Important Skills for Maintenance and Janitorial Jobs

maintenance man fixing overhead light in office

SolStock/ E+ / Getty Images

When you're applying for jobs, there are skills that can improve your chances of getting hired for maintenance and janitorial work. Most janitorial jobs don't require a formal education, and you typically learn on the job. Building maintenance work typically requires a high school diploma, but you can also get on-the-job training.

However, the more skills and experience you have to offer a potential employer, the better your chances of getting the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts above-average job growth of about 4% over the next few years in the areas of janitorial and building cleaning, as well as general maintenance and repair. The healthcare industry, in particular, will grow, along with the need for these kinds of workers to clean and maintain their medical offices and hospital buildings.

What are Maintenance and Janitorial Skills?

Maintenance and janitorial skills are those related to repairing and maintaining the function and/or cleanliness of equipment, buildings, and machinery. Such skills are in high demand across the country, ranging from plumbers to carpenters to custodians. 

Types of Maintenance and Janitorial Skills

Below is a list of the most important skills that most employers seek in candidates. It also includes sublists of related maintenance and janitorial skills.

Develop these skills and emphasize them in job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews. Showing that you have the skills the company is seeking will help you get hired and promoted.

Administrative Skills

Janitorial and maintenance work is not only about cleaning. Someone has to organize what work needs to be done and when and where to do it. Cleaning supplies must be tracked, schedules set, and records kept, including:

  • Inventory
  • Monetary Exchange
  • Ordering Supplies
  • Permits
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Record Keeping
  • Scheduling

Advanced Maintenance Skills

These advanced skills can give you an edge in securing work at companies that need more than basic cleaning. As part of a building maintenance team, you'll be the go-to person for attending to minor repairs to structures and special maintenance projects, keeping the building in good shape and carrying out timely repairs, including:

Basic Cleaning Skills

Let employers know if you have specialized knowledge or experience with cleaning supplies. Some employers prefer to use "green" cleaning solutions, for example. Include this list of basic cleaning skills:

  • Buffing
  • Chemical Use
  • Cleaning
  • Dusting
  • Mopping
  • Polishing Furniture
  • Safety
  • Sanitation
  • Scrubbing
  • Sweeping
  • Washing Floors
  • Washing Windows
  • Waxing

Interpersonal Skills

With many janitorial and maintenance jobs, you'll be working as part of a team, so you'll need to get along with all your team colleagues. In some cases, you'll also interact directly with a company's customers, especially if you're on the job during business hours. And if you have aspirations of rising up the ranks to a supervisory position, excellent interpersonal skills will help you get there, including:

  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Following Instructions
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Service
  • Supervising
  • Teamwork

Repair and Maintenance

In larger companies, you'll need to maintain the equipment you use to clean and maintain the buildings and grounds. The skills in this list tell potential employers that you'll be their go-to person to keep their equipment humming. If you have experience with specific brands of equipment that have special maintenance requirements, let employers know. Be sure to include these skills if you have them:

  • Building Repair
  •  Electrical Repairs
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Fixing Tools
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Maintenance
  • Mechanical Aptitude
  • Refurbishing
  • Repairing Electrical Fixtures
  • Tools

How To Make Your Skills Stand Out

ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: Include the terms most closely related to the job in your resume, especially in the description of your work history.

HIGHLIGHT SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Incorporate your maintenance and janitorial skills into your cover letter. Include one or two skills, and give specific examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits at work.

USE SKILL WORDS DURING JOB INTERVIEWS: You can also use these words in your job interviews. Share examples of skills that are closely related to the job.