On a construction site, heavy equipment operators are essential when it comes to work progress, and many workers remain working for the same employer for years. What happens when it is time to apply for a new job?
Regardless of whether you are looking for your first job as a heavy equipment operator, or if you have been in the workforce for some time, you need a resume to get your foot through the door. A good resume leads to you getting noticed, and hopefully to an interview.
This is a step-by-step guide to writing a heavy equipment operator resume, with a complete resume objective at the bottom.
Resume objective for heavy equipment operators
The first thing to add to a resume is, of course, your contact information, but what comes next? A resume like this could benefit greatly from something a little more personal, where you can get to show off your personality and summarize your skills.
This can be achieved by including a resume objective.
Not all resumes require a resume objective, but in our research, we chose to sample 20 different heavy equipment operator resumes to get a better idea of what the structure of the resume should look like.
Our findings led us to the conclusion that a resume objective is strongly favorable, as it helps create a connection with the hiring manager.
When you write your resume objective, start by figuring out what the recruiter might be looking for. The job post tends to include plenty of clues, such as specific skills and educational requirements.
A heavy equipment operator needs to be physically strong, excellent team workers and preferably have experience, so if you have any of this, it’s a great idea to add it to your resume objective.
According to Indeed.com, it is important to update your resume objective before applying for a job as a heavy equipment operator, and to use it to let the hiring manager know what it is that makes you want a heavy equipment operator job, and what they can expect to get if hiring you.
Communicative and detail-oriented individual with 5+ years of heavy equipment operating experience and working on construction sites. Familiar with hazard and safety precautions, OSHA safety procedures and workplace ethics, and with excellent ability to follow instructions and meet expectations.
Resume skills for heavy equipment operators
Your heavy equipment operator resume should also include a section where you list your skills. These skills should be related to the job you are pursuing.
Looking at MyMajors, we see a few of the most relevant heavy equipment operator skills listed, such as being an active learner and a critical thinker. You also need mechanical skills, knowledge of design, math, and the English language, and you need to be knowledgeable of relevant safety procedures.
Working as a heavy equipment operator requires you to have enough reading comprehension to properly understand the instructions given to you, as a mistake could become both expensive and dangerous.
When listing your skills, don’t forget to read through the job post, as the job description often mentions specific required (or desired) skills.
We sampled 18 job posts for this article, and recurrently mentioned skills were responsibility, interpersonal skills and machine operation experience. This, however, may differ depending on the job you are applying for.
Including a skill section allows your future employer to get a good view of what you can do and what abilities you
Coordinated | Hard-Working | Physically Fit | Excellent Vision | OSHA Standards | Construction Experience | Road Transportation | CDL A License | Ability to Follow Direction | Multitasker
Heavy equipment operator work experience
The work experience section in any resume is important, as this tends to be one of the first things hiring managers look at. Operating heavy equipment is no exception.
We surveyed 20 real job posts to see what employers tended to look for, and we saw a majority of posts requesting at least a year of heavy equipment operating experience.
Why work experience is so important is partially because it shows an employer that you know the trade, an that you are likely to require minimal training. You know what you are in for, so to speak, and you know how to use your training in a real workplace.
In accordance with Certified Source Staffing Professionals, working as a heavy equipment operator often means working long hours and long work weeks, and your work experience section is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that this is something you can handle.
You can also include any work experience related to construction work, and if you have limited work experience in general – include anything you believe could be relevant.
Sample Work Experience
Tesla, Austin, TX
Heavy Equipment Operator, 2016 – 2020
Operated excavators, rollers, water trucks and forklifts, ran survey equipment, delegated work tasks among the staff and assisted with new heavy equipment operator training.
- Assisted in setting up 4-10 new job sites per month.
- Demonstrated excellent awareness of cost reduction strategies.
- Trained new operators in OSHA and Army safety policies.
- Handled basic equipment maintenance to save the company both money and time.
U.S Silica, Lamesa, TX
Heavy Equipment Operator, 2014 – 2016
Moved and handled materials, operated forklifts and backhoes, performed basic maintenance, kept daily logs, identified issues and complied with relevant safety standards.
- Successfully performed Preventative Maintenance System Checks on multiple vehicles.
- Used phone and radio to transmit information both within the workplace and when communicating with exterior vendors.
- Enhanced communication by implementing the use of Qualcomm and BOL data entry.
- Received recognition for having excellent work ethics in stressful and pressuring situations.
Waste Management, Pass Christian, MS
Heavy Equipment Operator, 2011 – 2014
Followed strict safety policies and procedures when unloading and moving top class material. Carried out basic repairs, inspected equipment for safety breaches and collaborated with staff.
- Involved in the hiring process and in testing and evaluating equipment operator candidates.
- Performed on-going cross-training and complex departmental projects.
- Developed beneficial relationships with both managers and external collaborators.
- Offloaded high-value material without a single incident during 3 years of employment.
Heavy equipment education
Only a High School diploma or GED is required as a heavy equipment operator. Having a university degree is always nice, and should, of course, be listed if you have one, but it is rarely a requirement.
To confirm this, we sampled 20 job posts for a heavy equipment operator, and none of them requested specific education beyond a High School diploma, and tended to focus more on relevant work experience.
We also sampled heavy equipment operator resumes, and while some did list university degrees, most did not.
