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Warehouse Career Progression Guide: How to Advance Your Career in Warehousing

In a warehouse, a man wearing a white hard hat, yellow safety vest, red flannel shirt and blue jeans looks for a product while holding a tablet. In the background two warehouse workers wearing yellow hard hats and safety vests are having a discussion.

Is warehouse work a good career?

The distribution and logistics industry is expanding. New warehouses are being built to help companies deliver products to consumers as fast as possible. These products range from electronics, food, medical supplies and more. The number and range of careers in warehousing that are available continues to increase. 

For less experienced workers, finding careers in warehousing is easy. Most companies are willing to train new workers and the hiring requirements aren’t as stringent as other industries. Advancing a warehousing career isn’t as simple.

Warehouse career progression takes time and effort, but there are multiple warehouse career paths for those who enjoy the fast-paced world of distribution and logistics. 
 
With over 16 years of staffing experience, Aerotek Practice Lead Liz Wellman has helped numerous warehouse workers find the right job based on their goals, skills and interests. she offers three tips for effective warehouse career progression.

Learn new warehouse skills 

Working with the technology and equipment in a warehouse can help you advance your career as you begin to develop highly sought-after warehouse skills. Machine and forklift operators often get their start in an entry-level position and develop their warehouse skills over time. They then acquire the training and certification to operate machinery which can improve their wages and warehouse career progression.

“If you enjoy working in a warehouse let your supervisors know you’re willing to take on new tasks. Forklift training and certification doesn’t require a lot of time and is a huge plus on your resume,” says Wellman.

 

Warehouses are becoming more advanced and investments in technology are creating a demand for new warehouse skills. If you’re mechanically inclined or have an interest in electromechanical systems, machine maintenance is a growing skilled trade. The conveyors and mechanisms that route products to the correct areas require troubleshooting and repair. Training and certification take longer than becoming a forklift operator, but you’ll be gaining cutting-edge skills in robotics and automation, which will improve your warehouse career progression. 

 

How do you work in a warehouse team?

There are usually multiple employees working on the warehouse floor so being able to work as part of a team is crucial to success in a career in warehousing. Try to get to know your coworkers and strive to be a good communicator. Not only can it make the work more enjoyable but being a team player is critical to moving your career ahead.

“A lot of people say they like working in a warehouse because they like being on a team. Having strong communication skills is important especially in a busy warehouse. When your supervisor sees you communicating well and showing initiative it could create new advancement opportunities,” says Wellman.

Good communication also requires being a good listener. Distribution and logistics supervisors are constantly onboarding new workers and adjusting processes. It’s important to be able to follow directions. This helps you stay efficient and versatile in a fast-paced environment. 

How can I be a better warehouse worker?

Having the mindset to always work smarter and improve is useful in any career. Think about what steps might be slowing you down, or what you could use to speed up your work. Communicate your progress to your manager or supervisor to ensure they know you’re putting the effort to get better at your job. 

“Companies like to hire within so keep your resume updated with your new skills. If you earned your certification for one type of forklift, but then later gained certification for another type, let your supervisor know. This will show you’re eager and willing to learn,” says Wellman.

Having the mindset that you can always improve will help your warehouse career progression. It’s what can take you from a picker packer job to becoming a shipping clerk to then becoming a shipping lead or manager.  

The distribution and logistics industry is surging as it increases to accommodate the rising consumer demand for food, electronics, clothing and more. You can absolutely be successful in a warehousing career if you’re considering it as a career option.

Still interested in exploring warehouse career paths?

Exploring contract positions and different warehouse career paths is a good way to determine what type of environment and roles are right for you.

“Contracting can help you determine whether you’re interested in a long-term career in warehousing. It’s also a great way to learn what type of work environment is right for you,” says Wellman.

If you’re interested in a warehouse career path and finding warehouse work — explore jobs in your area.