Custodians are responsible people who take care of buildings, ensuring they are clean and well maintained. It’s an entry-level job, but one that can lead to more responsible maintenance and groundskeeper, housekeeping, or janitorial positions with higher wages.
Whether you’ve already had jobs as a custodian or this is your first pitch, an effective resume is the best way to get noticed. We have designed a sample resume to help you clean up!
Resume objective for a custodian
Even though you don’t have to include an objective on your resume, the experienced recruiters from Indeed.com believe that it is a good tactic to get the attention of advertisers looking for custodians.
Think of it as a summary that gives you the chance to add highlights of your relevant experience and skills right at the top of the document. If you word it well, it could be just what you need to get that all-important interview.
Custodians work in buildings across the full spectrum of industries, which makes it a highly sought-after job for people with the right skills. So we did some homework to see what else you can do to make your resume stand out.
We sampled dozens of job posts to see what employees are looking for and identified some recurring skills as well as action verbs that were commonly used. These included verbs and phrases like cleaned, lifted heavy loads, organized, repaired and maintained, and interacted positively.
You will see that these are strongly worded verbs that tell what you do best.
Ideally, the verbs that describe your actions are the same – or similar to – what is required in the job description. Use them in your resume objective.
Strong, healthy custodian with five years of experience working in New York buildings. Lifted heavy loads, organized, maintained, and repaired interiors and exteriors. Ready for a new challenge in a top-class hotel keeping the environment spotlessly clean.
Resume skills for a custodian
The skills custodians have related to cleaning, repairing, and maintaining buildings. But job description requirements are often more specific. For instance, you might need to use specialized equipment for cleaning.
Also, if the job requires you to maintain an inventory of cleaning supplies so that the company knows when to order new supplies, you will probably need mathematical skills and you might need computer skills.
In addition to these so-called hard (or learned) skills, custodians commonly interact with people including management, residents, guests, patients, and/or people working in the building. You might also have to interact with officials regarding property maintenance matters or permits.
This means that interpersonal and strong communication skills will also be needed.
We took note of what skills employers were specifying in job postings and found that they tallied closely with the top skills ZipRectruiter has identified for custodians.
While a custodian doesn’t have the same level of expertise or experience as a janitor, “janitor” is one of the keywords that employers looking for custodians cite. They also state they are looking for people with cleaning experience.
Other keywords identified by the recruitment company include mopping, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, furniture, disinfectant, and housekeeping.
Janitorial skills | Cleaning, mopping, and sweeping | vacuuming and dusting | Housekeeping | Communication and personal interaction | Maths and computer skills
Custodian work experience
Your custodian work experience might be limited or it might be vast and varied.
What you need to realize is that because education requirements are minimal, when you apply for a job as a custodian, it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or your fifth job. You need to convince the recruiter or employer that you have the wits about you to do the job well.
Of course, this means that you will start out by listing all the relevant work experience that tallies with the job you are applying for. But if you don’t have sufficient experience, you might have to be creative.
Creativity should never be dishonest, but it can include voluntary work you have done. This could even include the years you spent ensuring your family home was clean and well-maintained. Just don’t claim it was a job as such!
The job post will specify how much, if any, work experience is required. Start with the most recent job you have had and then list the others after this one.
It is always a good idea to include accomplishments, however minor you might consider them to be. Maybe someone gave you a bunch of flowers to say thank you for your work. Or perhaps you got a company award. Mention it!
Sample Work Experience
University of Washington School of Medicine, WA
Custodian, 2019 – 2020
Performed environmental services to maintain the university environment in a safe, clean, and orderly way. Adhered to infection control policies to prevent any kind of cross-contamination.
- Worked independently using electronic devices to perform what was required – including phones and computers as well as paperwork.
- Took responsibility for the thorough cleaning of the School, which included damp, dust, contaminated materials, and blood.
- Regularly cleaned robotic equipment to avoid any possible contamination.
- Commended on my ability to work under severe stress in a busy and potentially hazardous environment.
Pullman School District, WA
Custodian, 2017 – 2018
Performed cleaning and related duties and reported directly to the building administrator. Recognized and took action to address any safety hazards identified.
- Recognized as a positive team builder working collaboratively.
- Took responsibility for setting up and taking down furniture for special events at the school.