A higher education could be a stepping stone for potentially growing with a business and climbing the career ladder, or for higher pay, but it didn’t seem to be what most companies focused on.
Wilson High School, Washington, D.C.
High School Diploma, 2008 – 2011
Heavy equipment operators usually go through some kind of official training, where you learn to safely operate machinery and follow relevant safety protocols. These programs can be found all over the country, and can be listed in this section.
In our research, we noticed that few of the sampled job posts actually required their prospective employers to have taken courses, and many listed no necessary educational requirements at all.
The reason for this is that many companies are happy to train people on the job, so have a look at the job description in question to see if coursework and training is required.
- Heavy Equipment Operator Training
- CPR & First-Aid
There is no general certification requirements for heavy equipment operators, but, according to Study.com, certification may be required in some states for operating some of the heaviest equipment.
The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offers a variety of certification options, which once obtained remain valid for 5 years.
This means that any certification you choose to list here should be valid at the time of writing the resume, and otherwise you might want to consider renewing before you submit your application.
Having certification is not necessary when applying for most jobs, it seems, but you may be required to obtain certification once hired.
- Boom Truck Operator
- Articulating Crane Operator
- Tower Crane Operator
- Overhead Crane Operator
- Drill Rig Operator
- Service Truck Crane Operator
Complete heavy equipment operator resume sample
This section here contains a fill sample resume to further demonstrate how to apply for a job as a heavy equipment operator. We picked out a real job post (see below), and used the information in the job description to write a customized resume.
You should preferably have a High School diploma or GED for this position, but it is not listed as an absolute requirement. Other than that, you need to have a forklift certification and be able to obtain a landfill operations certification as well, if needed.
Heavy Equipment Operator
Positive individual with 2 years of heavy equipment operating experience, forklift certification and landfill operation certification. Hard-working, stubborn and hoping to grow both personally and professionally by constantly striving to exceed.
Dedicated | Motivated | 2+ Years of Experience | Forklift Operator Certification | Team Player | OSHA Standards | Safety Protocols | Basic Maintenance Knowledge | Excellent Vision | Physical Stamina | Commercial Driver’s License
Meyer Utility Structures, Steele, AL
Mobile Equipment Operator, 2018 – 2020
Operated scissor lifts and lift trucks to move and transport pallets and other products. Completed administrative work and log books, and worked closely with a dynamic equipment operator team.
- Received training and completed a training course and certification in record time.
- Scored 100/100 on all certification tests and quizzes taken throughout employment.
- Suggested a crucial addition to the safety guidelines, which lowered the risk of job-related injuries for those working long hours.
- Assisted with the training of 8 new equipment operators.
Meyer Utility Structures, Steele, AL
Receptionist, 2015 – 2018
Received customers, answered the phone, scheduled product deliveries, sent and received emails, delegated work tasks and kept the main office running.
- Named Employee of the Year twice, and often said to be the person who kept the business running smoothly.
- Offered the opportunity to climb up the career ladder and become an equipment operator for the same company.
- Lowered the cost of office cleaning supplies by 74% by researching and identifying a cheaper and more profitable option.
- Initiated an attempt to strengthen the company’s social media presence, which ended up bringing in more business.
Tampa Armature Works, Theodore, AL
Generator Mechanic Apprentice, 2014 – 2015
Assisted the working mechanics with tasks like transporting parts with a forklift, gathering batteries, filling out work orders, reporting mishaps to a supervisor and keeping the work area clean.
- Learned all company policies and rules by heart and adhered successfully to these.
- Provided continuous support for the on-site mechanics and improved work speed and efficiency with 27%.
- Took on the responsibility of entering crucial information into the data system.
- Received recognition from the managing team for keeping the equipment spotless and ready to use at all times.
- Forklift Operator Certification (2018)
- Landfill Operator Certification (2020)
Bob Jones High School, Madison, AL
High School Diploma, 2011 – 2014
- Heavy Equipment Operator Training
Operating heavy equipment is a job that comes with responsibility, and it is important to get your resume right for every application. These are a few key things to keep in mind the next time you sit down to put together a heavy equipment operator resume.
- A heavy equipment operator needs to be physically strong to safely operate the machinery, so make sure this comes across on your resume either through your work experience or among your skills.
- Another skill worth highlighting is the ability to multitask. As a heavy equipment operator, you need to be on top of everything that happens around you, and be one step ahead at all times.
- Work experience matters, as a heavy equipment operator, and the more relevant work experience you can list, the better.
Tips from Experts
“I try to keep the program as close to the real world as possible. We don’t just teach you how to run the machines – we actually teach you how to do earth work. We give them what they need to know here to get out there, get started and get a job.” – Ralph Delvecchio, Founder of Heavy Construction Academy
“You can start small and work your way up. You can start for a small landscape company, lawncare company or any company that has smaller equipment like bobcats. The trick is – you become the best within that organization.” – Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek, Heavy Equipment Operator and Blogger
“Some of the key skills you need to operate an excavator are, you know, you really need to have your head on the swivel – it’s all about awareness. You have to keep an eye on everything, and make sure nothing sneaks up on you.” – Brandon, Excavator Operator
Heavy equipment operator resumes need to highlight all your skills and qualifications, to make it easy for the hiring manager to see that you are someone who can get the job done.
It is an industry that isn’t necessarily difficult to get into, but considering how many people might be applying for the same position – you need to stand out. This is where your heavy equipment operator resume comes in.