Transferable skills for warehouse workers

Last updated: April 25, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Transferable skills for warehouse workers
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These days, customers expect a large selection of goods to choose from, and they want them delivered directly to their door.

Companies often store merchandise in a warehouse for easy distribution. From unpacking trucks to preparing goods for delivery drivers, warehouses can be fast-paced work environments.

The warehouse and storage industry employs around 1,764,000 workers. Team members need to work together to manage inventory and get stock to customers as quickly and safely as possible.

Most positions are entry-level, so you can get a job without experience. Even if working in a warehouse doesn’t suit your long-term career goals, you can still use the role to improve your resume.

You’ll gain a range of transferable skills that you can use in other industries.

What skills should you be focusing on? And where can you get a job as a warehouse worker? Let’s take a look.

What is a warehouse worker?

A warehouse employee is someone who works in a warehouse environment. Companies that hire these types of workers include Amazon, Target, Walmart, and The Home Depot.

If you work in a warehouse, you'll usually have a wide range of duties. For example, you could unpack stock and load trucks. And you may be responsible for keeping track of inventory and ordering more merchandise before it runs out.

Depending on the workplace, your job duties may include driving a forklift and packing and labeling orders ready for shipping.

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Some employees work in a warehouse office and deal with customers over the phone or online.

Warehouse workers make sure the workspace is clean and organized.

There are entry-level positions available with on-the-job training. If you're a hard-working, productive employee, you can use your experience to become a warehouse manager.

Warehouse team members work part-time or full-time.

What do you need to be a warehouse worker?

If you want to get a warehouse position, you'll usually need a high school diploma or equivalent. The hiring manager will be looking for people with good listening skills, motivation, and reliability.

Plus, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills can also be beneficial.

The role can include heavy lifting and working at heights. You'll need to be physically fit and able to stand on your feet for long hours. For example, if you're applying for a job at Amazon, they'll expect you to lift packages up to fifty pounds. Shifts can be between eight and twelve hours long, depending on your location.

There are different roles available, and if you have forklift certification, it can be an advantage. A driver's license or heavy vehicle license can improve your chances of getting a job.

When you start your new role, you’ll get training and supervision. Most of the skills you’ll need you can learn on the job.

What are transferable skills?

When you work or study, you gain hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are abilities that you learn through education or practice. Soft skills are your traits, such as how you communicate with others.

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Some of these skills are transferable between workplaces and industries. For example, if you gain customer service skills working in retail, it'll help you get a job in food services.

Transferable skills are appealing to hiring managers. Even if you don't have experience, having some of their desirable skills could help you get the job.

Good communication, computer skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, and leadership skills are just a few examples of transferable skills.

You can highlight your transferable skills on your cover letter or resume. You can also share examples during the job interview.

What transferable skills can you learn as a warehouse worker?

Warehouse workers gain a long list of skills that can be useful for any future career path.

Here are some of the most desirable skills that you can add to your resume, no matter what job you're applying for next.

1. Teamwork

Warehouses can be busy workplaces with a range of team members. Besides general warehouse workers, companies might employ forklift operators, pickers, laborers, managers, delivery drivers, and clerks.

Some warehouses can have over a hundred employees. Because it’s a team environment, workers need to learn good teamwork skills. To be successful, they need excellent communication skills and active listening.

If you have teamwork skills, you can use them in other roles. For example, food services, retail, and construction are industries that value teamwork.

For those looking for a remote position, your teamwork skills can be an advantage. Workers often have to collaborate from all over the world, so being a good team player is essential.

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2. Computer skills

Technology plays a role in every warehouse. Workers will need computer skills to track inventory, process orders, and print shipping labels.

They may use basic math skills to track orders with software, such as Microsoft Excel. And they may have access to a customer database and email account. Fast, accurate typing can also be beneficial in the warehouse.

Computer skills are transferable. Most hiring managers will expect you to feel confident using a computer and the internet. You can use this skill to get a job in technology, administration, business, education, or government. Computer skills are essential for remote roles.

3. Organizational skills

Warehouses need to be organized. The stock should be easily located, and orders must be processed accurately.

If you work in a warehouse, you’ll gain organizational skills. You’ll keep the workplace tidy and make sure merchandise is labeled. When the whole team is organized, customers will receive their orders on time.

Being organized does take practice, and it can be a valuable skill for future positions. Other roles that need good organization include medical receptionists, administrative assistants, teachers, electricians, and paralegals.

At-home roles also require organizational skills. For example, a virtual assistant will need to make sure they have all of the right equipment. And they’ll spend time organizing their inbox each day.

4. Physical fitness

If you work in a warehouse, the job can be varied with a range of different tasks. You’ll be working on your feet for long shifts, and heavy lifting may be required.