- Ensured that proper procedures were used to store, use, and handle all the chemicals and other materials required for custodial work.
- Obtained my CPR certification during my first week at work.
Sacaton Middle School
Custodian, 2016 – 2017
Provided students with disabilities with a safe, attractive, and comfortable environment in which to learn, play, and develop life skills. Checked the buildings and grounds regularly. Cleaned and did minor repairs.
- Monitored the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to ensure temperatures were appropriate for the season.
- Carried out minor repairs and reported major problems to the supervisor for immediate action.
- Scrubbed hoses and disinfected toilet and bathroom floors. Cleaned sanitary fixtures and drinking fountains to keep them free of possible contamination.
- Checked exit doors and panic bolts daily in line with safety and security protocols.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, custodians don’t usually need any formal education, and like janitors, they commonly learn their skills on the job.
A high school diploma is sometimes (but not always) called for because basic reading, writing, and maths skills are needed. Also, practical, hands-on high school courses can be helpful when it comes to repair work, including carpentry and minor electrical and plumbing issues.
Some schools specialize in offering career pathways and will allow students to transfer a certain number of eligible credits from their previous high school.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, the relatively new introduction of Graduation Pathways has allowed many high school students to individualize their graduation requirements to align with their postsecondary goals.
This means that students aren’t all forced to fit the same academic mold.
If you have a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED), and nothing more, mention it on your resume. If your grade point average (GPA) was good or at least reasonable you can add it too. If you received any awards, mention these.
Penn Foster Career School
High School Diploma with Carpentry, 2020
James Madison High School
High School Diploma with Plumbing, 2020
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.4 million people work in building custodian service occupations. And the projected employment for custodial services for this year (2020) was 2.6 million.
Because it’s a growing job category, it might pay you to improve your education by taking a few courses that will give you the edge over other custodians.
Many technical colleges, vocational schools, and community colleges offer hands-on classes of skills including woodworking and drywall repair.
Some courses are part of apprenticeship programs, or licensure and certification training, including those mentioned below.
There are various courses available online. For instance, TPC Training, which supplies federal, state, and local agencies with industrial skills and safety materials for education and training, offers a series of courses in the field of custodial maintenance.
Basic Custodial Maintenance courses include Cleaning Chemicals, Floors and Floor Care Equipment, Maintaining Floors and Other Surfaces, Restroom Care, and Carpet and Upholstery Care.
Other courses include Custodial Maintenance, Electrical Systems, Industrial Hazard Control, and Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.
There are 26 lessons in the series some of which are ideal for experienced custodial workers who want to upgrade their skills.
- Cleaning Chemicals
- Custodial Maintenance
- Building maintenance
Even though formal education isn’t essential for custodial jobs, there are some licenses and certifications that may be required.
If a custodian is going to operate a company vehicle, he or she will need to have a valid driver’s license.
In some environments, current first aid and CPR certification are required. Some companies offer training that needs to be completed in a set period of time.
The American Red Cross offers first aid courses and CPR certification.
Where a custodian is going to be handling hazardous waste, Biohazard Cleaning Certification from the International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association (IJCSA) will likely be required.
There are other options that may not be required but which might help you get the job or even get a higher-paying position because there is no doubt that any form of certification demonstrates competence.
The BLS mentions the option of certification through the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) and the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).
ISSA also has a Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) that certifies those in the cleaning industry. The basic level certification is a custodial technician training program that results in you becoming a Certified Custodial Technician (CCT).
- Certified Custodial Technician (CCT)
- Biohazard Cleaning Certification (IJCSA)
- American Red Cross CPR
Complete custodian resume sample
We sampled scores of job postings for custodians, most of which were for medical and/or health or educational facilities. We chose the one below as an example we think will be ideal to use for a complete custodian sample resume. We hope it will help you tailor your own resume for the position you want to apply for.
As you can see, the job is for a Lead Custodian.
It is a relatively senior position within a high-quality academic health-care system in the Denver CARES Detoxification and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.
In addition to cleaning, repair, and maintenance work, the job involves hands-on training of new staff and re-training, when necessary, of existing cleaning staff.
It is important that applicants have a good knowledge of safety hazards and safety precautions. They also need basic computer skills.
