Overview

Although this resume writing guide is titled for “Welders” it can also be used for Metal Workers, Fabricators, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers as there is quite a bit over overlap regarding how these resumes should be composed and the type of information they should contain.

Welders and Metal Workers use their hands and powered equipment to join, cut, fold, fuse and shape metal parts for a wide variety of industries and applications. This unique art is one where experience is highly valued and although educational background is important, a solid apprenticeship and on-the-job training are of equal, if not more value, given the high level of skill required of professionals.

To excel at fabricating and fixing metal components, these individuals need to have both an engineering mindset, and a deep knowledge of specialized tooling and an iron work ethic. From reading and modifying blueprints, schematics and specifications to inspecting existing structures and components to operating TIG welders, MIG welders, and various torches, Welders need to maintain both a high level of professionalism as well as a constant awareness for safety.

From construction equipment to manufacturing, the roles Welders find themselves in can vary greatly. From working in harsh remote locations to under the sea, Welders often specialize in one of the various aspects of their industry and become “Masters” of their craft. The ability to work in inclement weather conditions and spend long hours on their feet or in uncomfortable positions characterize a work environment that is both mentally and physically demanding.

Often the unsung heroes of many public and private works projects, Welders are literally the binding that holds together many of the transportation systems, buildings, and tools we use on a daily basis.

Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Welders in 2016 was just over $38,000/year, which is above the median for all other occupations combined which was just over $36,000/year. Salary aggregator website Payscale puts the median figure a little higher at just under $45,000/year. Discrepancies can be attributed to experience level of the worker, location, and whether or not they specialize in a particular industry or aspect of fabrication.

This industry is further broken down into multiple sub-industries all with different median salaries. These include:

  • Specialty trade contractors – $40,580/year
  • Repair and maintenance specialists – $38,260/year
  • Manufacturing – $37,070/year
  • Merchant wholesalers, durable goods – $36,380/year

There are a wide variety of specialists, such as oil rig welders, aircraft welders, underwater welders; all with greatly varying pay structures, depending on the skill level required and adversity of the working conditions.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, & Brazers Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$38,150 per year
$18.34 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNot required
On-the-job TrainingModerate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2016397,900
Job Outlook, 2014-2024+4%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+14,400
Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale

Pay can also vary greatly depending on if the worker is self-employed, works for a welding-specific shop, or works in-house for a larger manufacturing/production company. The ability to use CAD software and operate automated welding tools greatly increases a welder’s job outlook as well as salary level.

Industry Forecast

While Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers are expected to experience a +4% growth rate between 2014 and 2024, this is still slightly below the national average for all occupations combined which is +7%. Additionally, those with fewer “specializations” such as metal workers and plastic workers, are expected to experience a contraction of market growth at -5% between 2014 and 2024. This is largely due to increased automation of jobs that require less skill.

Thankfully, the skills obtained by qualified welders can easily transition across industries, so market contractions can be easily weathered if the worker is willing to transition careers. For example, a welder whose job at an automotive plant that was taken over by automation may be able to transition into ship building, heavy equipment repair, automotive customization and fabrication, or even working in such diverse industries as oil and gas.

Ultimately, a welder’s ability to adapt to his/her surroundings, learn new skills, and move locations to find work will greatly dictate their job prospects. The career is a relatively stable one, as well, given federal and state ongoing infrastructure investment, as these projects are usually quite large, can span huge areas, and usually require high numbers of experienced workers.

Types of Welders

There are many different subsets of welders that specialize in both processes and industries. While a Master Welder will have a wide variety of skills under his/her belt, other more entry level workers may choose to focus on just a few types of welding so they can more quickly, find employment, and begin building their careers.

There are various types of welding, including MIG welding, Arc welding, Gas welding and Tig welding. Outside of “types” of welding, workers can also categorize themselves by industry, for example automotive, oil & gas, construction, manufacturing, etc.

On top of the “type” and “industry” in which a Welder may operate, they should also include a title that reflects their seniority within the organization in which they work. This can include translate into titles such as Production Supervisor, Shop Foreman, Structural Metal Fabricator, Welding Inspector, or Master Fabricator. Depending on the industry, there may be dozens more specialized titles and these will largely depend on how a given organization’s management structure is built.

Sample Resume Download

Below is an example of a professionally written resume you can download, save, and doodle on to help when writing your own resume. Remember, this is just a sample, and your own resume should reflect skills, educational experiences and work experiences that are unique to you.

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How To Write Your Own

Writing your own resume may seem scary, but if you keep in mind it only needs to be one page long, and you can use a template to start off the process, it becomes much less scary. Below are a few more tips to keep in mind when crafting your own resume.

