This post provides complete information on the shipping clerk job description and career, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities that they commonly perform.
It also presents ideas on how to become a shipping clerk and the requirements you need to meet to be hired for the position, as well as the salary that shipping clerk earn.
What Does a Shipping Clerk Do?
A shipping clerk is responsible for processing outgoing shipments in a shipping, distribution, or receiving department.
These may consist of parcels, crates, packages or pallets.
In some companies, the shipping clerk may be the same person as the receiving clerk.
He/she may work as part of a team or work alone.
Being attentive to detail is an imperative part of a shipping clerk’s job.
He/she normally is required to record all information for each package shipped in and out.
This data may include weight, dimensions, tracking information and special notations regarding hazardous materials, fragility or unpacking instructions.
Once the shipment detail is recorded, the clerk will compare the information to an invoice, bill of lading or purchase order.
If the contents correspond with the documentation, he/she typically arranges the shipment.
Considering procedures and policies; speed of shipment desired and the package’s destination, he/she will then choose the right shipping company for the job.
Depending on the contents, shipping method and size, it’s the shipping clerk’s job to determine the best packaging options.
He/she normally uses packing material and standard boxes to prepare shipments. If the shipment is a unique shape or size, he may be required to custom build a container or crate for it.
The safety and security of the package contents is normally assured with protective packing materials to prevent damage and breakage.
Clearly written shipping labels are customarily affixed to the packages, as well as the special handling instructions.
Shipping Clerk Job Description Sample/Example/Template
Here is a sample of the shipping clerk job description, consisting of typical duties, tasks, and responsibilities people who work in the position usually perform.
- Keep and verify records on incoming and outgoing shipments
- Prepare items for shipment
- Determine method of shipment by utilizing knowledge of shipping procedures, rates and routes
- Attach shipping labels on packed stencils or cartons; identify shipping information on goods, using stenciling equipment
- Gather preassembled containers, wooden containers, or cardboard together
- Place items into containers using fillers, spacers and protective padding
- Nail covers on binds containers and wooden crates with metal tape, using a strapping machine
- Stencil, stamp or glue shipping instructions and identifying information onto containers or crates
- Post shipping charges and weights, and affix postage
- Inspect and unload incoming shipments, observe and document shortages, refuse bad items, and inform the shipper to replace damaged items and correct shortages
- Forward items to different departments
- Examine outgoing shipments and make sure they conform with specifications
- Maintain inventory of shipping materials as well as supplies
- May be required to perform only receiving or shipping activities and be referred to as Receiving Clerk or Shipping Clerk
- May be assigned according to area of specialization, such as Reshipping Clerk or Freight Clerk
- May receive defective or damaged goods returned to establishment and be addressed Returned-Goods Receiving Clerk
- May receive unsold products returned by sales routes, sales representatives, driver and be designated Route Returner
Shipping Clerk Job Description for Resume
Making a resume for the shipping clerk position requires information about the activities and functions of the position. This is provided by the job description example shown above.
Shipping Clerk Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Career Success
Here is a list of important qualities a shipping clerk is expected to have to be successful on the job:
- Must be educated
- Ability to interpret packing slips
- Ability to acknowledge receipt of the goods into the processing database and purchase order
- Ability to fill out bills of lading
- Familiarity with various forms used by major freight carriers
- Must be able to estimate weight, and use the information to calculate the cost of shipping
- Must be a licensed forklift truck operator.
Shipping Clerk Salary
The average salary of a shipping clerk is $$42,059 per year. The top five paying states include: Chicago, IL, $45,692; Dallas, TX, $43,867; Houston, TX, $42,951; Phoenix, AZ, $42,870; and Indianapolis, IN, $41,535 per year.
There are currently over 636,923 shipping and receiving clerks employed in the United States.
Women make up 28.3% of all shipping and receiving clerks, while men make up 71.7%.
An employed shipping and receiving clerk is 43 years old on average.
White (60.1%) is the most common ethnicity among shipping and receiving clerks, followed by Hispanic or Latino (20.4%), Black or African American (11.1%), and Asian (5.8%).
Shipping Clerk Career Opportunities
There are several career opportunities for someone with a shipping clerk expertise and experience:
- General Warehousing Clerk
A general warehousing clerk is a warehouse employee performing manual labor that does not require extensive training or experience.
Employees usually start out as crew chiefs, and then move on to become material handlers and shipping clerks.
2. Production Supervisor/Coordinator
A production supervisor manages employees who physically handle and package inventory items at a warehouse or distribution facility.
All positions require workers to be familiar with all aspects of the company’s supply chain, especially when it comes to quality control.
3. Warehouse Manager
A warehouse manager is responsible for managing a warehouse and overseeing all employees who handle or receive inventory.
They manage operations such as scheduling, purchasing, maintenance, and labor.
4. Warehouse Supervisors
A warehouse supervisor is responsible for overseeing employees who handle and fully maintain a company’s inventory.
They must be able to effectively interact with customers and other employees who process company goods.
They are also responsible for performing tasks such as purchasing, filling orders, quality control, inventory tracking, internal record keeping and training.
5. Area Purchasing Manager (APM)
Area purchasing managers purchase goods or services that typically do not need to be stored in the warehouse.
