Working as a forklift driver means that you are responsible for transporting goods, products, and pallets, often around a specific work location like a storage facility or warehouse. But, how do you get a job as a forklift driver?
The simple answer is with a resume that highlights your skills, work experience, and qualifications. This guide contains tips, suggestions, and guidance on how to write your forklift driver’s resume.
Resume objective for forklift operators
Don’t underestimate the benefits of including a resume objective in your forklift resume! While some argue that an objective is somewhat “old-fashioned,” it is your first chance to catch a hiring manager’s interest.
A forklift driver job does not require a lot of past experience or certifications, which means there will likely be several applicants for one position, and the resume objective is your opportunity to stand out.
Think of the resume objective as a chance to advertise yourself! Insert passion and enthusiasm, mention key skills, and any relevant experience, as if you were summarizing your own resume!
In our research, we looked at 14 forklift resumes and 14 real job posts, and we came to two conclusions. Job posts often mention traits like someone responsible, a problem-solver, and the ability to work independently, and these are qualities you can highlight in a resume objective.
Our second finding was that about 60% of the sampled resumes included a resume objective. With this in mind, we recommend including an objective when writing a forklift resume.
As you can see on the popular job site Monster, some choose to call it a qualifications summary, professional summary, or a resume objective, which all fill the same function when added to the top of a resume or CV.
Reliable forklift operator with 11+ years of warehouse experience. Dependable critical thinker and hard worker with a willingness to learn, OSHA compliant certified, driver’s license, and a positive attitude.
Resume skills for forklift operators
Driving a forklift requires precision, the ability to follow instructions, and keep records, but also excellent driving- and vehicle operation skills. It is not the same as driving a car on the road, but you are responsible for expensive material. A hiring manager is likely to look for someone with a certain skill set.
Include relevant key skills you have in your resume, to help your future employer see why you are the right person for the job. Mix soft skills (like personality traits) with hard skills (driver’s license, forklift experience, vehicle maintenance skills, etc. etc).
According to the National Careers Service, forklift drivers also need to understand and respect the importance of public safety and be able to work in stressful situations.
Use adjectives that show how organized and responsible you are. Working as a forklift driver is more important than many realize, as you will be transporting valuable products or goods, where if you make mistakes – the company loses money.
We sampled 15 forklift resumes in our research, and we also found that vehicle maintenance was a commonly listed skill, as this can save both time and money when you are able to perform basic maintenance yourself.
Task-oriented | Positive | Forklift experience | Packing | Stocking | Warehouse experience | Safety standards | Physically prepared | Passionate | Detail-oriented | Works well under pressure
Forklift operator work experience
It is always impressive to show off past work experience when applying for a job as a forklift operator, but listing forklift operator jobs is not the only way to show off your abilities.
Many other jobs could also have provided you with transferable skills. If you have worked as a delivery driver, cab driver, truck driver, or another type of driving job, you can easily demonstrate your ability to operate a vehicle.
During our research, we turned to popular work sites like Indeed.com, where the importance of basic vehicle management skills is mentioned. This means that if you have worked as a mechanic or anything related – it would also be desirable work experience to list on a forklift resume.
Keeping track of inventory and performing other administrative tasks also tends to be part of the job, and while we were surveying real forklift resumes, we saw a few where administrative experience was also listed.
The next thing we suggest doing is to highlight what your responsibilities were on the jobs you list, along with relevant workplace achievements.
Sample Work Experience
Altium Packaging, Dallas, TX
Forklift Operator, 2018 – 2020
Monitored material supply, loaded and unloaded trucks, stacked material, and used lifting devices to safely move goods. Followed rules and regulations and ensured accurate product handling.
- Successfully completed annual forklift training provided by the company.
- Collaborated closely with purchasing departments and improved the inventory standards.
- Trained two new forklift operators and guided them through the mandatory training program.
- Introduced RF handheld scanners and WMS computer systems to improve record accuracy.
