Important Job Skills for Welders

Welder using an oxy-acetylene cutting torch
••• Tristan Savatier / Getty Images

Did you ever wonder how intricate metal designs are created, or how metal can be bonded to withstand incredible weight on bridges and skyscrapers? Working reliably with metal requires expert welders. As the construction industry worldwide continues to boom, welders are in demand.

If you are interested in making welding a career, there are a number of skills to master.

What Kind of Skills Do You Need to be a Welder?

Welders study blueprints and calculate dimensions, and then use that information to join metal parts together. They often work in manufacturing and construction. Welders help to build everything from ships to cars to planes to parts of buildings and other structures.

While some welders get college degrees in their field, many just get certified. Technically, certifications are not required either, but adding a certification to your resume is recommended. Some of the best welders work as an apprentice first before launching their career.

If you're a welder looking for work, show employers you can offer what they need by highlighting the right skills throughout the job process.

Types of Welding Skills

Mathematical Skills

Since math skills help welders perform tasks more effectively, they can help job candidates stand out. You'll need to be able to calculate the dimensions to be welded, read blueprints, and interpret sketches. Math will also come in handy when you cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions.

  • Calculating Dimensions
  • Interpreting Sketches
  • Reading Blueprints
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Understanding 2-D and 3-D Diagrams

Attention to Detail

Good welders need to pay attention to details. For example, they should be able to evaluate equipment for purchase. They'll also need to clean grease or corrosion from parts and chip out holes, bubbles, and cracks prior to welding. They must perform work that requires minimal flaws. All of these tasks require attention to detail.

Moreover, welders often work in somewhat dangerous environments. They, therefore, need to keep their workspace clean and safe.

  • Maintaining Work Areas
  • Cutting and Trimming Metal Objects to Dimensions
  • Detecting Changes in Molten Metal Flows
  • Following Directions
  • Identifying Joints
  • Part and Material Inspection
  • Adherence to Safety Standards

Physical Abilities

Your physical abilities can help make you more attractive to employers. Specifically, you'll need to be able to lift, bend, twist, and stoop to put together or dismantle large objects such as automobiles and aircraft. You’ll also need steady hands and grip to hold a torch in place for long periods of time.

  • Physical Endurance
  • Depth Perception
  • Close Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Lifting Considerable Weight
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Steady Hands
  • Working in Adverse Conditions

Administrative

Welding is a physical job, but administrative tasks are part of the profession as well. Welders need to be able to document their work, have good organizational skills, and maintain inventory, ordering more supplies when necessary. Welders also need to be able to plan and manage projects. This might involve working alone or working effectively with a team.

  • Documenting Work
  • Inventorying Supplies
  • Meeting Deadlines
  • Organizational
  • Planning Projects
  • Prioritizing
  • Reliability
  • Time Management
  • Teamwork
  • Verbal Communication
  • Working Independently

Technology and Tools

Welders should be able to clamp broken metal pieces together and melt and apply solder along adjoining edges of work pieces. They should also be able to monitor the quality of welds and components, repair leaks, and use grinders or other metal finishers. Moreover, welders should be able to set up fixtures and machine tools and test coils for air leaks.

In addition, welders should be able to use lifting and control devices, soldering irons, fillet and butt weld gauges, and hand tools. Welders should know how to operate a brazing torch, robotic welding equipment, and have proficiency with air carbon arc gouging.

Given that technology is constantly changing, it's important that welders learn the new technology necessary to help them effectively do their jobs.

  • Learning New Technologies
  • Brazing Torch
  • Robotic Welding Equipment
  • Fixtures
  • Setting Up Machine Tools
  • Grinders
  • Metal Finishers
  • Lifting and Control Devices
  • Fillet and Butt Weld Gauges
  • Hand Tools
  • Soldering Iron 

More Welding Skills

  • Analytical Skills
  • Compliance
  • Managing Work Orders
  • Assembling
  • Clamping
  • Heat Treating
  • Bonding
  • ERP Software
  • TCP Software
  • MS Excel
  • Precision
  • Visualization
  • Feeding Materials Through Equipment
  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • High Noise
  • Weld in Various Positions (Flat, Curved, Overhead, Vertical, etc.)
  • EZ Pipe
  • Design
  • Mechanical Skills
  • Project Management
  • Fabricate Metal Components
  • Oxy-fuel Welding
  • Arc Welding
  • Construction
  • Concentration
  • Customer Service
  • Metallurgy

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: In your resume, you can include relevant skill words in your resume summary or in your “Work History” section.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: In your cover letter, mention one or two skills that you have that are important to the job. For example, you might mention how you used your skills in blueprint reading to produce thousands of precisely made materials for an automobile manufacturing company.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: You can expand upon your skills in your interview as well. Provide anecdotes of times you have demonstrated some of the most important skills for the job.