People working in the docks are collectively called dock workers. Their primary job is to load and unload ships. They are also named material movers and hand laborers who manually move stocks, freight, or other materials. While formal educational attainment is not a prerequisite to becoming a dock worker, several skills are required. Dockworkers should have the best physical strength, endurance, and agility. Having good hearing and eyesight is also essential in their job.

Dock Worker Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real dock worker resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Operate yard truck to manage dock needs, maintain safety and cleanliness of dock as well as yard.
  • Work with AS400 WMS to coordinate the movement of freight in and out of the terminal.
  • Use of the AS400 to process outbound shipments, including but not limit to data entry, and BOL imaging.
  • Print BOL for daily deliveries.
  • Use RF scanning system to select orders.
  • Process and palletize all damage, penny, and RTV merchandise.
  • Operate hand-held and truck mount RF scanning guns to scan product labels.
  • Work with WMS (warehouse management system) print, label freight.
  • Enter data in computer (WMS) using scanners, fax, and printers.
  • Work in TDR - check landing gear of trailers and make sure its safe for associates.
  • Unload open top semi trailers of guts, feathers and blood and run the drain pad.
  • Mow lawn, run errands, advise customers, and assist in loading and unloading the boats.
  • Ensure cleanliness of all areas in the plant including production floor, storage warehouse and working areas.
  • Load and unload trailers, properly handle all HAZMAT, check bills for accuracy, and document damages.
  • Load and unload freight from one trailer to another and mark with HAZMAT sign if need or remove them.

Dock Worker Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 12% of Dock Workers are proficient in Safety Rules, Tractor Trailer, and LTL. They’re also known for soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination, Listening skills, and Physical strength.

We break down the percentage of Dock Workers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Safety Rules, 12%

    Conducted safety inspections and follow safety rules and procedures

  • Tractor Trailer, 8%

    Load and unload tractor trailer trucks by hand, utilizing equipment to do so such as conveyor belts and rollers.

  • LTL, 8%

    Loaded various freight into trailers using sit-down forklift in LTL dock operation Moved trailers on and off dock using yard truck

  • Unload Trailers, 6%

    General Laborers to unload trailers into warehouse.

  • Basic Math, 5%

    Read and interpret basic mathematical measurements and effectively use a tape measure.

  • Dock Equipment, 5%

    Loaded and unloaded trailers utilizing various dock equipment.

Some of the skills we found on dock worker resumes included "safety rules," "tractor trailer," and "ltl." We have detailed the most important dock worker responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a dock worker to have in this position are hand-eye coordination. In this excerpt that we gathered from a dock worker resume, you'll understand why: "most hand laborers and material movers use their arms and hands to manipulate objects or move objects into specific positions." According to resumes we found, hand-eye coordination can be used by a dock worker in order to "inspect and package parts removed from press molds 5s fifo delivery - coordination - organization of parts for export forklift operation"
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform dock worker duties is the following: listening skills. According to a dock worker resume, "hand laborers and material movers follow instructions that a supervisor gives them." Check out this example of how dock workers use listening skills: "communicated with the customer service department to ensure that all special orders were filled. "
  • Dock workers are also known for physical strength, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a dock worker resume: "some hand laborers and material movers must be able to lift and carry heavy objects." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "load and unload trailers using forktruck, handcart, pallet jack, physical means. "
  • Another skill commonly found on dock worker resumes is "customer-service skills." This description of the skill was found on several dock worker resumes: "hand laborers and material movers who work with the public, such as grocery baggers or carwash attendants, must be pleasant and courteous to customers." Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day dock worker responsibilities: "line haul dispatcher responsible for dispatching inbound/outbound trailers to and from customer locations and within system terminal to terminal transit lanes. "
  • See the full list of dock worker skills.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious dock workers are:

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    What Material Handler/Warehouses Do

    A warehouse material handler is responsible for assisting warehouse operations, moving merchandise from one place to another, labeling products, performing quality check procedures, packaging goods, and loading and unloading items from distribution vehicles. Warehouse material handlers operate warehouse tools and equipment for production, as well as ensuring the adequacy of stock inventory needed for orders and deliveries. A warehouse material handler also updates product information on the database and do administrative tasks, such as writing reports and responding to customers' inquiries and concerns.