Communicate Clearly

Welders are most prized for their skill sets, and for this reason you will want to display these prominently throughout your resume. For each work experience you have, include the types of welding done, tools used and processes completed. You do not want to simply describe what was done, but how it was done.

By stating MIG, Tig, or Gas, you are communicating to the reader that you have the experience and background they are seeking. The best way to make sure you are communicating what the reader wants to see is to make sure your experience sections reflect the desired experiences listed in the job posting you are applying for. For example, if a job posting lists specific welding types or tools that they expect to you to use, make sure you mention these exact same tools on your own resume to look like a perfect match for the position.

Show Adaptability

In addition to clearly communicating you have the exact skills/knowledge being sought in the job description, you also want to show to a potential employer your adaptability as a professional. Workers who are unable to grow and add to their skill sets have very limited roles in companies. If their job function becomes redundant, they will most likely be let go. If you can show a continual effort to learn, grow, and take on more responsibilities, you will show to an employer that you are a long-term investment worth spending on as you can help grow their company in more than just one way.

This could simply be a progression of the types of welding you are experienced with, or an advancement from a Welder to a Foreman, which requires not just hard technical skills but also people/communication skills. Showing the ability to manage people makes you a much greater asset than someone who requires constant management and thus it increases your market value as a job applicant.

Stay Business-Minded

Remember the person first processing your resume is probably not a Welder. They are either a Human Resources specialist, a department manager or a company owner. These people, while they may have a basic understanding of welding fundamentals, will first and foremost think like a business person. For this reason, you will also want write your resume in a business-minded way.

Whenever possible, try to numerically quantify your achievements. This can include mentioning the size of budgets or projects you were responsible for in dollar terms, or how much under-budget you came in in percentage terms. Using numbers to communicate your achievements gives scope and helps a business-minded reader quickly grasp the gravity of what you did.

You also want to reassure other concerns that are at the forefront of a CEO’s mind, such as adhering to industry safety standards, such as those set out by OSHA; as well as proactively maintaining a clean and organized, and thus safe work environment. You can even quantify your “safety” by mentioning the number of years you worked without an accident. While you may not care much about a trip to the doctors, seeing an adaptable worker with a spotless safety record is a huge bonus to HR and management who themselves must be concerned with insurance and compensation policies.

Think Professional

While you may find writing a resume a bit pedantic as there really is no “hands-on” aspect like welding, it is critical to put yourself in the position of a businessman or woman and compose a resume that is descriptive, well-worded, and free of any grammar mistakes. You will also want to make sure your resume adheres to official formatting specifications, uses a conservative font and a reasonable font size. Perfecting the form of your document is not only expected, it will also reflect your ability to focus on detail and will put you ahead of competition that does not take the time to properly proofread or format their resumes, which can literally make all the difference between two similarly-qualified individuals.

Sample Bullet Points

Below is a selection of sample bullet points you can use for inspiration when composing your own resume. These bullet points were selected specifically for welding-oriented professionals and reflect some of the skills and abilities sought by employers in this industry.

