Are you a Computer Numerically Controlled machine operator?

You know very well the importance of your job. Many other people outside the manufacturing industry don’t.

But at least manufacturers do. And that’s okay since they’re the ones who can hire you. That said, how easy is it to get hired as a CNC Machinist?

You might have heard that the manufacturing industry is in trouble because of the mass retirement of baby boomers. One of the reasons given is that many young people don’t want to do factory jobs.

They say that factory jobs are boring and dirty. They want technology-based jobs. And with IT leading in terms of job creation, manufacturing seems to have lost its allure.

But factories have embraced technology. In fact, your occupation is proof of that.

A problem however exists when you start thinking about technology in the manufacturing world.

Technology powers automation and automation has been shown to reduce the number of available jobs.

For example, where many machinists would be required for the manufacturing of one vehicle, now robots are doing most of the work.


Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of jobs in your career is reducing. Their projection of CNC machinist job growth over the 2018 – 2028 decade is 3%.

This is lower than the average for all occupations in the US economy.

For machinists working as tool and die makers, the projected growth over the same decade is 1%. But for those specializing only in tool and die making, the future seems bleak.

Their jobs are expected to reduce by 6%.

This should not scare you or make you regret your career choice. Instead, it should motivate you to challenge yourself and work towards having a successful career.

The competition is stiff. But if you are an optimist—which is what we hope you are—then you’ll recognize the opportunity to shine.

There’s need for you to put in the effort if you’re to stand a chance. In any case, the truth is that you’ll really need to prove yourself suitable for the job.

In this article, we want to help you secure that job. We’ll do that by showing you how to go past the first obstacle in your job hunting process—the resume.

But before getting to the resume, here are some helpful numbers regarding salaries.

CNC Machinist salaries

Have you asked yourself how much you’re worth as a CNC machinist?

It’s always important to familiarize yourself with the issue of salaries because you’ll be expected to discuss it. Salary discussions are usually among the last things to be handled in the interview process.

If you are to negotiate your salary well, then you need to know what the industry normally pays.

As much as this career seems to be attracting less interest, at least you can have a decent pay from it. The word “decent” here is relative. Obviously, it dependent on your needs.

At the lowest level, you can expect a salary of around $25,000 while on the higher end, you can get a pay of around  $57,000.

On average, the pay stands at $43,098. This is according to 2020 data from ZipRecruiter.

Source: ZipRecruiter

In case you’re interested in knowing how much you could earn per hour, we got you covered.

We have data from some of America’s manufacturers showing how much they pay per hour. You can use these numbers to calculate how much you could make in a day, week, month or even year.

Here are the numbers.

Source: PayScale

For example, working at Acutec will mean earning $16 per hour. With an average of 40 hours per week, that comes to $640. In a month, that translates to $2,560 and in a year, $30,720.

On the other hand, working at GKN Aerospace will guarantee you $25  every hour. Per week, this comes to $1,000 and per month, it’s $4,000. Calculated annually, this comes to $48,000.

Note that these calculations only factor in work done during weekdays. In reality though, you’ll likely work some hours over the weekend. Your pay will therefore be higher than this.

Moreover, your education and work experience will play a big role in determining your total pay.


Enough of the salary and job growth talk. It’s time to look at the resume. You need to get hired in order to work and get the money. This is where the challenge lies.

How do you overcome the resume challenge?

True, writing a resume for a CNC machinist job isn’t the easiest thing to do. But with our expertise on hiring matters, we’ll help you get it done.

We’ll also give you two sample resumes to show you how the advice we’ve shared in this article can be applied. These are at the end of the article.

But first, let’s go through the resume sections.

Generally, there are five sections that must be present in your resume. Failing to have any one of these will mean the lacking of crucial information on your resume.

That is a quick way of telling the hiring manager that you don’t deserve the job.

Here are the five sections and the advice on how best to write them.

Personal information

The first thing your resume should clearly communicate is your identity and contact information. Without these, your resume is headed nowhere.

