Forklift Operator Jobs: What Does It Take to Get Hired?

The very structure of our modern society bases itself on a well-run system of supply chains. Forklift operators are a pillar that keeps these supply chains moving. You cannot underestimate the importance of these forklift operator jobs. Without them, the efficiency of warehouses decreases in dramatic fashion.

What does it take to get these jobs? What skills and experience do you need to get ahead of the competition?

Let’s see what the industry leaders are looking for.

Get Your Forklift Certification

Looking for Forklift Operator Jobs

So, you want to try your hand at the forklift trade? The job can be demanding but has strong stability and room for improvement.

There are many things you need to know about forklift operation. It takes a bit more prep and understanding than a regular job, due to certification. Even still, forklift operation can range from a nice paying job to a lucrative career.

If you are still interested, read down below on the details on how best to approach forklift jobs.

Skills for the Trade

It is a myth that straight forward manual labor jobs are easy. There is a lot of hard work that goes into being a forklift operator.

Here are some of the key skills employers look for in a prospective employee when hiring for forklift operator jobs.

1. How to Load and Unload

The key job of any forklift operator is the loading and unloading of the product. Handling this product is a top priority for the job. Any mishandling can lead to a quick termination.

How well you can operate the forklift is only the start. You need to do more than the basic functions to move around the product.

Knowing when, where, and how to move the product is also key. How do you stack boxes to make sure they are stable? What product needs to always be on top? What product needs special care in moving it around?

It may all seem like a simple task. That is a mistake that can get you straight to the unemployment line.

Showing at least a solid understanding of where things should go and how to handle things will give you a great leg up.

2. Caution and Care

A forklift is several hundred pounds of a machine. It takes a lot of trust to allow someone to operate one. This trust increases as you would operate while surrounded by thousands of dollars of valuable product.

A single wrong move can sideswipe an entire shelf of product onto the floor.

OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, has a strict set of guidelines. You must be aware of these guidelines while at work.

Companies will show and teach you these regulations. The law requires it.

Having prior knowledge of these requirements, though, may give you a bit of an edge. Being able to show safety knowledge is always a good ability.

3. Familiarity

Forklift jobs have several big perks.

One of them is you can often have free reign in where you work. A forklift operator can work in a large variety of places. Many companies often hire out their forklift operators to different locations.

No matter where you end up, you must maintain some level of familiarity. Many warehouses and storage facilities have standardized layouts. As well, many of the equipment you will be working on are standard.

There will be times, though, when unique twists will come at you. You will have to adapt to a variety of things, like different schedules, floor layouts, and company requirements.

As such, being familiar with the standards will allow you to focus on what you need to learn on a day to day basis. If you have to catch up on the basics every time something new happens, you may not last very long in this job.

4. Top Shape

When dealing in physical labor jobs, it seems like a no brainer to be physically fit. Though you might wonder why, when a forklift does all the heavy lifting.

Forklifts can’t fit everywhere. In addition, working on smaller or even more delicate tasks can require you to step in and do the lifting yourself.

Being able to adapt to whatever situation needs you is of great importance. The job will never stay the same each day.

Unloading a truck requires you to carry boxes on and off is a major part of any warehouse job. A forklift can only go so far with that!

This isn’t backbreaking construction work. You still need to keep in mind when and where you need to apply yourself more than normal. Know when to step up, and being able to work the longer days, and you will be prime material for this job.

Getting a Certification

The biggest and most important qualification of applying for a forklift operator job is certification. OSHA requires an in-depth process to qualify for a forklift job. You cannot avoid this process.

An OSHA certification is not an impossible thing to acquire. In fact, you can apply for one online. An employer will test you in person if you get past initial job application. Your employers will need you to show your abilities in an actual forklift.

OSHA has a series of standards and requirements that you must keep in mind.

You do not need a driver’s license for forklift certification. It will last for three years. You can renew it after the term or after an incident that might deem you unable to do the appropriate tasks.

Other OSHA Requirements

OSHA has many more regulations and safety requirements for all workplaces. They cover a large range of materials as well, from chemicals to work equipment.

As you load and unload all sorts of products, you will no doubt encounter all sorts of OSHA regulated materials. Knowing any and all OSHA requirements for the workplace will be an absolute must for any forklift operator.

A Career Going Forward

Forklift operator jobs are a solid career choice for those who like structured work and steady income. There is a lot of responsibility with operating a forklift. This is the same with any other major warehouse job.