A material handler and forklift operator is responsible for transporting and storing various kinds of goods, even including fragile or hazardous shipments. The duties and location will vary depending on the line of work or industry involved. However, most of the tasks will require efficiency in operating machinery, communication skills, and great attention to detail. Furthermore, a material handler and forklift operator must monitor products and keep an accurate record of overall activities, transport materials within allotted time and schedule, and maintain communication and coordination with co-workers and supervisors.

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Material Handler/Forklift Operator Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real material handler/forklift operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Use automate systems and RF units to pull, put away and load customer product, in addition to managing inventory
  • Train in all aspects of warehousing, shipping, receiving using WMS.
  • Receive parts from the manufacturers and scan parts into the inventory using warehouse management system (WMS).
  • Perform specialized production line and quality control duties in a professional production environment specializing in plastic extrusion.
  • Determine require pallet count to meet the statistical receiving requirements.
  • Operate tools (hand truck, fork lift, dollies, hand jack), distribute materials to their designate departments.
  • Perform specialized production line and quality control duties in a professional production environment specializing in plastic extrusion.

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, material handler/forklift operator jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a material handler/forklift operator?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of material handler/forklift operator opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 32,600.

A material handler/forklift operator annual salary averages $36,453, which breaks down to $17.53 an hour. However, material handler/forklift operators can earn anywhere from upwards of $29,000 to $45,000 a year. This means that the top-earning material handler/forklift operators make $11,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a material handler/forklift operator, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a freight handler, forklift, operator, and can handler.

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12 Material Handler/Forklift Operator Resume Examples

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 19% of Material Handler/Forklift Operators are proficient in Pallets, Safety Procedures, and Electric Pallet Jack. They’re also known for soft skills such as Alertness, Communication skills, and Coordination.

We break down the percentage of Material Handler/Forklift Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Pallets, 19%

    Determine required pallet count to meet the statistical receiving requirements.

  • Safety Procedures, 10%

    Followed safety procedures according to company specifications while utilizing forklift to stack material for shipping and receiving.

  • Electric Pallet Jack, 10%

    Unload trailers and sort merchandise using electric pallet jacks/electrical forklift

  • Forklift Operation, 7%

    Completed OSHA Certification in forklift operation and safe handling of hazardous materials and workplace chemicals.

  • RF Scanner, 6%

    Recorded data using computerized inventory tracking system like RF scanner.

  • Assembly Line, 4%

    Distributed high demand service parts and components to multiple assembly lines ensuring a consistent logistic based manufacturing process.

"pallets," "safety procedures," and "electric pallet jack" aren't the only skills we found material handler/forklift operators list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of material handler/forklift operator responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Alertness can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a material handler/forklift operator to have. According to a material handler/forklift operator resume, "material moving machine operators must be aware of their surroundings while operating machinery." Material handler/forklift operators are able to use alertness in the following example we gathered from a resume: "load and unload trucks and organize the warehouse skills used organization, fork lift skills, alertness, attention to details"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many material handler/forklift operator duties rely on communication skills. This example from a material handler/forklift operator explains why: "material moving machine operators signal and direct workers to load and unload material." This resume example is just one of many ways material handler/forklift operators are able to utilize communication skills: "maintained necessary level of communications between shifts ensured that all health and safety guidelines were followed. "
  • Material handler/forklift operators are also known for coordination, 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 material handler/forklift operator resume: "material moving machine operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "inventory control, shipping/receiving, quality control, customer service and coordination of issuing/distribution of supplies. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "mechanical skills" is important to completing material handler/forklift operator responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way material handler/forklift operators use this skill: "material moving machine operators make minor adjustments to their machines and perform basic maintenance on them." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical material handler/forklift operator tasks: "use hand tools to installs completed mechanical assemblies. "
  • Another common skill for a material handler/forklift operator to be able to utilize is "visual ability." Material moving machine operators must be able to see clearly where they are driving or what they are moving a material handler/forklift operator demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "verify through visual check, that correct material is in place to support production schedule. "
  • See the full list of material handler/forklift operator skills.

    Those material handler/forklift operators who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or general studies degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for material handler/forklift operators include criminal justice degrees or automotive technology degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a material handler/forklift operator. We've found that most material handler/forklift operator resumes include experience from BlueLinx, Aerotek, and Quad. Of recent, BlueLinx had 38 positions open for material handler/forklift operators. Meanwhile, there are 21 job openings at Aerotek and 19 at Quad.

    Since salary is important to some material handler/forklift operators, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Nestlé, Schreiber Foods, and American Woodmark. If you were to take a closer look at Nestlé, you'd find that the average material handler/forklift operator salary is $43,607. Then at Schreiber Foods, material handler/forklift operators receive an average salary of $43,408, while the salary at American Woodmark is $42,550.

    View more details on material handler/forklift operator salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at FedEx, ManpowerGroup, and UPS. These three companies have hired a significant number of material handler/forklift operators from these institutions.