Note that your name does not include any nick names or fancy name contractions. You should write your official name as it appears on official government documents.

With your name well written, next comes your contact details. You need to provide your physical and email addresses, mobile number as well as your LinkedIn profile link.

If you don’t normally pay attention to your social media profiles, this would be a good time to do that. Although recruiters and hiring managers often check out social media profiles, LinkedIn is always first in the priority list.

Being a professional networking platform, it’s expected that it will tell something about your professional life. As such, it’s necessary to create a great LinkedIn profile.

You can also take this opportunity to clean up your Facebook profile. In case it’s checked, it shouldn’t paint you in bad light.

One not-so-obvious mistake you could make is in writing an unprofessional email address. Your email address should be made of your official name and probably some numbers.

Below are examples of how to write your email.

Unprofessional email address

Professional email address


Summary / Objective

Next comes your summary or career objective.

As a CNC machine operator, your professional summary or career objective must make the hiring manager feel that she has the right candidate.

This section of your resume comes right next to your personal information for a good reason. It’s often the only thing the hiring manager will look at in case yours is an average resume.

First of all, understand the difference between these two as the summary and objective are not the same.

Professional summary

If you are an experienced CNC machinist, then the summary is your weapon of choice. The many years, or maybe months which you have worked will give you a real advantage. Often, you stand a better chance than the machinist without prior work experience.

But that doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically get hired. You still have to convince the hiring manager of your suitability. Write this like everyone else and the call for an interview will never come.

The average machinist will usually highlight a few tasks and responsibilities from their previous jobs. He will reason that this will show how much he has done and can do for the company.


If you want to show how much you can do for your potential employer, list your accomplishments. These are hard facts which cannot be disputed. And to make it even more convincing, use numbers.

Using numbers shows the amount of change you brought about in your previous or current job. Here is how not to right your summary and the best way to write it.

Ineffective professional summary

Experienced CNC machinist with great programming and troubleshooting skills. Worked to deliver products within stipulated timelines while observing operational protocols. Able to work with both metal and plastic cutting machines.

Effective professional summary

CNC machinist with 10+ years experience. Implemented lean manufacturing and cut processing costs by 55% while increasing output by 30%. Skilled in troubleshooting and maintaining CNC machines and programming with G-code.


Career objective

What if you haven’t been employed as a CNC machinist yet?

There is always a first time in everything so don’t let this discourage you. The option for you is the career objective.

This is meant to tell the hiring manager that you have the relevant education and some accompanying skills which the company will find valuable.

Note that this is not the time to parade your skills. You need to show what you can do without necessarily listing your skills.

In the past, job candidates would use the objective to tell the hiring manager what they intend to gain from the employment. This quickly gave career objectives a negative reputation as far as business interests were concerned.

But you’re smart enough to know that the employer wants to know what you’ll do for the company. So, follow the same advice the experienced machinist is following.

Use numbers.

Although you have no past record to boast about, you can still attach meaningful numbers in your objective. An example of how to do this would be to mention any relevant past achievement.

This will paint a picture of your abilities. Also note that the objective should ideally highlight something written in your work experience section.

It’s therefore wise to write your summary or objective last.

Check out the below examples of a career objective.

Ineffective career objective

Seeking a challenging position as a CNC machinist to use special skills and knowledge of manufacturing to deliver precision tools. Able to work with others to deliver results quickly and save time.

Effective career objective

Proven record of using SMED to reduce manufacturing lead times by 25%. Looking to add value to Mackinsons Metal Works through accurate blueprint reading and efficient CNC programming. Skilled in lathes, mills and grinders.


Work experience

And now to the one section every first-time CNC machinist dreads.

What do you write when you’re looking for your fist job?

The good thing with being a machinist is that you actually learn on the job. As much as this is part of your education, you’ll actually be working.

Therefore, strictly speaking, as long as you are a CNC machinist, you have some work experience. Whether you call it internship or on the job training, you have some experience working as a CNC machinist.

Apart from that, this section provides you with an opportunity to list past records of doing any work relevant to the job you’re applying for. As long as you have worked somewhere and learned something, you have valuable experience to talk about.

