Forklift Operator

We'll do the heavy lifting on your resume to make sure it shines for your next interview!

Katerina Frye
Written by Katerina Frye • Last updated on Jul 21, 2021
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Forklift Operators use machinery to transport various objects. They can work on construction sites or in mines, moving dirt and materials. Or they can work in warehouses, transporting goods from cargo containers and moving them around within the building.  

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Forklift Operating jobs are growing at 2%. This is slower than average -- but don’t fret! We'll clean up your resume so that you’ll be well on your way to your next position. 

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

In this article, we’ll discuss

  1. Which format is right for your resume
  2. How to write a resume summary 
  3. Describing your work experience
  4. Listing your skills
  5. Including your education 
  6. Naming your certifications
  7. Choosing the right template

Forklift Operator Sample Resume 

Forklift Operator, Smithson Warehouses

  • Set up and inspected material moving equipment to ensure it was functioning properly 
  • Controlled equipment with levers, wheels, or foot pedals
  • Moved materials according to assigned plans and schedules
  • Signaled and directed workers to load, unload, and position materials
  • Accurately and promptly recorded materials’ locations and time of movement
  • Performed minor equipment repairs, such as replacing light bulbs and seat belt extenders, topping off fluids, and checking batteries
  • Loaded, unloaded, shipped, and received 500+ warehouse items daily
  • Transported materials to different locations within the facility in a prompt and efficient manner
  • Optimized loads to ensure operational efficiency, increasing productivity by 10%
  • Secured loads to the machine before transportation
  • Inspected vehicles for damages at the beginning and end of each shift
  • Scheduled vehicles for maintenance and repairs, saving the company $10,000 in potential equipment failure 
  • Operated and managed technical equipment
  • Managed inventory by utilizing RF scanning equipment
  • Picked and wrapped orders for shipment
  • Identified workplace safety hazards and completed incident reports as needed
  • Adhered to safety management standards
  • Exceeded production schedules, decreasing transportation time by 1 hour
  • Ensured that items were not damaged

Heavy Machine Operator, Caterpillar Construction

  • Safely and professionally operated Loader, Bar Puller, and Forklift 
  • Manipulated loader controls to dismantle motor vehicles for scrapping using Scorpion attachment
  • Performed routine cleaning of equipment
  • Trained 4 new employees in the safe and professional operation of Loader
  • Followed verbal and written instructions and standard operating procedures
  • Perform daily inspections of equipment and documented results in daily log
  • Coordinated machine actions with other activities, positioning or moving loads in response to hand or audio signals from crew members 
  • Loaded and move dirt, rocks, equipment, or other materials, using trucks, crawler tractors, shovels, graders, and related equipment 
  • Checked fuel supplies at sites to ensure adequate availability 
  • Drove and maneuvered equipment equipped with blades in successive passes over working areas to remove topsoil, vegetation, or rocks or to distribute and level earth or terrain 
  • Calculated slopes and grades of materials
  • Located underground services, such as pipes or wires, prior to beginning work
  • Performed light maintenance duties such as cleaning, greasing and oiling machines
  • Operated gasoline, diesel, pneumatic or electric powered equipment to move objects or material according to project specifications 
  • Assembled and operated compressors and pumps
  • Operated levers and pedals on assigned equipment to lower bucket or scoop up material and to lift, swing, or dump material
  • Adjusted hand wheels and depress foot pedals to drive machines and control attachments, such as blades, buckets, scrapers and swing booms

1. Choose the Right Format for a Forklift Operator Resume

The first step to drafting your resume is deciding which resume format to use. This depends on your career experience and skillset. 

You have 3 main options for your resume:

  1. Reverse-Chronological -- this is the most commonly used resume format. With this structure, place your most recent jobs first, followed by the next most recent job, and ending with your oldest position. 
Tip: only include jobs relevant to the position to which you’re applying, so leave out any former jobs that don’t fit. For example, include your prior work as a Warehouse Worker, Delivery Driver, Maintenance Worker, Mechanic, or if you worked in Construction since these have considerable overlap with your job as a Forklift Operator. 
  1. Functional -- this format is best for people who have been out of the workforce for a while, perhaps because they had to care for children or an elderly parent. This format will have headers like “Heavy Equipment” and “Administrative Support” with their respective skills listed in bullet points below. At the very end of the resume, include a brief timeline of your work experience.  
Tip: Read our advice on How to Explain Employment Gaps on a Resume
  1. Hybrid / Combination -- this format is a mix of both Functional and Reverse-Chronological. It provides more detailed work experience descriptions that would typically be seen in the latter, while still offering a bulleted list of skills.  
Tip: When in doubt, choose the Reverse-Chronological resume format. For more details, check out our guide on How to Write Your Resume in Reverse-Chronological Order