DHL Supply Chain, Nashville, TN
Forklift Operator, 2016 – 2018
Involved in logistics, manufacturing, transportation, and warehouse duties, while working closely with drivers and management to ensure properly packed vehicles.
- Received recognition for impeccable work performance with no incidents or mishaps.
- Developed an essential understanding of blueprints and elaborate plans, which allowed for more efficient work.
- Passed the 1R11 quality inspector test.
- Made suggestions to improve health standards and accident prevention routines.
Worley, Garyville, LA
Forklift Driver, 2013 – 2016
Followed strict guidelines, met deadlines, followed the direction of the floor crew (including hand signals), and safely unloaded and loaded sensitive material.
- Successfully managed multiple shipments and logistics in a smarter and faster way.
- Trained to use an electric pallet jack and a machine shrink wrapping kit.
- Responsible for initiating every shift with performing thorough safety checks.
- Introduced new equipment to the rest of the warehouse workers.
Forklift operator education
There are generally no educational requirements beyond your High School Diploma or GED, but we choose to survey 14 real job posts to confirm this. Neither of the sampled job posts asked for a college degree or university education.
However, if you have a higher degree, you should still list it as it could impress a hiring manager – especially if your degree is related to logistics, automotive engineering, and such, but it is not necessary to get a job as a forklift operator.
Many positions require certification and additional courses, but we will list this separately (if applicable), as it can sometimes be offered by the company that chooses to hire you. This particular section is only for your academic experiences such as High School and university.
The educational portal Study.com confirms that all you need is a High School Diploma and GED, which makes being a forklift operator a potentially lucrative career with no higher education requirements.
Modern College of Business and Science, Muscat, Oman
Bachelor of Science, 2013 – 2017
- Transport & Logistics Management
Stapleton High School, Denver, CO
High School Diploma, 2009 – 2012
It is not uncommon for workplaces and employers to train their forklift operators themselves, which is why courses aren’t usually included in an entry-level forklift operator resume. If you have previously worked as a forklift operator and have undergone relevant training – list it here.
GoConstruct mentions the possibility to complete a Level 2 course in Forklift Truck Operations, which will of course look great on a resume, but the key here is to read the job description carefully to see what a particular employer asks for.
In the job posts surveyed, courses were not specifically mentioned or requested, and if you do decide to include them – make sure they are relevant to the job. A knitting course might not impress a hiring manager as much as it impressed your grandmother.
The coursework requirements for a job may differ depending on the company and the type of products you would be working with, but listing an OSHA compliant forklift operator safety course is always a plus.
- Forklift Operator Safety Training (OSHA Compliant)
- Lift Truck Operator Training
- Forklift Refresher Training Course (2020)
After successfully completing an OSHA compliant course (which consists of classes, a written test, training, and evaluation), you receive your OSHA certification. If possible – make sure you have this in order before you apply for a new job and list it here.
Rules and regulations may vary depending on your home state, but this is usually all you need to drive a forklift, and many companies will provide you with the necessary training if needed.
If you are first-aid trained – add it, as accidents can happen in a warehouse environment and employers will most likely welcome having someone on board who knows how to act.
- OSHA Certification
- CPR & First-Aid Certification (2019)
Complete forklift resume sample
A great way to demonstrate how to use all these tips to your advantage is by putting it to a test. We have picked out a real job post, and we will be showing you a tailored forklift resume for the specific job.
It is important to read through the job post or job description carefully before sending your application and to adjust your resume to the needs of the company in question. Pay attention to language use, keywords, and requirements when writing your resume.
As we read through the first part of the job post, we get a clear idea of what the work responsibilities are, which we can base our skill section and resume objective on.
They need someone who can handle labeling and wrapping, lift heavy boxes, keep the work environment organized, unload trailers, collaborate with warehouse personnel (teamwork), and safely operate a forklift.
Next, we have the requirements. There are no educational requirements for this position (not even a High School Diploma, but they do require a Goodwill forklift certification. This indicates that you will be trained once hired, but listing an OSHA compliant forklift certification could demonstrate your skills.
