How can you prepare to transition into the semiconductor industry?

With higher rates of pay on average, and opportunities to progress your career – joining the constantly growing industry of semiconductor manufacturing yields long-term gains for you and your professional development. But how do you get started?

Lauren Percy · 26 Mar 2019

Looking to change careers and join the semiconductor industry? Where do you start?

You’ve made the decision to move out of your area of expertise and seek opportunities in a different industry. Whether it’s down to a lack of progression in your current field, the fact that you’re dissatisfied with your job, or a change in your life that has led to a restructure of your priorities – changing direction can seem a daunting task.

Not to mention the doubt that comes with competing against other candidates with previous experience and wondering if applying for a semiconductor job is really worth your time… it’s certainly no walk in the park.

But with higher rates of pay on average, and opportunities to progress your career – joining the constantly growing industry of semiconductor manufacturing yields long-term gains for you and your professional development.

Positioning yourself as an attractive candidate can help you reap these rewards. But where do you start? We’ve put together a few points to help you get started with your career transition.


1. Identify your transferable skills

While higher-level roles require specific tool knowledge and experience, many skills you have already earned in previous positions transfer to roles with a more general scope of work. If it’s a start in the semiconductor industry you’re looking for – you may be surprised by the sort of experience that can get you noticed.

Many of our clients who advertise entry-level and mid-level positions look for transferable skills from a variety of technical careers and industries. Aircraft and automotive maintenance, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance, biomedical technology engineering, and construction experience are all valuable when it comes to job seeking in the technology manufacturing world. We have even worked with clients to attract and transfer food service employees from kitchens to cleanrooms! Examine your work history to see where your mechanical and technical experience crops up in previous roles.

When it comes to applying for semiconductor jobs, the most important candidate characteristics are; a mechanical aptitude, technical knowledge, and effective communication. These top skills are highly desired from the hiring managers in every semiconductor manufacturing company.


Are you hands-on with hand and power tools? A handy know-how of all things DIY and troubleshooting makes your knowledge valuable and easily transferable.

You can leverage your diploma in mechanical engineering or make the most out of your HVAC certification. From automotive maintenance training to plumbing and electrical accreditation, you can apply your learned technical knowledge to roles within the semiconductor industry.

If you have impeccable written and verbal communication skills and know your way around technical blueprints and documentation, you'll be right at home in many entry-level manufacturing positions.

Take a look at your work history and consider the experience you already have. Highlight your mechanical and technical experience on your resume to help you stand out. For a brief guide of updating your resume, check out 4 Tips for a Successful Resume.


2. Connect with the current workforce

Join semiconductor job groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to involve yourself in industry news, job alerts, and discussions. Who would know better about what it’s like to work in the semiconductor industry than someone who works or has worked in the semiconductor industry? Participating in discussion groups also provides accessible access to industry experts and helps you get a sense of what to expect – while offering a platform for you to ask specific questions and connect with savvy pundits.

Plus, connecting with industry professionals who are in-the-know about upcoming jobs can put you in the hiring spotlight and refer you for suitable positions.


3. Enlist the help of a staffing service

Working with a staffing agency or recruitment company can make it easier to get your foot-in-the-door at manufacturing facilities that may not otherwise consider hiring you directly.

Many agencies will hold exclusive contracts for high-volume hiring or specialist positions, meaning they’ll have access to positions you won’t find on job boards and can negotiate placements for people who aren’t an exact match for the job specifications.

Additionally, the recruiters at staffing agencies are personally invested in your success and if you apply to a job in their caseload, they will be able to offer career advice and insights into your career change.


4. Train-up while you’re on the job

Getting your foot-in-the-door is always the most difficult part of transferring to a new industry.  Once you’re in, you’re in – but how can you maximize the opportunities presented to you?

Some positions include a training period at the start of a project and others continue training all through the assignment. These training opportunities are a chance for you to earn while you learn – ensuring that when the contract comes to an end, you’re well-equipped to continue your career on another assignment. Take advantage of learning opportunities by volunteering to take part in up-skilling initiatives.


5. Get inspired

At Retronix Semiconductor, we help candidates transfer out of their industry of expertise and find roles that allow them to develop their skills in semiconductor manufacturing. Over 70% of our candidates have no prior semiconductor industry experience and we’re proud to work with people who are invested in making a change in their careers. Here are just a few of our favorite success stories:


Mark Adams
Mark has a background in construction and door-to-door sales. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and joined us without any prior semiconductor experience. What Mark does have, however, is an enthusiastic approach to work and a strong willingness to learn.

Within a few months of working with us, Mark was promoted from an entry-level position to a mid-level Training Coordinator and is now considered one of the most successful members of the PGV team.

Jamie Curran
An experienced landscaper, Jamie joined the team fresh to the semiconductor industry. After struggling to get placed in his chosen field of work, he decided to change career pathways and became a valued addition to the PGV team.

After 4 weeks on the job, Jamie’s eager attitude and collaborative nature earned him a promotion and pay rise.

Darrell Spencer
Darrell sought a new opportunity after finishing a 20-year career in the defense and medical electronics industry. With strong programming experience and previous work history in a lab setting – Darrell was well suited to transfer into the semiconductor industry.

After joining the Retronix Semiconductor IQ Technician team, he was promoted to a lead role within 2 short months.

If you're looking for advice on transitioning into the semiconductor manufacturing industry, feel free to get in touch with our friendly recruitment team who can guide you to a rewarding position in semiconductors.

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With higher rates of pay on average, and opportunities to progress your career – joining the constantly growing industry of semiconductor manufacturing yields long-term gains for you and your professional development. But how do you get started?
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