The issue is how you present that experience in your resume.

Some of the sources of work experience include:

  • School projects
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Freelance work

These are all options available for you to gather some work experience. And as mentioned in the above section, focus on writing your achievements. These are what tell your potential employer what value you can bring on board.

On the other hand, if you’ve worked for some time, then you have a lot to talk about. Just list the best of what you achieved and got recognized for.

Remember that it has to be measurable.

Ineffective work experience

CNC Machinist
Master Cut Tools, Denver, Colorado
2015 – Present

  • Check finished work for conformance to client specifications
  • Monitor and adjust machine feed and speed to ensure precision and quality results
  • Program CNC machines for custom instructions to address operational challenges
  • Maintain machines by checking lubrication and testing performance before machine use

Effective work experience

CNC Machinist
Master Cut Tools, Denver, Colorado
2015 – Present

  • Ensured accurate blueprint interpretation and machine setup thus reducing job repetitions by 35%
  • Monitored and adjusted machine feed and speed to guarantee precision and quality results which improved customer satisfaction by 10%
  • Programmed CNC machines with custom instructions to address operational challenges
  • Developed a machine maintenance schedule to improve performance



Although the entry requirements for your occupation aren’t high, you should not ignore the role education plays.

With a growth rate which is lower than average for all occupations, it’s important to have more education than others. This will help in making you more valuable.

Since you’re dealing with computers, measuring and cutting equipment, programming and the like, you should seek to increase your skill level in these areas.

If you have advanced technical knowledge in these, then you’ll stand a better chance.

And if you’ve studied several courses or skills, then list those in the reverse chronological order.

This is where you start with the most recent CNC machine-related studies going back the years. This format is preferred because in most cases, the most recent coursework is the most relevant.

If you’re looking to capitalize on your work experience, then listing your education background doesn’t have to be fancy. But if you don’t have much experience, then you can play around with the presentation of your academic qualification.

Use this section to remind the hiring manager that despite your lack of much work experience, you have the educational background to cover for it. Here is how to do it.

Ineffective education information

Associate degree in Machine Tool Technology
Bakersfield College
2012 – 2014

Effective education information

Associate degree in Machine Tool Technology
Bakersfield College
2012 – 2014
Relevant coursework

  • CAM Systems programming
  • Blueprint reading and interpretation
  • Manual lathe operation
  • SMED



The skills section in your resume is a unique one.

If you have special skills or some which no other applicant has, that could increase your chances dramatically. You could be considered for the job instead of the machinist with more work experience.

Yes, some skills might be gained through work experience and some through education. This is especially the case for hard skills required for handling CNC machines. But still, some natural abilities can go a long way in making you a valuable employee.

Since how you present the information also plays a role, pick one of our resume templates to help you showcase your skills better.

Here is a list of skills you can use while writing your resume. In case you don’t have any of these, consider acquiring them first to avoid lying in your resume.

  • Blueprint reading
  • Manual lathe operation
  • Milling and grinding
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerance
  • Manual dexterity and accuracy
  • Modeling and simulation
  • CNC Programming
  • CAD/CAM software
  • SMED
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Quality control
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal skills
Pro Tip
Pro tip:

Do not just list the skills you have. Go through the job post to find out which specific skills the employer is looking for. Then tailor your accomplishments (work experience) to show that you truly have those skills.


Now that you’ve seen how to write your CNC machinist resume, here are two resume samples. These show what your resume would look like if you applied the advice we’ve given.

As you have seen with the examples provided though out the resume sections discussed above, these samples are definitely impressive.

The first is a sample resume of an entry-level CNC machinist. The other one is an experienced CNC machinist’s resume.

Check them out and get inspired to write your own.

Entry-level CNC machinist resume


Experienced CNC machinist resume



As a CNC machinist, manufacturers need you. And now that you’ve learned how to edge out the competition, apply for the job and wait for the interview call.

CNC Machinist Resume: Examples, Template, and Resume Tips

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