Warehouse skills often consist of specific professional skills related to warehouse production, such as operating a forklift, being familiar with warehouse terminology and owning practical skills such as organization and physical stamina. Knowing what skills employers are looking for, as well as how to develop and highlight yours on a resume is important to obtaining your desired position. In this article, we discuss the essential warehouse skills you need to work in a warehouse, how to improve yours and highlight them on your resume.
What are warehouse skills?
Warehouse skills are mental and physical qualities that enable you to perform warehouse-related work at a high level of competence and professionalism. Some skills are technical and very specific to the job, such as operating heavy equipment and packing machinery. Other skills are more general, involving administrative and organizational skills that would be valuable in any workplace.
You will learn most warehouse skills on the job. Experience is often the best way to learn skills such as scheduling deliveries and shipments, monitoring supplies and keeping stocks organized. Since most people learn necessary skills via practical experience rather than formal education, warehouse workers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some enter the trade right out of high school, while others become warehouse workers after earning a college degree.
There are also warehouse skills that require training and education. Using specialized monitoring and record-keeping software often requires a bit of training. This is also the case with operating packing and sorting machinery, as well as the heavy equipment used in transporting and moving heavy boxes.
Related: What Does a Warehouse Worker Do?
Examples of warehouse skills
Warehouse skills may include technical skills that are specifically suited to warehouse work as well as soft skills that will be useful in a variety of other workplace settings. Here are some of the more common examples of warehouse skills:
- Effective communication: Warehouse jobs typically involve interacting with coworkers, employers and clients. It is necessary to have effective communication skills to facilitate the carrying out of tasks and preventing costly mistakes. This applies to written as well as verbal communication.
- Computer literacy/technological skills: Many warehouse employees work for years without ever going near a computer in the workplace. However, having computer and technological skills can increase your chances of getting hired for a more technical position and getting promoted. In particular, it would be helpful to learn database management, supplies procurement, scheduling, barcode and personnel management software.
- Teamwork: Being able to work as part of a team is essential to being an effective warehouse worker. Many of the tasks will require you to work with others, so you need to be able to function as part of a bigger unit.
- Problem-solving skills: Warehouse work often involves dealing with urgent problems immediately. You need to display your ability to solve problems without having a supervisor around. Although more technical problems will require the attention of qualified personnel, being able to deal with less technical issues that come up from time to time will increase your value as a warehouse worker.
- Flexibility: You need to be able to perform a wide range of duties, some of which may not fall strictly under your job description. The typical warehouse environment can be fast-paced and stressful, and there is often a need for personnel to perform other tasks on short notice. Being flexible enough to perform several different duties will help you make a good impression on your employers.
- Learning aptitude: Employers tend to appreciate employees who continually learn and develop new skills. Job requirements often change in a typical warehouse environment, so employees who can readily adapt will always be valued.
- Organization: Warehouse staff will have to be detail-oriented and well organized. Regardless of your position in the company, you will need to ensure your ability to manage your responsibilities at the highest level of professionalism. Doing so ensures that everyone else down the line is able to perform their job efficiently.
- Speed: Warehouse work often involves adhering to strict timelines, so you will need work at a suitably fast pace without compromising safety and quality. Being able to work quickly at a high level of performance will contribute towards your value as an employee.
How to improve warehouse skills
Here are some of the most effective ways to improve warehouse skills:
- Gain practical experience. The quickest way to learn essential warehouse skills is to work in an actual warehouse. There are many things that you will learn from the job that you can't learn from any trade school or college course. Even if you have to start at an entry-level position running errands or performing clerical duties, you will quickly pick up useful warehouse skills by working in a warehouse.
- Learn from others. You will probably encounter people with more experience and knowledge than you have, especially if you are new to the job. Learning from more senior coworkers, managers, and supervisors will help you fast track your professional growth. If you are fortunate enough to have experienced coworkers willing to help you out with tips and advice, take advantage of the opportunity to learn.
- Take on other responsibilities. Going beyond your comfort zone is another effective way to improve and expand your warehouse skills. Ask your supervisor if there are opportunities for you to take on added roles. You might also want to keep the option open for lateral promotions, which will enable you to expand your skills and knowledge without necessarily being promoted to a more demanding position.