These items can be in transit from suppliers or from customers that are purchasing multiple items.
They also maintain the inventory count.
6. General Administration Worker
A general administration worker is responsible for maintaining company records and payroll.
They may also manage employee benefits.
7. Director of Warehousing and Purchasing (DWP)
The director of warehouse and purchasing (DWP) is responsible for managing logistics operations in a supply chain.
These operations are usually performed by production supervisors, warehouse managers, area purchasing managers, and departmental account managers.
They also supervise employees who perform administrative work related to logistics operations.
8. Administrative Support Clerk/Administrative Assistant
An administrative support clerk is responsible for assisting company employees with administrative tasks.
These tasks may include answering phones, taking dictation, and typing documents.
9. General Office Supervisor
A general office supervisor is responsible for managing an office. They are usually responsible for ordering supplies, scheduling employees, and training employees.
10. Purchasing administrator
A purchasing administrator is responsible for planning and overseeing the purchases of non-stock items.
They may also be responsible for creating and updating company purchasing procedures.
Administrators may specialize in areas such as administration, document control, purchasing, or shipping.
Administrators report to a department head or manager.
11. Purchasing Supervisor
A purchasing supervisor is responsible for planning and overseeing the purchases of materials or services from suppliers.
This may involve monitoring approval levels and creating purchase orders.
Challenges faced by Shipping Clerks on the Job
There are several challenges faced by a shipping clerk on the job, including:
- Time Management
Shipping clerks must be able to effectively manage their time. They also need to prioritize and manage their tasks in order to effectively handle all tasks performed on each day.
This will allow them to focus on unanticipated issues or problems that may arise throughout the day and solve them as quickly as possible.
2. Length of the Day/Night Shift
Shipping clerks are required to work during both the night and day shifts. They are required to work long hours at a fast pace under intense pressure.
3. Physical Demands of the Job
Shipping clerks must be able to lift up to 50 pounds from the ground to waist level regularly throughout the day, as well as reach with hands and arms.
They are also required to stand for most of the day, sometimes on concrete floors, which could result in injuries.
4. Work Environment
Shipping clerks must be able to work in environments that may not always be sanitary or comfortable. Some facilities may have extreme temperatures or be infested with insects.
How to Become a Shipping Clerk
To become a qualified shipping clerk in any warehouse, follow these steps:
- Continue your Education
Examine job postings in your area to determine the education requirements each company has.
The shipping clerk position generally requires a high school diploma or GED, though some employers may require specific math or computer courses.
You can also further your education to qualify for higher-level positions in the industry.
2. Accumulate Relevant Experience
Take computer classes or become acquainted with the software you will need to use in a shipping department if you are still in high school.
You could also contact local businesses with warehouses and ask if an internship is available or if you could shadow their employees for a day.
Another option is to start your own e-commerce store and sell items from garage sales or thrift stores.
This should demonstrate your initiative while also providing you with experience managing inventory and shipping packages.
3. Create a Resume
Include your highest level of education, relevant courses or certifications, and work history on your resume.
You could also include a list of your qualifications for the position.
4. Apply for a job in the Shipping Department
Examine the available shipping clerk positions in your area and apply for the ones where your experience and work history qualify you the best.
Send employers your resume as well as a well-written cover letter tailored to each position.
Major Benefits of a Shipping Clerk Career
Here is a list of some of the major benefits a career as a shipping clerk will provide you:
- Good Pay
While you generally need to have some work experience to qualify for the shipping clerk position, many companies offer competitive pay for the position.
Some starting salaries for shipping clerks are approximately $30,000 a year.
2. Good Work-Life Balance
Most employees in the shipping department can expect to have a reasonable work week that averages about 40 hours, though you may need to stay longer during busy periods.
3. Career Advancement
Shipping clerks can eventually move into higher-level positions in the shipping department, or they may be promoted to become managers or supervisors.
4. Work with Technology
Shipping clerks need to be familiar with shipping software and supply tracking software, as well as have an understanding of how they work together.
They are also responsible for handling different types of computer equipment, such as barcode scanners, and printers.
5. Interesting Job
Shipping clerks work on the front lines of the shipping process, so they see the products and supplies that enter and exit a business every day.
This position also entails receiving products, checking inventory levels, and tracking shipments.
6. Training and Professional Development
Most positions in this industry provide on-the-job training; shipping clerks may also be required to attend specialized training programs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that a shipping clerk needs between 24 and 30 months of experience to qualify for the role.
Most shipping clerks who stay with the industry for more than 10 years will receive an Associate degree from a community college or technical school, though some are qualified for Bachelor’s degrees.
7. Shifts Available
While most shipping departments are open 24 hours a day, nearly every job only requires a few hours on the day shift and 2-8 hours on the night shift.
Shipping clerks help the business they work for reach its goal of shipping goods in a timely and cost-effective manner.
They focus on purchasing and storing materials to be used in the shipping process.
Shipping clerks are responsible for coordinating the shipment of goods that are ordered or that have already been shipped by other companies.
This post is useful to individuals seeking the shipping clerk career, to learn all they need to know about the role shipping clerks perform.
It is also helpful to recruiters/employers in making a comprehensive description of the shipping clerk role for their companies.
They can apply the sample shipping clerk job description provided on this page.