The job market for general maintenance workers is expected to grow 4% in the next 10 years as more people renovate their residences to fit their changing needs.
When starting a job search, it’s best to consider your specific skills and how they relate to the type of work you want.
Types of Work for a General Maintenance Worker
A general maintenance worker is someone who maintains physical assets and infrastructure. A maintenance worker can work in many places, and that location can change the type of maintenance they perform.
Commercial or Residential Properties
A maintenance worker employed at a commercial or residential property can expect to manage systems (for example, heating and cooling and electrical), oversee building maintenance (the roof or the siding), or even groundskeeping.
A maintenance worker at a manufacturing plant is responsible for maintaining the equipment machines at the plant. The nature of the equipment will depend on the industry.
Mining and Construction Sites
Generally, a maintenance worker at mining and construction sites is responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing the heavy equipment.
If employed with a transportation company, a maintenance worker services and maintains all the vehicles owned by the company.
Someone working at an electrical grid is responsible for performing routine maintenance and troubleshooting issues to keep the power grid running smoothly.
Skills Every General Maintenance Worker Should Have
When applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to read the job description thoroughly to see what skills or qualifications are required. The requirements will typically cite a combination of hard skills, which are industry or job specific, and soft skills. Soft skills are transferable between industries and positions; they are also more challenging to teach, making them a valuable asset in any job application.
If you are struggling with what skills to put on your resume, consider which hard skills you have that are specific to your hands-on capabilities in the maintenance field. Then follow these up with some soft skills that you have learned through life experience.
Hard Skills for Maintenance Workers
These will vary by industry, but you’ll want to include a combination of equipment you’re familiar with and niche skills that are required for the position.
Familiarity With Tools and Supplies
You’ll need to be familiar with and use the appropriate tools and materials required no matter the job site. Like drills and screws, some tools are general to all locations, but others may be more specific, like a welding torch. If you are familiar with any specialized tools, it’s important to note that when you respond to the job post.
Regardless of where you work, you will need to conduct skilled, routine, preventative, and corrective maintenance on equipment, machines, buildings, and grounds at your worksite.
Some technical skills may be specific and require additional certification, such as plumbing or electrical proficiencies, while others may be more general. If you have any specific technical skills that are valuable to the role, list them on your resume or mention them when you respond to the job posting.
While on the job, you’ll need to carry out some administrative tasks. You may need to fill out an estimate or an invoice for a client after completing a job. Often, you’ll need to write out clear directions for your team or read specific definitions from your supervisor.
You may need to place orders for projects and check their accuracy when they arrive. Depending on the maintenance you do, you may need to apply for permits to complete repairs, and if the job has multiple steps, coordinate scheduling for deliveries and work teams.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Workers
Soft skills are challenging to train in new workers, so most employers are looking for new hires who already have these capabilities in their arsenal.
Versatility and Flexibility
Someone in the general maintenance field has many responsibilities, some of which vary day-to-day. For this reason, you need to be able to complete a wide variety of tasks.
If you work at a commercial or residential property, emergency repairs may be necessary, which means you’ll need to be flexible in your schedule. For example, you may have one specific job planned for the day, but it could be derailed by a broken pipe in a resident’s apartment that must be handled immediately. The resident will already be stressed about this event, so you must be calm and reassuring when getting the job done.
No matter the location or type of work, you will have to solve problems such as a machine malfunction or a repair for a resident. Unfortunately, these repairs are not always easy; you will probably need to try more than one solution to find one that works, or you may be called back multiple times to make tweaks to the machine or repair.
You may also run into instances where a repair needs to be made immediately, and you don’t have all the necessary tools on hand to fix it. If this happens, you’ll need to find a way to make what you have work in the situation.
Customer Service Skills
You will be dealing with customers no matter the type of maintenance you do. Those customers will have varying degrees of knowledge in your area of work, so it’s important not to get frustrated with a clueless client or an overconfident one.
Often you are working with people during an emergency, so it’s important to stay calm during the situation. A sense of humor goes a long way in a difficult situation and can result in you building a roster of repeat clients.
Interacting with others is a key part of a general maintenance worker’s job. You will need to effectively interact with your clients, supervisor, and teammates to solve problems and provide excellent customer service. Communication will most likely be a mix of verbal, nonverbal, and written in this field.
Attention to Detail
Your job as a maintenance worker is to keep things running and in good repair. Often, this requires precise work. You may need to operate expensive equipment, and mistakes can be costly if work is not done carefully, even if the environment is fast-paced or high stakes.
As part of the job, you’ll need to be physically fit. Often you are responsible for lifting or moving heavy objects or need to get to places that are difficult to get to. You should not fear heights or tight spaces as it may be necessary to enter those areas to execute a repair quickly.
Following Safety Guidelines
While there are general safety guidelines to consider, like wearing eye protection, some job sites may have specific requirements for you to follow. It’s essential to ask about these when you arrive at a new job site and to make sure you follow them whenever you are on the premises.
The Importance of Job Skills
Having the pertinent job skills on your resume helps you stand out to a potential employer, while not having the necessary skills means you aren’t even considered. As you move forward in your job search, take stock of the skills you have, even those you may not consider necessary for the job.
Once you know your skills, you’re ready to start applying for jobs and preparing for interviews. Online job boards like jobsfuel.com are an excellent resource for finding maintenance work in your field.