Machine Operator Skills (With Definition And Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Machine operators are professionals who operate, control and maintain sophisticated equipment and machines used for the manufacturing of various equipment and products. They work in a variety of settings, operating machines for companies, individuals, factories and government. If you are looking for a career as a machine operator, it can be beneficial to understand the various skills that machine operators possess and how you may improve these skills to enhance your professional abilities.

In this article, we discuss the definition of machine operator skills, list five essential skills, share steps to help you improve your skills and explore how you may highlight them effectively.

Related: What Does A CNC Operator Do? Career, Skills And Salary

What Are Machine Operator Skills?

Machine operator skills are those important strengths and abilities that may help you in performing well in your job as a machine operator. These skills include both technical skills, which you may develop through training and education, and soft skills, which you may work upon by yourself throughout your career. When you highlight these skills on your resume, it shows the hiring managers you are a suitable candidate for the position and improves your chances of getting shortlisted.

Related: What Does A Machine Operator Do? (Duties And Salary)

Important Skills For Machine Operators

Below are a few important skills you may include in your resume if you are applying as a machine operator:

Mechanical skills

It is important to have a basic understanding of how machines operate and other mechanical concepts to be successful as a machine operator. This helps them in using machines in an optimum manner and thus avoiding common issues that are caused by incorrect usage. These skills also help the operators in identifying the causes of any errors or issues that may occur and finding workable solutions for them.

Time management

Time management skills are important for prioritising tasks and ensuring that you complete important projects before their due dates. These skills help in improving efficiency and optimising production. As a machine operator, you may manage many types of equipment at the same time via computer programs, monitor the schedules for their maintenance and also control them manually. This makes time management essential for machine operators and a common skill that employers seek when hiring for this position.

Attention to detail

Giving attention to detail is very important for machine operators because they monitor machines for their proper functioning and safety. Machine operators work on inspecting the machines and their surroundings and checking for any potential safety risks. Attention to detail helps them in noticing even the most minor risk indicators, such as an unplugged wire or a small puddle of water. Strong attention to detail may also help in improving your team's safety and the functioning of the various machines.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume (With Examples)

Physical fitness

The work of a machine operator usually requires that they are on their feet for substantially longer periods, even for the entire day. They may perform physical activities like walking, standing, lifting heavy objects and kneeling. The machines they work on can also require physical strength in some industries. This makes having proper physical fitness very important to work as a machine operator.


As a machine operator, you may work in teams comprising other professionals. In such situations, communication becomes very important as it allows the operators to function well with others, ensuring high efficiency and safety. For instance, if you notice a potential hazard in a machine or sense something may be wrong, you can communicate this effectively to your team members and can help avoid any unwanted incidents or accidents.

Related: A Guide To The 7 C's Of Communication

How To Improve Your Skills As A Machine Operator?

Here are a few steps you may follow to improve your skills and become a better machine operator:

1. Earn certifications

Certifications can be helpful for improving your skills and knowledge as a machine operator. There are different certifications available that you may opt for per the industry in which you work. These certifications may help you in improving your performance and enhancing your skill sets and may also assist you in increasing your salary.

2. Gain machinery experience

It is important that you gain machinery experience before you may begin your career as a machine operator. You can get such experience by attending trade schools or signing up for various training programmes. These may help you in developing the knowledge required to be a successful machine operator.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition, Types And Examples

3. Do specialisations

Besides getting the basic certifications, you may opt for specialisations in different machines and techniques. Specialising in areas such as workplace safety or breakdown maintenance may help you grow your skills as a machine operator. Specialisations may also help you be eligible for better job prospects.

4. Stay up to date

As technology continues to advance, new techniques and machines keep emerging in this field. This makes it very important that you keep yourself updated with the latest trends to remain relevant in the industry. Continuous education, renewing your certifications regularly and research may help you in making sure that your skills stay relevant to the growing requirements of this industry.

Skills Of A Machine Operator In The Workplace

You may use the below tips to help you maximise your skills as a machine operator in the workplace:

  • Be receptive to feedback. Being receptive to feedback from your supervisors, employers and colleagues is very important. They may give you advice that you can use to improve your overall performance in your job.

  • Ask questions. When you are learning to operate a new machine, it is advisable to ask questions about the proper methods and practices. Other staff members may give you advice that can be helpful for you in mastering the nuances of the machine quickly and improving the quality of your performance.

  • Volunteer for work. If you find any work that is available and not a part of your regular duties in the company in which you work, but in which you have a certification or possess the skills, you can volunteer for such work. This can help you gain exposure to new situations that can help you be more versatile as a machine operator.

Ways To Highlight These Skills

Here are a few ways you can communicate your skills to the hiring managers when applying for a machine operator role:

In resumes

When you include your machine operator skills in your resume, it is important that you make a few important considerations. Make sure that your resume is suitable for the various applicant tracking software tools that many companies may use to shortlist eligible applications. You may do this by including a skills section in your resume that matches the job description for the role. Make sure your technical skills section exactly matches the requirements in the job description.

Related: Objective For A Machine Operator Resume (With 7 Examples)

Include your achievements from your past jobs that show how the skills you mentioned helped you to perform well at your job. You may use action verbs to highlight your achievements in your resume. Highlighting your skills and how they have helped you previously in the work experience, professional summary and the skills sections may help you impress the hiring managers with your application.

Related: 14 Effective Tips To Improve Your Resume Writing Skills

In cover letters

In cover letters, you can detail your skills, qualifications and professional achievements more elaborately. Cover letters help the recruiting managers assess how you can contribute to the role and benefit the company after getting hired. This makes it important that you include information that can help you show you can be efficient working with the machinery of the company which you are applying for specifically.

Related: How To Format A Cover Letter (With Example)

During interviews

A job interview offers you a more personalised opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and skills to potential employers. It is helpful to arrive for an interview prepared to discuss how your abilities and skills fit the organisation's requirements. Before coming for the interview, it is advisable to think of specific examples that show how your experience and achievements make you suitable for the role. These examples may help the interviewers in understanding your potential as a machine operator.

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