Shipping Clerk Job Description

Last updated: May 28, 2024
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Jennifer Young
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Shipping Clerk Job Description
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There are around 795,360 shipping clerks in the US. Shipping clerks work in warehouses, storage depots, ports, and fulfillment centers.

If you're interested in working as a shipping clerk, most positions are entry-level with no previous experience required.

To help you decide whether this is the right job for you, we've put together the following guide.

We'll tell you about the top shipping clerk job responsibilities and the skills you'll need for the job.

We'll also share the average shipping clerk's salary and tell you where to look for a job. And, to help you get hired, we've put together our top resume tips.

Let’s get started.

What is a shipping clerk?

Shipping clerks work in a warehouse setting and have a range of clerk duties. They check invoices, fulfill orders, and print labels.

They manage incoming and outgoing shipments and ensure enough inventory to meet customer demand.

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When an order comes in, the shipping clerk needs to collect the goods and prepare them for the customer.

Shipping clerks work in a team environment and often communicate with retail assistants, traffic clerks, and couriers.

Shipping clerks may work full-time, part-time, or seasonally. Some shipping clerks need to work weekends.

What skills do you need to be a shipping clerk?

If you want to work as a shipping clerk, you'll need a GED or high school diploma.

Warehouses and docks can be busy work environments, and you may be on your feet for long periods. You’ll likely be required to do some heavy-lifting, and you may need to use machinery such as forklifts and pallet jacks.

To be successful in this role, you'll need excellent communication skills. You'll also need computer skills and to be confident using inventory management software and possibly spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel.

You should be organized, motivated, and good at multitasking. Accuracy is essential, and you'll need basic math skills to check stock levels and fill orders.

When you start work, you'll need to complete training. You'll learn how to operate lifting equipment and use computer systems. You'll also learn about workplace safety.

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Requirements to become a shipping clerk

If you want to become a shipping clerk, there are several requirements you must meet. Here are some of them:

Organizational skills

First and foremost, you must have excellent organizational skills and stay calm under pressure. As a shipping clerk, you will be responsible for organizing and keeping track of all the products that come in and out of the company.

Thus, you must be able to stay organized and handle a high stress level.

Communication skills

Another critical requirement for shipping clerks is excellent communication skills. You will be responsible for communicating with customers, suppliers, and other members of the company daily.

Additionally, you should have excellent written communication skills. These are essential because you will often be required to write reports and email correspondence.

Finally, it is also beneficial to have strong interpersonal skills. For example, shipping clerks need to be able to build relationships with customers and suppliers.

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Ability to lift heavy weights

You must also be physically fit and able to lift heavy weights. In this role you will be required to lift and move boxes of products regularly.

Forklift certification

A forklift certification can be a great additional qualification for shipping clerks and may mean you can do more than one warehouse role.

A forklift is used to move heavy objects from one place to another. A typical forklift is powered by a gasoline engine and has two prongs (called forks) used to pick up and move objects.

Forklifts are often used in warehouses and factories to move heavy boxes and other materials around. They can also be used on construction sites to lift and move heavy beams and other materials.

Forklifts are dangerous if they are not used properly. They can tip over, and the forks can fall on people and injure them. It is important to follow the safety rules when using a forklift. The forklift operator should have the relevant certification to operate the machinery.

The certification will allow you to operate a forklift, ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you.

Flexibility to work varying hours

Shipping clerks typically work shifts, so you must be flexible to work varying hours. Some companies may require you to work early morning or late night shifts.

Microsoft Excel or spreadsheet program expertise

Since you will be responsible for keeping track of inventory, you must be proficient in using Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program. Familiarity with such a program is necessary for accurately inputting data and keeping track of all the products in the warehouse.

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Some basic MS Office skills for a shipping clerk resume include formatting, page setup, pivot tables, and mail merge. With these skills, you will be able to create documents that are ready for print and distribution.

High school diploma or equivalent

Most companies require shipping clerks to have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some companies may be willing to train you if you do not have the necessary qualifications.

What are the top shipping clerk's responsibilities?

Here are five of the top responsibilities you’ll find in a shipping clerk job description:

1. Monitor inventory

Shipping clerks are responsible for inventory control. They monitor the work area, and when stock is running low, they order more by submitting purchase orders.

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They also need to record accurate inventory levels, so customers know if there'll be a delay.

If an item is going to be permanently out-of-stock, they need to make sure they change its status to "no longer available."

2. Print shipping labels

When orders are processed, shipping clerks need to pack the items. If the package needs to travel by post, they print the shipping documents.

They may use a template to print customer names and addresses. Labeling needs to be easy to read and accurate.

Some orders may also need a "fragile" or "handle with care" sticker. The shipping clerk may need to weigh and scan packages.

​3. Use computer applications

Most warehouses and storage depots use computer applications for their inventory, ordering, and communication.

The shipping clerk needs to maintain accurate records. For example, they'll need to keep a record of when a customer has picked up their package.

If a customer orders online, they may need to send them a status update to let them know the package is ready or on the way.

Some companies may use Excel, while others will have a customized customer and inventory management system.