- Undergo training. If your place of work offers training programs for technical positions or management roles, use these as opportunities to learn some new skills. Such programs usually allow you to develop new abilities that are especially relevant to your work environment.
- Put your skills to work. Just as with any other skills or proficiencies, you can improve your warehouse skills considerably by regularly putting them to practice. Using your skills in real-world scenarios will help you apply them more effectively and identify other skills that you need to develop.
Related: 15 Warehouse Jobs That Pay Well
How to highlight warehouse skills
After you have taken the time and effort to develop warehouse skills, it makes perfect sense to highlight them as effectively as possible. Whether on your resume or during an interview, showcasing your warehouse skills will help make a favorable impression with hiring managers. Here are some of the most effective ways to let your prospective employer know about your warehouse skills:
Warehouse skills for a cover letter
- Customize your cover letter. Always write your cover letter as if it was meant for a specific person. Address it to the hiring manager if possible. Additionally, make sure to include keywords from the job posting to show that you've researched the position. A customized cover letter will likely come across as more genuine and fully communicate your desire to get the job.
- Highlight your most impressive skills immediately. After a brief intro, list your most relevant skills immediately. Ideally, the hiring manager should be able to quickly scan your cover letter and get a good idea of your skills and capabilities right away. If you are able to grab their attention, you have a much better chance of your resume being read.
- Be truthful. Make sure that you can back up any skills that you include in your cover letter. No matter how much you want to impress your prospective employer, it is important to include only the skills that you actually have. You will have a much better chance of getting chosen for the position if your cover letter and resume include skills that you can actually deliver.
Here's an example of how you could present your skills in a cover letter:
"I am pleased to submit my application for warehouse personnel. I have extensive experience working in a warehouse setting, with most of my duties involving receiving shipments and storing goods. I have also coordinated the transfer of materials between different facilities and operated warehouse equipment such as packers and forklifts."
Warehouse skills for a resume:
- Choose your most relevant skills. Take stock of your skills and choose those that are most relevant to your job and workplace. These are the skills that you should highlight in your resume.
- Relate your skills to real-world scenarios. Make sure your skills are beneficial to the tasks you will typically perform in your workplace. If some of your skills aren't directly related to a potential job as a warehouse employee, choose skills that at least contribute to helping you become a professional and productive employee.
- Place your most recent skills at the top of your resume. Prospective employers will want to know that you have the relevant skills and that you are able to use them to the benefit of the company. Highlighting your most recent skills will show prospective employers that you will be able to contribute useful skills that you still regularly put to use.
Here's an example of how to highlight your warehouse skills in your resume:
- Receiving shipments and storing goods
- Coordinated the transfer of materials between facilities
- Operated warehouse equipment such as packers, sorters, and forklifts
- Oversaw the transfer of products to ensure accurate shipments
- Inspected tracking and inventory
- Performed regular analysis to ensure quality control
Warehouse skills for an interview
- Be ready to provide more details about your skills. Make sure you are able to go into details about the extent of your skills. Also, explain how you feel that your specific skills are relevant to a potential job in a warehouse. It might also be helpful to explain how you developed those skills and how you continually work to improve them.
- Explain how your skills have benefited you. Communicate to the hiring manager how specific skills have proven useful in your work in the past. If you don't have prior experience, you might explain how you feel your skills will enable you to perform your duties as a warehouse employee at a high level of competence and professionalism.
- Mention any related skills, capabilities, and interests. Ask your hiring manager if you can detail other skills that may be related to the job. Even other skills that aren't directly related to the roles filled by warehouse workers may be useful in certain settings. Prospective employers may also see potential in skills that aren't typically possessed by warehouse workers.
Here's how you can highlight your warehouse skills during an interview:
"A large part of my role involves receiving shipments and storing goods in different storage facilities. I was primarily tasked with coordinating the transfer of materials between warehouses, ensuring accurate and timely shipments. I also have extensive experience in operating warehouse equipment and have performed basic repair work as necessary. As I gained more experience in a warehouse setting, I was placed in charge of inventory and tracking, performing regular analysis to ensure the highest level of quality with our shipments."