5 Key Skills Businesses Look for in Warehouse Workers

While you likely won’t be asked to sit at a desk and perform word processing duties, most of today’s warehouses have implemented a warehouse management system (WMS)

We are currently living in the golden age of warehouse fulfillment. Even though there is a lot of chatter surrounding the subject of automation replacing hard, honest human workers, the stats show that warehousing operations are continuing to seek out real, live workers at an unprecedented rate. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment within the warehousing sector has been on a massive upswing in recent years, nearly doubling in the past decade alone. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the surge is most often attributed to e-commerce transforming the retail landscape, changing the way we shop, make payments, accept deliveries, and, now, work.With all of this success, also comes heavy outreach from the retailers and distributors that thrive off of this shift. The unparalleled demand has forced these operations to open new jobs, making way for all kinds of people to take advantage — and become part of — a flexible workforce. At Wonolo, we have made it our mission to facilitate the relationships that make the on-demand work economy thrive, with warehousing being one of the most sought after skillsets in Wonoloers.Now, right off the bat, if you don’t think that you are good fit for a warehouse worker position, chances are, you are likely mistaken. Believe it or not, there are a variety of different warehouse positions that do not require special training or certifications. Let’s take a look at the 5 key skills employers look for in today’s warehouse workers:

1. You have a good understanding of general warehouse lingo

If you don’t have direct experience working in warehouses, don’t fret—there are others ways you can make yourself stand out from the competition. One of the best ways to gain experience before commencing or applying for a warehouse associate position is to first get yourself acquainted with general warehouse lingo.

Even if you have had years of warehouse-based experience under your belt, there is always more to learn. It’s an ever-changing field that, with the rise of automation, contains various new terms that you might not have heard unless your boots were on the ground. So, study up, and get ready to impress your future supervisor with all of your industry knowledge. Our Guide to Warehouse Terms is a great place to get started!

2. You are in good physical condition

Any seasoned warehouse associate will tell you that the job offers a great work out, with some positions (mainly pickers) putting in over 10 miles of walking each work day. Of course, this figure is a high one — and can vary depending upon a worker’s exact duties — but it’s also one to keep in mind.

The fact of the matter is, you are most marketable to warehousing operations if you possess these things: 1) a good bill of health, 2) the ability to stand, sit, squat, and walk for long periods of time, and 3) the ability to lift heavy loads independently (usually 50 pounds or more).

Although these factors might not always determine whether or not you will land the job, businesses often do not want to take a chance. This means that, if you have some physical restrictions, a warehouse associate position may not be the right fit for you. But, if your health is good enough to get you through the work day, be sure to nurture it by following specified safety protocol, getting enough sleep and nourishment, and stretching before shifts.

3. You have the right credentials

Though the warehousing industry generally doesn’t require workers to have heaps of experience or credentials upon entry, there are a few things that you should possess:

  • High School Diploma/GED
  • Driver’s License (and a clean driving record)
  • Bonus Points: specialized licenses for warehouse equipment, like forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, etc.

Many operations also like to see clean criminal records and drug tests, too. Be sure to let whoever is placing or interviewing you for the position to know about any other skills up front; you never know how valuable you can be to a warehouse unless you give them an idea of your history.

4. You possess intermediate computer skills

While you likely won’t be asked to sit at a desk and perform word processing duties, most of today’s warehouses have implemented specialized warehouse software automation packages, which, while intuitive enough, do require some previous knowledge of computers and other devices.

For example, you may be asked to perform picking duties which would require you to pick up and deliver inventory from one end of the warehouse to another, with the help of a mobile scanner. Within that mobile scanner app will be a series of options tailor-made for the specific operation that record your various activities. While you should receive training on this, it might be done very quickly, so prior tech knowledge is definitely a plus.

5. You have a positive attitude and value teamwork

The above may be buzz words that can be found in job descriptions in nearly every field, but warehousing is an industry in which it is particularly important. Because the job calls for a fair amount of physicality, communication between associates and the ability to accept orders from managers is incredibly important. Remember, warehouses run like machines, and if personnel do not cooperate, the health of the operation can be compromised.

To learn even more about warehouse associate qualifications and daily duties, click here.

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