career portal. See a full list of our advertised jobs here.

Remember to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on hot jobs and other industry news and the ADG team.

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