How to Get a Well Paying Job Right Out of High School

Feb 3, 2015

Some of the best paying jobs in Western North Carolina today are in manufacturing. You don’t need to have factory experience or a 4-year degree to begin a career in manufacturing. Many entry-level factory jobs are open to anyone over the age of 18 who has good character references and a high school diploma or GED. Here are a few suggestions for things you can do while you are still in high school to increase your chances of getting hired into a good job once you graduate.

Build a List of Good References

You should never list family members, friends, or people you know casually but have never worked with as references on a resume or job application. Think of other people in your life that have seen you demonstrate the qualities that would make you a good employee. Here are a few suggestions for people who would make excellent references:

  • Teachers. A shop or vocational teacher would be the perfect reference for a manufacturing job, though other types of teachers will be helpful too. Building good relationships with teachers shows you are able to learn and be responsible in a structured environment.
  • Sports coaches. Participating in school sports shows that you are willing to work hard, put in an effort, and dedicate yourself to a team.
  • Volunteer supervisors. If you have any volunteer experience, make sure to put that on your resume. Donating your time and talents to local groups that serve your community demonstrates responsibility. A good relationship with your volunteer supervisor shows that you were committed to the task.
  • Work supervisors. At the very beginning of your career, any type of work experience will be helpful on your resume, even if it not manufacturing work. Building a good relationship with a work supervisor shows you were dependable and hard working.

Take Technical Vocational Classes

You do not have to go to a vocational school to get a good job in a factory, though you will be eligible for better jobs if you can put that on your resume. Higher skilled workers are typically able to get higher paying jobs. If you can list that you took an introduction to machining class, or any other industrial and technical skills class—you will stand out among the other candidates for those types of jobs, even if you have no job experience.

Here in Western North Carolina, there are plenty of opportunities for high school students to begin learning the skills necessary to succeed in manufacturing. At both AB-Tech and Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), high school juniors and seniors can begin one of the Career and Technical Education Pathways through the Career and College Promise program.

In the BRCC Career and Technical Education Pathways program high school students can earn a certificates in several programs that can lead to great jobs in manufacturing including:

  • Computer-Integrated Machining
  • Electronics Engineering Technology
  • Mechatronics Engineering Technology
  • Welding Technology

High schoolers who participate in the AB-Tech Career-Technical Pathways program—can earn a:

  • Machining Technologies Diploma
  • Basic Welding Certificate
  • Industrial Maintenance Certificate

You will not only develop skills that will help you be more successful by earning these certificates, you will also demonstrate to potential employers that you have drive and ambition. And eligible students do not have to pay tuition to participate in these programs.

Get Good Advice

Find mentors who can help you figure out the best career pathway for you. Teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors can answer many of your questions. If possible, try to talk to people who work in manufacturing or who have experience in the industry. At Friday Services we have been helping workers at all stages of their careers find work in manufacturing right here in Western North Carolina. Our list of local job opportunities can show you some of the positions that local manufacturers are hiring for. Read the job descriptions carefully to see what kinds of skills are required to succeed in those jobs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. It is never too early to begin thinking about the kind of job you want, and the practical steps you will need to take to get hired.


If you see a lot of potential in yourself – so do we! Start your job search and learn about the opportunities and benefits offered.


Friday Services is independent and locally owned. We offer Western North Carolina employers strategic flexibility with greater attention to detail.