    We looked at the average dock worker annual salary and compared it with the average of a material handler/warehouse. Generally speaking, material handler/warehouses receive $3,643 lower pay than dock workers per year.

    Even though dock workers and material handler/warehouses have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require ltl, basic math, and pallets in the day-to-day roles.

    As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a dock worker responsibility requires skills such as "safety rules," "tractor trailer," "unload trailers," and "dock equipment." Whereas a material handler/warehouse is skilled in "warehouse environment," "supply support," "ladders," and "customer service." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

    Material handler/warehouses receive the highest salaries in the manufacturing industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $34,722. But dock workers are paid more in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $35,927.

    Material handler/warehouses tend to reach similar levels of education than dock workers. In fact, material handler/warehouses are 0.3% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.0% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Material Handler?

    Material handlers are responsible for moving products, storing items, and managing supplies to proper shelf categories. A material handler also documents deliveries and ensures that all items for shipment are correct and free of any damage. Material handlers must also be a fast-learner to operate various warehouse equipment that would make the task more efficient and less time-consuming. A material handler must also check all the incoming deliveries to validate all purchases made. Material handlers must be able to analyze sheet orders and prepare the correct merchandise the client needs.

    Next up, we have the material handler profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a dock worker annual salary. In fact, material handlers salary difference is $2,812 lower than the salary of dock workers per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Dock workers and material handlers both include similar skills like "safety rules," "ltl," and "unload trailers" on their resumes.

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real dock worker resumes. While dock worker responsibilities can utilize skills like "tractor trailer," "dock equipment," "freight bills," and "safety policies," some material handlers use skills like "forklifts," "customer service," "hand tools," and "shipping receiving."

    Material handlers may earn a lower salary than dock workers, but material handlers earn the most pay in the automotive industry with an average salary of $36,166. On the other side of things, dock workers receive higher paychecks in the manufacturing industry where they earn an average of $35,927.

    On the topic of education, material handlers earn similar levels of education than dock workers. In general, they're 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Warehouseman Compares

    A warehouseman or warehouse worker is the person who assists with the inventory, shipping, and receiving of items in warehouses. Warehousemen receive and process incoming materials and stocks, along with picking and filling orders from the store. They manage, organize, and retrieve supplies and others. These workers need to have skills in speed, accuracy, and prioritizing tasks on site. They should also be equipped with skills in forklift, loading, and general labor.

    The warehouseman profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of dock workers. The difference in salaries is warehousemen making $5 lower than dock workers.

    While looking through the resumes of several dock workers and warehousemen we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "safety rules," "tractor trailer," and "ltl," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from dock worker resumes include skills like "dock equipment," "math," "freight bills," and "safety policies," whereas a warehouseman might be skilled in "logistics," "rf," "warehouse equipment," and "cycle counts. "

    When it comes to education, warehousemen tend to earn similar education levels than dock workers. In fact, they're 0.9% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Freight Handler

    A freight handler is responsible for monitoring the distribution and delivery of the freight, unloading and storing materials, and verifying the accurate information of the freight records. Freight handlers inspect the condition and quality of the goods and materials before loading into the distribution trucks for shipment. They also operate various warehouse tools and equipment to transport merchandise from the vehicle to different parts of the facility. A freight handler must be highly organized, especially in checking the correct tagging of items and conducting safety checks.

    Now, we'll look at freight handlers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to dock workers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $83 per year.

    According to resumes from both dock workers and freight handlers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "safety rules," "tractor trailer," and "unload trailers. "

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a dock worker might have more use for skills like "ltl," "dock equipment," "freight bills," and "safety policies." Meanwhile, some freight handlers might include skills like "logistics," "forklifts," "customer service," and "sit" on their resume.

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The transportation industry tends to pay more for freight handlers with an average of $38,846. While the highest dock worker annual salary comes from the manufacturing industry.

    In general, freight handlers reach similar levels of education when compared to dock workers resumes. Freight handlers are 0.4% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.