Skills you’ll need to advance as a material moving worker

6

When applying for any new job, it’s important to think about your
potential career trajectory at that company or in that industry. For those
currently working as
material movers
— or
anyone considering applying to
jobs in that field — there are
skills you can master and put on your resume to help you secure future
promotions.

Skills You'll Need to Advance as a Material Moving Worker

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that material moving worker jobs are
projected to grow by about 5 percent between
the years 2014 and 2024. However, the BLS also notes that jobs requiring hand
packing will decline as more and more
warehouses move to automation. On
the other hand, this rise in automated moving means that there will a greater need for workers who are knowledgeable about those technologies.

Entry-level skills

Basic skills for material moving workers with no prior experience are
palletizing and unloading. Palletizing involves monitoring automated machinery
and making sure that materials are loaded properly into those machines. Workers
need to be alert and communicative, especially if there are problems that need
immediate attention. On the other hand, unloading requires organization,
efficiency, and the ability to prioritize tasks — not to mention a
certain level of physical strength and stamina, since you could be carrying
heavy loads throughout the course of a workday.

If you’re applying to material moving positions, unloading and palletizing
are two skills you’ll absolutely need, but they’re also important to keep in
mind if you’re already employed. The
organizational and communication skills
will also be helpful to include on your resume as you look toward potential
promotions at work.

Want a promotion? Drive a forklift

If you’ve been a material moving worker for a while and are starting to tire
of palletizing and unloading — or you just want more of a challenge or
additional responsibilities — consider learning how to operate a forklift,
which will make you eligible for
warehouse driver jobs. Almost all forklift driver positions require some training, since
you’ll be operating pretty specialized equipment: you’ll need to
learn safety standards (as dictated by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and
become certified as a forklift driver. Furthermore, although many of the
operational techniques are similar,
high-reach forklifts require
additional training — but that may be worth it in the long run, especially
if you work in a larger warehouse that stacks goods.

Next step: managing and supervising

Forklift operation and experience may be a concise qualification to put on
your resume, but it also shows that you’ve invested in your industry enough to
deserve additional responsibilities — not to mention it will assure
employers that you know and abide by necessary safety procedures. But if you’re
already a forklift driver, your eye might be on the next step:
warehouse supervisor. Warehouse managers and
supervisors are in charge of
delegating tasks to teams of movers, drivers,
and other workers. They
ensure safety and quality protocols are being
followed and address any problems that arise in addition to liaising with
corporate offices.

Supervising isn’t just about overseeing, though, and you’ll need to do more
than just give orders. Experience unloading, palletizing, and operating
forklifts will inform your decisions during the
recruiting and hiring
process and when you’re training new employees. Workers are more likely to
trust a manager who has experience doing what they do.

If you want to be promoted to a supervisory role, your resume will need to
detail your professional growth throughout your career and highlight relevant
skills that make you a strong candidate. That’s good advice at any stage,
whether you’re applying to entry level positions in warehouses or looking to
land a managerial position.

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