    The industries that material handler/forklift operators fulfill the most roles in are the manufacturing and professional industries. But the highest material handler/forklift operator annual salary is in the automotive industry, averaging $37,909. In the manufacturing industry they make $36,165 and average about $35,923 in the transportation industry. In conclusion, material handler/forklift operators who work in the automotive industry earn a 2.8% higher salary than material handler/forklift operators in the retail industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious material handler/forklift operators are:

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    What Freight Handlers Do

    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.

    We looked at the average material handler/forklift operator annual salary and compared it with the average of a freight handler. Generally speaking, freight handlers receive $509 lower pay than material handler/forklift operators per year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between material handler/forklift operators and freight handlers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like pallets, safety procedures, and electric pallet jack.

    As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a material handler/forklift operator responsibility requires skills such as "forklift operation," "assembly line," "sit-down forklift," and "production lines." Whereas a freight handler is skilled in "basic math," "math," "manual equipment," and "logistics." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

    Freight handlers really shine in the transportation industry with an average salary of $38,846. Whereas material handler/forklift operators tend to make the most money in the automotive industry with an average salary of $37,909.

    The education levels that freight handlers earn is a bit different than that of material handler/forklift operators. In particular, freight handlers are 0.6% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a material handler/forklift operator. Additionally, they're 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Forklift?

    The primary job of a forklift operator is to operate and manage forklifts used for moving, locating, relocating, stacking, and counting merchandise in various settings, such as construction sites and warehouses. As a forklift operator, you will unload shipments properly and safely, and stack and store them in their designated areas. In addition, you will need to report any quality variances and assist in physical inventories. Other duties that you may perform include ensuring that stock rotation is done properly, inspecting and performing preventative maintenance of forklift and other equipment, and ensuring that inventory security and control are maintained.

    The next role we're going to look at is the forklift profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $4,438 lower salary than material handler/forklift operators per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both material handler/forklift operators and forklifts are known to have skills such as "pallets," "electric pallet jack," and "rf scanner. "

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, material handler/forklift operator responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "safety procedures," "forklift operation," "unload materials," and "hand trucks." Meanwhile, a forklift might be skilled in areas such as "basic math," "shipping receiving," "math," and "warehouse environment." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    It's been discovered that forklifts earn lower salaries compared to material handler/forklift operators, but we wanted to find out where forklifts earned the most pay. The answer? The transportation industry. The average salary in the industry is $34,824. Additionally, material handler/forklift operators earn the highest paychecks in the automotive with an average salary of $37,909.

    On the topic of education, forklifts earn similar levels of education than material handler/forklift operators. In general, they're 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How an Operator Compares

    Operators are skilled workers who are in charge of working on an industrial machine or a specific aspect of the manufacturing business. They are trained to operate machines, learning how to use them. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the machine, and they should be able to troubleshoot problems and provide remedies to them. They must be knowledgeable about the different parts of the machine and how to mitigate any challenges that may arise. Operators should be alert, detail-oriented, and familiar with safety and health guidelines.

    Let's now take a look at the operator profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than material handler/forklift operators with a $1,475 difference per year.

    Using material handler/forklift operators and operators resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "safety procedures," "assembly line," and "load trucks," but the other skills required are very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a material handler/forklift operator is likely to be skilled in "pallets," "electric pallet jack," "forklift operation," and "rf scanner," while a typical operator is skilled in "cdl," "emergency calls," "preventative maintenance," and "quality checks."

    Additionally, operators earn a higher salary in the technology industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $41,321. Additionally, material handler/forklift operators earn an average salary of $37,909 in the automotive industry.

    Operators typically study at similar levels compared with material handler/forklift operators. For example, they're 1.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Can Handler

    Can handlers or material handlers have various duties and responsibilities within an organization. These include maintaining production and product distribution, staging finished products, and delivering production supplies and materials. Other responsibilities include maintaining inventory, documenting supplies and materials disposition, and receiving supplies and materials from production. They receive credit-return materials by verifying the code, quantity, and lot number. Can handlers also prepare products for shipment, maintain material-handling equipment, and contribute to teamwork and effort. The skills and qualifications needed for this position include organizational skills, inventory control, and data entry skills.

    The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than material handler/forklift operators. On average, can handlers earn a difference of $3,988 lower per year.

    According to resumes from both material handler/forklift operators and can handlers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "safety procedures," "assembly line," and "inventory control. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "pallets," "electric pallet jack," "forklift operation," and "rf scanner" are skills that have shown up on material handler/forklift operators resumes. Additionally, can handler uses skills like customer service, patients, supply support, and pallet jack on their resumes.

    Can handlers earn a higher salary in the automotive industry with an average of $33,051. Whereas, material handler/forklift operators earn the highest salary in the automotive industry.

    The average resume of can handlers showed that they earn similar levels of education to material handler/forklift operators. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 1.6% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.1%.