​4. Manage pick-ups

Shipping clerks need to manage pick-ups and outgoing deliveries. Depending on the workplace, they may deal with delivery drivers or the general public.

For example, some warehouses pack products to restock stores, while others are open for click-and-collect.

The shipping clerk may need to pick up products from the storeroom on short notice. They may also need to drive a forklift and load boxes onto a truck.

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5. ​Collect incoming shipments

A shipping clerk needs to manage the supply chain and make sure new products are coming in to fill the shelves.

When a delivery arrives, a shipping clerk unpacks the pallets. These packages may arrive on a regular basis.

The shipping clerk needs to move and store stock correctly to avoid damage or injury.

6. Plan logistics and schedule shipments

A shipping clerk has to juggle a lot of different tasks when it comes to coordinating shipments. They need to consider the amount of product available, the mode of transportation, shipping schedules and deadlines, and any special instructions from the customer.

All of this information needs to be collected and organized in a way that ensures everything runs smoothly.

Sometimes, the shipping clerk may also be responsible for arranging transportation and booking shipments. This can involve working with freight forwarders, trucking companies, and other shipping vendors.

7. Maintain company stockroom

Shipping clerks also have to catalog, clean, and organize the stockroom. This includes tracking what products are available and where they are located.

Shipping clerks may also be responsible for packing orders and preparing them for shipment. For example, they might have to package fragile items with extra care or ensure that hazardous materials are properly labeled.

They may also be responsible for conducting regular inventory counts and ordering new products when necessary.

Career path for a shipping clerk

Shipping clerks can advance their careers to become shipping managers and transportation managers. Some shipping clerks become purchasing agents, buyers, or supply chain managers.

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Most shipping clerk positions require a high school diploma, although some employers prefer postsecondary education, and many provide on-the-job training.

You can go on to the next step in your career by taking advantage of opportunities to learn new skills, such as using computer software programs relevant to the position.

Some community colleges offer certification programs in areas relevant to shipping clerks, such as transportation and logistics. These programs can be helpful in advancing your career, allowing you to meet the requirements of a higher-level shipping clerk job description.

How much does a shipping clerk make?

The average salary for shipping clerks is $15.31 per hour.

As a shipping clerk, you’ll likely have opportunities for career progression. For example, once you have a few years of experience, you may be able to work as a supervisor or warehouse manager.

Which factors affect the salary of a shipping clerk?

Although the above is a standard hourly rate for shipping clerks, some professionals earn more or less than this amount.

A shipping clerk’s salary depends on the following factors.

Experience level

Your experience determines how much you’ll get paid as a shipping clerk. For instance, entry-level shipping clerks get paid 8% less than the average. Meanwhile, experienced shipping clerks earn 14% more than the average.

Likewise, late-career shipping clerks earn more than their mid or early-career counterparts. As a rule of thumb, the more experience you have, the more you earn since you will be qualified to meet the demands of an extensive or senior-level shipping clerk job description.

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Skills

Your skills also determine how much you’ll get paid in your position. For example, shipping clerks with customer service proficiency earn 1% higher than the average salary. Meanwhile, those with HAZMAT and SAP Materials Management knowledge can make up to 15% more than the average salary.

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Location

Where you live also impacts your salary as a shipping clerk. Payscale data shows that shipping clerks in Cleveland, Ohio, earn 16% more than the national average. Meanwhile, shipping clerks in Florida earn much lower than the national average.

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Employer

Some companies pay a higher salary to shipping clerks than others. For instance, Dish Network Corporation pays $20 per hour to shipping clerks while The UPS Store pays $13, which is less than the national average.

If you want to increase your salary at your current place of employment, get a certification or a college degree to enhance your qualification. Likewise, if you’ve been at the company long enough, you might be promoted to a higher position, such as inventory management.

Check out inventory management jobs on Jobcase.

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Where to find a job as a shipping clerk

If you'd like to apply for a job in this industry, you can browse local shipping clerk positions on our job board.

Alternatively, job seekers may be interested in working as warehouse or office clerks.

Shipping clerk resume tips

If you want to apply for a job as a shipping clerk, here are our top resume tips:

  • List your work experience in reverse chronological order

  • Highlight any existing warehouse skills, such as forklift experience

  • Include your computer skills

  • Address the cover letter to the hiring manager

  • Include interpersonal skills such as good communication and time management skills

  • Make sure your resume fits on one page

  • Check your resume for spelling and grammatical mistakes

  • Add any training in occupational health and safety and manual handling

  • Highlight examples of when you used good teamwork skills

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Want more resume tips? Check out our Getting Hired Resource Center.

Working as a shipping clerk

Are you interested in applying for a job as a shipping clerk?

In this article, we told you about the role and the top job responsibilities.

Our list included monitoring inventory, printing shipping labels, using computer applications, managing pick-ups, and collecting incoming shipments.

​We explained the skills you'll need for the job and the average salary you can expect to earn.

Finally, we showed you where you could look for a position and gave you our top resume tips.

Are you looking for something else? You can search for job openings in your area on Jobcase.

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