Experienced forklift operator with OSHA certification and up-to-date First-Aid training. Over 7 years of warehouse work experience, forklift machine maintenance, and manual labor; willing to work hard and hoping to become a valuable asset to the company.
Reliable | Fast learner | OSHA safety standards | 7+ years of experience | Basic machine maintenance | Excellent math skills | English & French | Leadership experience | Multitasker | Physically strong | Attention to detail
Quad, Nashville, TN
Material Handler/Forklift Driver, 2016 – 2020
Performed regular machine service, loaded and unloaded trailers, finished-product packing, maintained inventory accuracy, assembled shipping cartons, and conducted vital pre-shift inspections.
- Took on the responsibilities of two other workers when they quit unexpectedly, which led to an update of work tasks that lowered company costs and increased efficiency.
- Improved the record keeping process to further prevent human error and unnecessary mistakes.
- Implemented an additional layer of revision of incoming shipments where these were compared with the purchase orders.
- Awarded the responsibility of performing routine maintenance and controls.
Hubbel Incorporated, Lenoir City, TN
Forklift Operator, 2014 – 2016
Operated forklifts, reach trucks and tuggers, received shipments, controlled content and moved packages throughout the warehouse and workplace.
- Voted employee of the week multiple times by the other employees and staff.
- Installed strapping, padding and protective bracing to reduce the risk of product damage.
- Implemented new routines for inventory, which was both faster and more efficient.
- Trained new staff members in the use of machinery and radio communication.
Conagra Brands, Newport, TN
Forklift Operator Trainee, 2013 – 2014
Trained with the lead forklift operator. Assisted with packaging, truck loading and writing rapports, while using methods to increase efficiency without letting it affect the quality of the work.
- Operated pallet jacks, power lift trucks, forklifts and floor sweepers without any incidents.
- Met what was considered an impossible deadline and received compliments from bosses and management.
- Suggested vital changes to the clean-up routines, saving the company money on cleaning supplies and cleaning staff.
- Performed with excellence and was offered a permanent position.
- OSHA Certification
Houston High School, Germantown, TN
High School Degree, 2010 – 2013
- Forklift Operator Safety Training (OSHA Compliant)
A job as a forklift operator may seem like an easy one to get, due to the low education- and experience requirements, but this usually leads to there being many applicants. How do you stand out? With a good resume.
You don’t have to have everything to be hired as a forklift driver, but you do need a resume that highlights all your best qualities. Are you responsible and goal-oriented? Great! Show it in your resume.
- Experience is more important than education when applying for a job as a forklift operator, but it is possible to get entry-level forklift jobs also without experience.
- Focus on showing why they should hire you as their new forklift driver, by highlighting relevant personality traits, skills, forklift work experience or work experience with transferable skills, and insert passion into your resume.
- OSHA certification is almost always required, in all U.S states, and while some employers are happy to put you through the required training – it is a good thing to have already when you apply.
Tips from Experts
“Regardless where you live, in Canada or in the United States, there is no such thing as a forklift license. There is only a forklift certificate.” – Jordan Brimley, Lift Training
“The number one thing that most companies are looking for is the number of years of experience you have of operating a forklift. Typically you are going to need at least 6 months of experience of you actually operating a forklift in a work environment” – Jessica Hicks, Corporate Recruiter
“Forklift operation doesn’t work like driving a car. You don’t go down to the DMV, get a picture and take a test. It just doesn’t work that way. There is no license or card that you can take from employer to employer that proves that you are authorized to operate. You do have to be trained, and you do need to have documentation, but that is something that is kept with your employer.” – XO Safety
Experience is great to have when applying for a job as a forklift operator, as entry-level forklift drivers tend to be paid less than those with experience. It is a great job for someone who wants to work their way up the career ladder, but the first step is to write a good resume.
Our research showed that experience definitely weighs heavier than education when applying for a job as a forklift driver, and it is important to show that you are willing to work hard and understand the importance of being detail-oriented and meticulous.
It is not necessarily hard to get a job as a forklift operator, but the challenge is to stand out among other applicants.