Only a high school diploma is required, though to qualify, applicants need at least three years of experience as a custodian in a healthcare facility or setting.
Skilled and able custodian with five years of experience in the health sector. Certified Custodial Technician with teaching skills. Good working knowledge of safety hazards and precautions. Passionate about cleaning.
Training | Communication & interpersonal skills | Health & safety | Housekeeping | Time management | Maths | Computer skills include MMO and EPIC Health IT software
Meade High School, CO
Night Lead Custodian, 2019 – 2020
Supervised custodial personnel in proper procedures and cleaning standards required by the School District. Coordinated cleaning plans and schedules. Worked with the Head Custodian.
- Taught new custodians about safety in the workplace, how to follow safety rules, and the importance of safe work habits.
- Developed a training program for new employees that highlighted Board of Education policies and procedures relevant to custodian workers.
- Helped with cleaning and maintenance work.
- Did some admin work that required an operating knowledge of personal computers and email.
Boulder Valley School, CO
Custodian, 2017 – 2018
Carried out a variety of duties to ensure that the school environment was always clean and safe. Also responsible for security and lockup.
- Assisted in setting up and breaking down the equipment required for sporting and other events, and furniture for school meetings.
- Took responsibility for reporting maintenance and safety issues to the lead custodian.
- Repaired items and responded to emergencies and security issues.
- Operated emergency cutoffs and control valves.
City of Arvada, CO
Temporary Custodian, 2016 – 2017
Undertook custodial work to ensure that City buildings were safe, clean, and pleasant to visit and work in. Did substantial cleaning work and locked and unlocked buildings daily according to schedules.
- Maintained all aspects of cleaning buildings and preventative maintenance of office furniture.
- Responsible for cleaning and putting fuel into city vehicles.
- Responded to daily requests and multiple emergencies for cleaning and sanitizing.
- Encouraged to exercise initiative and judgment to make decisions within a prescribed scope of assigned authority.
- Current CMI – CCT
- Current American Red Cross CPR
High School Diploma, 2015
- Cleaning Chemicals
- Custodial Maintenance
- Industrial Hazard Control
Custodians are cleaners and maintenance personnel who are tasked with considerable responsibility, including issues that relate to safety and security. Sometimes they work in environments where hazardous chemicals and other hazards must be dealt with.
- Even though custodial jobs typically require no more than a high school diploma or GED, custodians can improve their potential by taking specialized courses and becoming certified in cleaning-related areas. It might take time and effort, but will usually improve your status and paycheck.
- Custodians do similar work to janitors and building maintenance workers, but the position is typically associated with health and medical establishments and schools and colleges. Skills and experience are transferable across these industries.
- You aren’t expected to include a resume objective when you apply for a job as a custodian, but a short summary at the start of the document can help you show the kind of value you can add to the position.
Tips from Experts
“To write a custodian resume that makes an impact on potential employers, it can help to highlight your relevant skills, training, and work experience. While a resume summary isn’t required, it can help capture the attention of a potential employer. In a few sentences, briefly describe your relevant experience, skills and why you are an ideal candidate for the job.” – Recruitment expert, Indeed Career Guide
“You start out as an assistant custodian with a junior high or high school. You then put in for an associate position, which is the custodian who takes over from the head custodian in junior high or high school. From there you move into a head custodian in an elementary. From there you go to a junior high, and from there to a high school. This is the career path, but people can jump if they have the training. They used to have a custodial supervisor, which would have been the next step. A lead custodian can get a job in maintenance. “ – Lowell Penrod, Head Custodian at Granite School District with 30 years of experience
“If you aren’t currently a custodian, there are transferable skills that you can use to strengthen your resume and make you a much stronger candidate. For instance, having plumbing skills and repairing clogged drains and pipes, or having electrical repair skills for fixing blown fuses and wires, or general repair skills.“ – Jimmy Jackson, Head Custodian
You’re looking for a job as a custodian. Maybe you’ve been a custodian for many years and you want a better position. Maybe you want to move into a different industry and work in a school rather than a medical center.
Whatever your motivation, you need a short but well-structured resume that will help you to stand out head and shoulders above all the other custodians who apply for the same job.
The examples we have provided may differ from the post you have applied for, but the principles remain the same. Use what we have taught you to craft a resume that will clinch the interview for the job you want. We wish you success.