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You’ll need to be physically fit to lift merchandise, climb ladders, and unpack boxes. Most workers will learn about occupational health and safety, including proper lifting techniques.

With physical fitness and the right training, you’ll be able to do your job without injury.

If you’re fit, you can use this skill in other industries. For example, police officers, firefighters, construction workers, gardeners, janitors, servers, and personal trainers all need to be strong and agile.

5. Problem-solving

Your day in the warehouse might not always run smoothly. Deliveries can be late, customers may have complaints, and stock can be damaged.

Warehouse workers need good problem-solving skills to overcome any issues. And, if you have these skills, you may even discover more efficient ways of doing things. For example, you could change the warehouse layout or optimize the inventory management software.

Problem-solving skills are transferable, and if you’re a quick thinker, you’ll be suited to a range of other roles. You can work from home in an inbound call center, helping people with product queries.

You could also get a job in food services, administration, technology, business, education, or science.

6. Time management

One of the job requirements for warehouse roles is good time management skills. These environments are fast-paced, so you'll need to work to a schedule and you might have to multitask. Without time management, orders can be delayed, causing a backlog.

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You'll use your multitasking skills to unload deliveries and check inventory. And you'll need to pick orders and print labels.

Time management skills can help you throughout your career. For example, if you want to switch to a remote position, you'll need to manage your time while working independently.

This transferable skill will be useful in other industries, including marketing, finance, education, hairdressing, construction, and government.

7. Attention to detail

To excel in your warehouse role, you'll need great attention to detail. This skill is about having a good work ethic and double-checking your work.

Workers need to follow strict safety procedures to reduce the chance of accidents. And they need to make sure all orders are labeled correctly.

When receiving inventory, it'll need to be recorded accurately. Mistakes in the warehouse can lead to damaged or missing packages, so attention to detail is essential.

Attention to detail is a skill employers are always looking for. It'll help you in both remote and in-person positions.

What other jobs need this skill? Examples include bookkeepers, customer service representatives, bartenders, chefs, teachers, florists, and software engineers.

8. Phone skills

Some warehouse workers use their customer service skills to communicate over the phone. Whether it's updating customers or chatting with suppliers, good phone skills are beneficial.

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You'll learn to speak professionally and use your listening skills to answer queries. You may need to speak with delivery drivers and follow up on the incoming and outgoing stock.

If you're confident answering the phone and making calls, it can help you in the future. You can use your experience to get a job in a remote call center or as a virtual sales representative.

Or, you can work in other industries that serve people, such as retail, banking, healthcare, or administration.

9. Driving skills

There are other practical skills you can gain from working in a warehouse. You can improve your driving skills and learn how to operate a forklift. Larger warehouses rely on forklifts and other modes of transport to get goods loaded and unloaded quickly.

Your employer may support you in getting a truck license or other equipment certifications.

If you have good driving skills, you can work in other transport roles, such as delivery, truck, bus, or taxi drivers.

Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, electricians, and plumbers all need to be confident on the road.

10. Leadership skills

You can start as an entry-level team member and learn valuable leadership skills. Your employer may have training programs for hard-working individuals.

Once you have experience, you can mentor new team members. Or, you can learn to become a warehouse manager.

To work in a leadership position, you'll need to excel at your job. And you'll need strong interpersonal skills.

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If you gain leadership skills, it'll open the door to other opportunities. For example, it could help you get a job as an assistant manager, manager, or supervisor.

What other jobs can you get with warehouse skills?

Working in a warehouse can be a good way to kick off your career. You can gain valuable skills and experience that can be transferred to other industries. Please note that some additional education may be required to change jobs.

You can use your teamwork, phone, and leadership skills to work with others. Potential roles include retail sales assistants, bartenders, virtual administration assistants, medical receptionists, or restaurant managers.

Organizational skills and problem-solving skills are ideal for work-from-home roles. And your attention to detail and computer skills could help you get a job as a bookkeeper, pharmacy assistant, or software engineer.

Where can you get a job as a warehouse worker?

Ready to start working? You can browse our job board for warehouse positions.

Companies such as Amazon, Adecco, Lowe’s, and Home Depot are hiring now. Most of the positions are entry-level, so you can start gaining new skills.

The top warehouse worker transferable skills

Are you thinking of applying for a warehouse role? You can gain experience and skills that can be used in other industries.

Some of the top warehouse transferable skills include hard skills such as computer skills and driving skills. You’ll also learn soft skills such as teamwork, organization, problem-solving, and time management.

To be successful, you’ll need physical fitness and attention to detail. Plus, you could learn phone skills and leadership skills.

All of these are must-haves for hiring managers. When you highlight these transferable skills on your resume, it could help you get a job in a different field.

What are you waiting for? Start your job search by visiting our job board. Or, get more tips like these at our resource center.

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