For a Forklift Operator, hiring managers want to glance at your resume and get a sense of the following:

  • The equipment that you’re certified to operate
  • The industries in which you’ve worked, such as construction, mining, or transportation 
  • The length of time you’ve worked as a heavy equipment operator

The best format for a Forklift Operator is either the Reverse-Chronological resume format or the Functional Resume format. The former shows the trajectory of your career -- how you’ve grown professionally and expanded your work experience and knowledge base. The latter, the Functional Resume format, shows employers your skills and abilities.  

2. Write a Strong Forklift Operator Resume Summary

Did you know that employers spend about 6 seconds on each resume?

While this is certainly an optional section, your resume summary is one of the best ways to succeed in that short glance.

But first --- what is a resume summary?

A resume summary is one or two sentences at the top of your paper that summarizes your entire resume. It’s the punch line that gets the resume reviewer wanting to know more.

For a Forklift Operator career, include the following points in your summary

  • The equipment that you’re certified to operate
  • The industries in which you’ve worked, such as construction, mining, or transportation
  • An adjective or two conveying your personality, such as “fast,” “efficient,” “driven” 
  • An accomplishment that makes you stand out, such as increased efficiency, always finishing ahead of schedule, etc.  

Here is an example of a bad resume summary: 

Experienced Forklift Operator with a knack for efficiency and speed. 

This is a bad resume summary because it is incredibly vague. What does “experienced” mean? And how are you efficient or fast? This also gives no indication of who you are as a person -- there is nothing that sets you apart from the crowd. 

Here is an example of a good resume summary: 

Responsible and efficient Forklift Operator with 4+ years working in construction and warehouses. Increased productivity by 10% by optimizing loads, and decreased transportation time by 1 hour on average. Adept at maintaining safe and secure equipment. Additional experience with Bar Pullers and Loaders. 

This is a good resume summary because it gives a sense of who you are -- responsible and efficient. But it also backs up this claim by detailing how you’re efficient, that you’ve improved productivity and cut down on time.  

For more information, checkout our guide on How to Write a Killer Resume Summary. Or, browse our Resume Summary Examples

3. Describe Your Work Experience as a Forklift Operator

The next step to drafting your resume is to list your work experience. This includes the name of your position (See: The Right Way to List Job Titles on a Resume), the name of the location at which you worked, and the length of time in which you worked. 

Your work experience should include the following:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Years worked
  • Location
  • Job description

Be sure to use strong action verbs in each of your bullet points. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Checked
  • Ensured
  • Identified
  • Inspected
  • Maintained
  • Moved
  • Operated
  • Optimized
  • Performed
  • Repaired 
  • Reported
  • Transported 
Tip: Don’t start every bullet point with the same verb -- that will get old real quick! Instead, mix it up a bit. If you do use the same verb often (e.g., “Performed”) don’t put those bullet points next to each other. 

Furthermore, write your resume experience in a way that anyone in your industry will understand. Don't use company-specific language.

For example, let’s say you worked at a place that called the forklift “the scooper.” Not everyone is going to know what this means, so it’s best to stick with the common name, otherwise a hiring manager may not know what you’re talking about, and if the manager is confused, they’re more likely to throw out your resume and move onto the next.  

You should also quantify your resume whenever possible. This means adding a number -- such as a dollar amount or percentage -- to your accomplishments. Quantifying your resume gives the hiring manager a more concrete idea of your workplace performance. For example, say that you “trained 4 employees,” “improved operational efficiency by 20%,” or “saved the business $30,000.”   

Tip: One way to quantify your resume is by listing your accomplishments and awards. These can be from your workplace (e.g., “Employee of the Month”) or from your industry.

For more information on how to format your work experience, check out our guide on How to Describe Work Experience

Don’t have any work experience? We have a guide for Writing a Resume with No Work Experience!

4. List Your Skills

Skills show the hiring manager what you can do for the company -- without taking up too much space in the “work experience” part of your resume.

