Online shopping and other forms of e-commerce have amplified the use of business-to-customer delivery of merchandise. With this trend comes the increased importance of distribution centers in getting merchandise directly to customers. The successful fulfillment of orders starts with warehouse pickers. The warehouse picker job description presents the responsabilties, job duties and skills necessary to become a warehouse picker.

Job Overview: What Does a Warehouse Picker Do?

Warehouse pickers begin the execution of a customer’s order by collecting and assembling the items for packing and shipment. In some warehouses or distribution centers, these pickers also assume the role of packer.

The job description of the warehouse picker involves more than lifting or handling. They also perform quality control, data entry and record-keeping functions.

Warehouse Pickers Job Description for Resume – Duties

  • Retrieve merchandise ordered by shoppers or clients
  • Organize and assemble items to be ordered
  • Inspect ordered merchandise for defects, especially open and obvious ones
  • Compare quantity and identity of products with documentation of order to ensure it is accurately filled
  • Move assembled order to delivery platform, container or to delivery truck or other vehicle
  • Track order or package number with scanners
  • Report defects or deficient quantities to warehouse supervisor
  • Load or unload truck trailers, cargo planes or other delivery vehicles as needed or directed by supervisors
  • Sort merchandise in containers
  • Enter information on merchandise into databases, spreadsheets or other computer applications

Warehouse Picker Job Essential Skills

Concentration. Warehouse pickers must pay attention to ensure they have the correct type and number of items for an order. Concentration is necessary for pickers to catch defective items and merchandise that does not fit the order.

Driving. Many employers require warehouse pickers to operate forklifts or other small vehicles to carry merchandise to loading or delivery areas. These driving skills include steering, moving the equipment forward or in reverse, braking, slowing and observing safety rules.

Listening. Skills in listening help warehouse pickers understand and follow instructions from supervisors, delivery drivers or packers.

Organization. The warehouse picker job description includes the ability to sort and assemble items to be shipped as an order. Organizational skills entail grouping merchandise according to the intended customer and arranging merchandise by weight, length, height, material or other factors so that the merchandise is loaded safely and conveniently for the delivery persons.

Physical. Shifts for warehouse pickers involve constant standing, squatting, reaching, walking and sitting, often in combination. Warehouse pickers must possess the strength and stamina to lift sometimes large or heavy merchandise or shipping containers. Driving skills require peripheral vision to notice people or other vehicles approaching from the side and coordination to handle the steering wheel and the controls for the forklift.

Typing. Warehouse pickers need good keyboarding skills to quickly enter information into a spreadsheet, database or hand-held device such as a scanner.

Becoming an Warehouse Picker

Warehouse pickers typically do not generally need formal education or long-term development to take such positions. For many, the job offers entry-level experience and opportunities. However, some education and training can help warehouse pickers acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the position.

Education & Training

Generally, warehouse owners and operators do not require pickers to have more than a high school diploma. According to O*NET, high school graduates constitute 64 percent of “Order Fillers, Wholesale and Retail Sales.” Approximately one in ten pickers attended college but did not have a degree from it. Only nine percent have not finished high school.

Applicants may enhance their prospects by taking classes using databases or spreadsheets to enter information. Typing or keyboarding courses also help prepare warehouse pickers.

Companies generally train new warehouse pickers in the operations of their warehouses. New hires learn safety rules, the layout of the facility, how to use various pieces of equipment and perform duties such as tracking and labeling merchandise for packing. Training sessions can last days or a few weeks.

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that workers obtain training and certification to operate a forklift and other power industrial trucks. Workers under age 18 are prohibited by federal law from operating a forklift.

Work Experience

Some employers may hire warehouse pickers without prior work experience, or at least without prior warehouse picking experience.

Prior work history in logistics may prove advantageous for applicants. These positions may include stockroom associates, forklift operations, packers or material movers. Data entry positions may also afford relevant experience for warehouse pickers given that responsibilities include recording the fulfillment of orders. Pickers can gain experience through working in agricultural harvesting operations or packing produce.

Work Schedule

Warehouses and distribution centers operate at all hours of the day and mostly seven days per week. As a result, warehouse pickers can expect to have late night, predawn and weekend shifts. Retailers and wholesalers must staff distribution centers continuously to meet fulfill orders and meet the expectations of customers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately one out of four hand laborers and material movers held part-time positions in 2014. Temporary employment agencies placed about 18 percent of “Hand laborers and freight, stock and material movers” in 2014.

Career Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “Hand laborers and freight, stock and material movers” occupied 2.4 million positions in 2014. Employment in this category should rise by five percent, or 125,100, jobs through 2024, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Demand for warehouse pickers may spike during peak shopping periods such as the Christmas season. Jewelers may experience high order volume at Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Electronics and school supplies retailers may experience more business in the weeks leading to the start of school or college.


As online ordering grows, so will the need for successful assembly and packing of products. Warehouse pickers supply the labor, time and skills to organize and group items to be packed and ultimately delivered to the expecting customers. Organization and record-keeping habits, safe movements and being certified to use powered industrial trucks complement the basis work of preparing items for delivery.