Sample Welder Bullet Points

Task
Weld components in flat, vertical, or overhead positions.
Operate safety equipment and use safe work habits.
Lay out, position, align, and secure parts and assemblies prior to assembly, using straightedges, combination squares, calipers, and rulers.
Examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with specifications.
Recognize, set up, and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.
Weld separately or in combination, using aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and other alloys.
Clamp, hold, tack-weld, heat-bend, grind or bolt component parts to obtain required configurations and positions for welding.
Select and install torches, torch tips, filler rods, and flux, according to welding chart specifications or types and thicknesses of metals.
Ignite torches or start power supplies and strike arcs by touching electrodes to metals being welded, completing electrical circuits.
Connect and turn regulator valves to activate and adjust gas flow and pressure so that desired flames are obtained.
Determine required equipment and welding methods, applying knowledge of metallurgy, geometry, and welding techniques.
Monitor the fitting, burning, and welding processes to avoid overheating of parts or warping, shrinking, distortion, or expansion of material.
Operate manual or semi-automatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments, using processes such as gas tungsten arc, gas metal arc, flux-cored arc, plasma arc, shielded metal arc, resistance welding, and submerged arc welding.
Analyze engineering drawings, blueprints, specifications, sketches, work orders, and material safety data sheets to plan layout, assembly, and welding operations.
Mark or tag material with proper job number, piece marks, and other identifying marks as required.
Chip or grind off excess weld, slag, or spatter, using hand scrapers or power chippers, portable grinders, or arc-cutting equipment.
Remove rough spots from workpieces, using portable grinders, hand files, or scrapers.
Prepare all material surfaces to be welded, ensuring that there is no loose or thick scale, slag, rust, moisture, grease, or other foreign matter.
Preheat workpieces prior to welding or bending, using torches or heating furnaces.
Develop templates and models for welding projects, using mathematical calculations based on blueprint information.
Position and secure workpieces, using hoists, cranes, wire, and banding machines or hand tools.
Guide and direct flames or electrodes on or across workpieces to straighten, bend, melt, or build up metal.
Detect faulty operation of equipment or defective materials and notify supervisors.
Clean or degrease parts, using wire brushes, portable grinders, or chemical baths.
Cut, contour, and bevel metal plates and structural shapes to dimensions as specified by blueprints, layouts, work orders, and templates, using powered saws, hand shears, or chipping knives.
Repair products by dismantling, straightening, reshaping, and reassembling parts, using cutting torches, straightening presses, and hand tools.
Fill holes, and increase the size of metal parts.
Check grooves, angles, or gap allowances, using micrometers, calipers, and precision measuring instruments.
Operate metal shaping, straightening, and bending machines, such as brakes and shears.
Set up and use ladders and scaffolding as necessary to complete work.
Hammer out bulges or bends in metal workpieces.
Dismantle metal assemblies or cut scrap metal, using thermal-cutting equipment such as flame-cutting torches or plasma-arc equipment.
Signal crane operators to move large workpieces.
Use fire suppression methods in industrial emergencies.
Estimate materials needed for production and manufacturing and maintain required stocks of materials.
Join parts such as beams and steel reinforcing rods in buildings, bridges, and highways, bolting and riveting as necessary.
Gouge metals, using the air-arc gouging process.
Mix and apply protective coatings to products.
Operate brazing and soldering equipment.
Melt lead bars, wire, or scrap to add lead to joints or to extrude melted scrap into reusable form.

Career Objective Writing

A career objective is simply a 1-2 sentence long introduction to your resume where you state your years of experience, your speciality (if you have one), and the position and company you are applying to. Do not go past 2 sentences or include irrelevant information here; this section is supposed to be short and simply communicate to the reader that they indeed have an appropriately qualified candidate.

An example Welder career objective might look like:

Welder with 12+ years of experience in Mig, Tig and Gas welding applications in various heavy equipment industries seeking a challenging role as Welder Foreman for Smith & Smith Construction Co.

As you can see, there is nothing fancy going on in the above objective; it simply communicates experience level, skills, and the position desired.

More senior level candidates can use a professional summary instead of a career objective. The only difference is the professional summary can be a bit longer, usually 3-4 sentences, and can include 4-6 “key” bullet points that express skills only senior level applicants will have.

Generally speaking, applicants with 15 years or less of experience will want to stick to the shorter “career objective”, while those with 15+ years of experience can consider expanding the section a bit in the form of a professional summary.

Additional Skills & Certifications

Use the additional skills section to add a little variety to your resume and feature your diverse skill-set or industry knowledge. For example, including the ability to read and interpret engineering schematics and blueprints is one type of industry knowledge that is highly prized.

Also, stating unique metal working tools or pieces of equipment like metal rollers, riveting, cutting tools and heat treatment processes can also add a unique aspect to your resume that may help you stand out from other applicants.

Always mention safety knowledge, from working understanding of OSHA laws and regulations to things like basic first aid and CPR abilities, which will not only communicate that you are a proactive worker, but also a safe one, which is a big plus for any company looking to hire.

Mentioning knowledge of things like ISO9001 or other regulatory standards will also be valuable and worth mentioning in addition to specific industry knowledge.

Include professional affiliations you may have such as being a member of the American Welding Society or other regional professional groups or unions. For a full list of various welding certifications you can visit the full list of AWS recognized certifications and classes below:

Finally, in an ever increasingly digitalized world, listing any software knowledge you have from Microsoft Excel to Auto CAD and other modeling tools will be greatly beneficial in showing your ability to grow with a company.

Useful Skills to Include

In addition to the above mentioned industry-specific skills you can consider choosing from some of the “soft” skills that are also prized amongst employers in this industry from the selection below:

Useful Welder Skills

SkillSkill Description
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Systems AnalysisDetermining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.

Additional Resources

American Welding Society – http://www.aws.org/

Miller Welders Resource Center – https://www.millerwelds.com/resources

Do you need a welding certification?

Interview with World Welding Competitor Andrew Cardin