There are two types of skills -- soft and hard. “Soft” skills are those that are not quantifiable and are more indicative of your personality. Examples include leadership, problem-solving, and communication. In contrast, “hard” skills are those that are learned through formal education. Examples include computer technology, programming and foreign languages, and certifications.  

Relevant Soft Skills

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Time Management
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Attention to Detail 

Relevant Hard Skills

  • Record Keeping
  • Physical Strength & Endurance
  • Accuracy
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Safety Inspections
  • Inventory Control
  • Packing & Stocking
  • Loading & Unloading
Tip: When completing this section on your resume, review the employers’ job requirements. Try to incorporate some of the language they use. For example, if the job description states they need someone who has “exceptional communication skills, good organizational skills, and the ability to work independently and within a team,” then be sure to include some of these keywords. List “Communication” and “Organization” under the skills section. 

If you want a more complete list of skills, read our guide on 100+ Key Skills for a Resume in 2021 with Examples for any Job.

5. Include an Education Section 

Forklift Operators require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. However, if you’re looking to move up in the ranks to Construction Manager, then you may need a college degree. 

When writing your education section, be sure to include:

  • The name of the school — e.g. “Aurora High School”
  • The location of the school
  • Your degree (high-school diploma, GED, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, etc.)
  • Graduation year (if applicable)
  • Major field or department of study (if applicable)
  • GPA (If you're a student or graduates who held lower GPAs, this bit of information may be good to omit unless specifically requested by the employer)

Still uncertain on what to include in this section? Review our guide on How to List Education on Your Resume in 2021

6. Mention Certifications Relevant to the Job

Certifications show employers that you’re expanding on your skills and diversifying your experiences. Not only are you more knowledgeable, but you’re also more employable. 

Forklift Operators do require certifications in order to use the heavy equipment. Your certification also needs to remain up to date. This requires taking an OSHA-approved course either in person or online. In person training can be done at a vocational school or a local company. Most certifications entail classroom work, a written test and hands-on training and evaluation.

Certification programs include:

  • OCI Equipment Qualification Card
  • Clean Class D Driver's License
  • OSHA Forklift Certification 
  • First Aid Certified
  • CPR Certified
  • NCCER Heavy Equipment Operations 
  • Heavy Construction NCCER Rigger NCCER Site Layout

For more information on certifications, check out our guide on How to Include Certifications on Your Resume the Right Way.

7. Pick the Right Template

Now it’s time for the fun part -- picking the aesthetics of your resume! 

Here at EasyResume, we offer several different templates. 

  • Academic: these resumes are professionally structured with minimal aesthetics in order to provide a clear and concise glimpse of your experiences. This is best for current students or those looking to pursue a career in an academic field as a researcher or teacher. 
  • Creative: these resumes are bold and colorful with eye-catching fonts to help you stand out from the crowd. This is best for those in creative fields like marketing and art. 
  • Elegant: these resumes are contemporary and stylish in a way that highlights you and your experiences. This is best for those in fields that prefer austerity, such as the healthcare and finance industries. 
  • Modern: these resumes have sleek designs that are fresh and bold with tasteful fonts and clean lines. This is best for individuals applying to startups or to companies with a young audience or product.
  • Professional: these resumes have a clean, crisp look that incorporates only one or two accent colors. The focus is solely on the text, pulling the recruiter into your experiences and accomplishments. This is best for individuals applying to straight-laced companies that mandate a suit-and-tie dress code.  

Your resume template should reflect the job to which you’re applying. For a Forklift Operator, try our Professional, Modern or Traditional formats. 

If you want to create your own template, read how with our Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create a Resume Template in Microsoft Word

8. Takeaways

We’ve done it! Almost. 

Now it’s time to get down to business -- actually creating the resume. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Research the job description to locate keywords
  • Use a Reverse-Chronological or Functional resume layout
  • Write your resume summary, including the industries in which you’ve worked, some outstanding accomplishments, and the heavy equipment that you’re certified to use
  • Include your education and relevant certifications
  • Write your experience section in a way that any outsider could understand. Talk more about the how and why of your responsibilities. Quantify your results.
  • Pick a resume template that fits the position to which you’re applying, such as Professional.

Start from our resume example to save time.

Good luck on the interview that is sure to come!

Katerina Frye
With a background in Psychology and Marketing, Katerina devotes her time to understand people, their careers, and their goals to help them succeed. She also has experience in social media, science writing, and fiction. When she isn't writing, she's hitting the gym, playing with her cats, or eating chocolate.
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