5 key elements for operators to include on a resume

Operators are skilled technicians responsible for the operation and maintenance of heavy machinery in a wide variety of industries. Most commonly found in industrial, manufacturing, and construction settings, operators have an important role to play in the production of goods and construction of buildings.

In this guide, we will talk about 5 key elements that help make an operator’s resume more compelling to employers. These elements include:

  • The best resume format for operators
  • Eye-catching operator resume summaries
  • Key technical and interpersonal skills for operators
  • Operator work experience sections that impress
  • Essential educational credentials for operators

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1. The best resume format for operators

As an operator, you are responsible for heavy equipment that can be highly dangerous when misused or mismanaged. This means that employers want to see that you have a competent level of experience working in this position previously.

This makes the reverse-chronological resume the best option for operators. Reverse-chronological resumes focus on work experience primarily, listing your most recent job first and working backward from that point.

By using this resume format, operators can emphasize their credentials, skills, and strengths the most while still listing out key responsibilities from previous positions.

However, if you are new to the role of operator or have spent time away from the position, you may want to consider an alternative format. These include:

  • Functional Resume: This resume focuses on education, skills, and unpaid experience, rather than work experience. It is a great format for recent high school or college graduates who have very limited formal work experience.
  • Hybrid Resume: This format combines elements of both the functional and reverse-chronological formats to create a resume that splits its focus evenly between all sections. Hybrid resumes are well-suited for applicants with limited work history, who are changing careers, or who have large gaps in their work history.

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2. Eye-catching operator resume summaries

A resume summary is an introductory statement that starts off your resume with a bang.

When optimally written, an operator’s resume summary will highlight their strengths and specialties, providing enough concise detail to catch the eye of prospective employers.

Here is an example of a weak resume summary, followed by a corrected example and explanation

Incorrect operator professional summary example

Machine Operator with more than 5 years of experience monitoring and managing the use of heavy equipment in an industrial setting. Holds certifications in 3 types of machinery. Passionate about waste reduction.

Why is this Incorrect?

When writing a resume summary, it is important to be as clear and specific as possible. Rather than simply stating they have 3 certifications, the applicant should offer the specific names and certifying institutions. Additionally, they should expand upon how their passion for waste reduction relates to their position as a machine operator.

Corrected operator professional summary example

Motivated Machine Operator with 5+ years of experience monitoring and managing industrial heavy equipment. Certified Escort Vehicle Operator, Excavator Operator, and Mobile Crane Operator. Passionate about industrial waste reduction, researching and implementing techniques that achieved a reduction of 10% in operational and resource expenses.

Why is this Correct?

This corrected is example is much more compelling and specific in the details it provides. The applicant demonstrates their wide range of knowledge through the certifications and how they apply their passion to benefit the company.

3. Key technical and interpersonal skills for operators

As a machine operator, you need an immense amount of technical abilities to properly use, monitor, and manage heavy equipment. However, it would be wise to include interpersonal skills on your resume as well – the abilities such as communication that allow you to properly work with other people.

Though you want a heavy emphasis on your technical skills on an operator’s resume, your interpersonal skills have a time and place as well – namely, in the work experience section and resume summary. Rather than detailing these abilities in your skills section, you can utilize them to boost your other sections’ descriptions of your strengths.

With this in mind, here are 10 technical skills and 10 interpersonal skills for operators:

The best technical skills to put on your operator resume

  • Physical strength
  • Heavy equpiment operation
  • Monitoring Heavy Equipment
  • Reading and assessing blueprints
  • Managing schematics
  • Training junior/apprentice operators
  • Setting up and breaking sown equipment
  • Routine inspection procedures
  • Assessing and reporting safety hazards
  • Improvement proposals


Effective operator interpersonal skills for your CV

  • Active istening
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Complex problem solving
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Enthusiasm
  • Collaboration
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong work ethic

4. Operator work experience sections that impress

As an operator, your relevant work experience is some of the most important information to include on your resume. Operating heavy machinery is a highly technical position and employers want to know that their future employees have the capabilities and competency to carry out the job.

When writing your descriptions for past work experiences, the key is to include specific details and quantifiable accomplishments to impress employers.

Here is an example of a strong work experience entry from an operator resume

Smith Industries, Inc., Chicago, IL
Machine Operator
March 2016 to June 2019

  • Monitored and managed the operation of over 8 machines on a daily basis, including excavators and drills.
  • Reduced operational costs by more than 15% by implementing a new time management and scheduling system that maximizes efficiency while minimizing material waste.
  • Sourced a new fuel provider for gas-powered equipment, resulting in a 10% decrease in fuel expenditures.  

5. Essential educational credentials for operators

To become a professional operator, you need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, as well as complete a heavy equipment training and certification program.

In some instances, companies may be hiring apprentice or entry-level operators in which necessary training and certification are provided.

Here are examples of well-crafted education and certifications sections on an operator resume


Mayview High School
Marion, NC

  • Graduated: 2015
  • GPA: 7


  • Heavy Machinery License - Heavy Equipment Colleges of America, 2022
  • Certified Excavator - Carolina Equipment Training


Published on Dec. 23, 2021

A documentary photographer and writer. Noel has worked for International publications like Deutsche Welle in Germany to News Deeply in New York. He also co-founded the global multimedia project Women Who Stay and collaborated as a journalist fellow with the University of Southern California. He went from traveling around the world to sitting on a couch thanks to the pandemic, but he gets to help other people actually do things (like find jobs) thanks to Kickresume, so he won't complain.

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