Manual labor jobs are essential for many industries and integral to our economy. Manual labor jobs often involve physically demanding tasks and require a high level of skill and expertise. However, many people may have questions about these jobs, such as what’s considered manual labor, what qualifications and skills are needed, the level of physical exertion, and more.

Here, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about manual labor jobs. Whether you are considering a manual labor job or are simply curious about these types of jobs, we hope to provide you with valuable insights and information. Let’s get started!

What is the definition of manual labor?

Manual labor is defined as work that requires physical skill and energy, but some people are a little loose with their descriptions of manual labor jobs. For instance, some might consider a cashier or checkout position in a retail store to be a manual labor job even if it really doesn’t require as much physical energy as an inventory warehouse worker in the back of the same store.

What are some examples of manual labor jobs?

Here are a few examples of manual labor jobs that we regularly hire and place for:

How should I dress for a manual labor interview?

The age-old saying “look good, feel good” definitely applies to all interviews – even for manual labor jobs! You should plan to dress nicely no matter what the job is. It’s always better to be overdressed than under. When you look good, you’ll feel good and you’ll naturally be more confident. It also signals that you’re serious about getting to work which will increase your chances of getting hired.

Read our 8 Interview Tips to Help you Land the Job

Does manual labor make you stronger?

​Yes! The most obvious benefit of working a manual labor job is getting more exercise. It makes sense that being on your feet, moving, lifting, and doing general physical activity all day will burn calories and contribute to muscle growth. Make no mistake, working a manual labor position will not replace regular exercise or cure you of all ailments, but physical work definitely offers more opportunities for burning calories than sedentary desk jobs. As with any physical activity, injuries can happen. Be sure to do daily stretches before and after your shift and follow all safety guidelines to keep you out of harm’s way.

What are the differences between manual labor jobs and office jobs?

Office jobs typically require sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day leading to a more sedentary lifestyle that can even negatively affect your health in some cases. It’s also common for office workers to have thousands of dollars of debt from certifications and college tuition that must eventually be paid off.

Manual labor jobs also require long hours and can be more physically taxing. Manual labor allows you to learn new skills that strengthen the mind and body. Oftentimes these skills are also applicable to both professional and personal life. Specializations and training certifications can also help further your career and boost your paycheck – for example forklift drivers are a skilled position typically earning more than general labor jobs.

Both manual labor jobs and office jobs have their pros and cons. Each option is valid — it just depends on what type of person you are. If you like to stay active and have tons of energy, then perhaps opting out of the 9-5 office life and getting a manual labor job is the right move for you.

How can I protect my body when working in manual labor?

​Most manual labor or contractor jobs involve loading, unloading and heavy lifting. It’s important to know how to keep your body in tune. A few suggestions include:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow safety guidelines at all times
  • Know how to properly lift heavy items
  • Moisturize – skin health is important
  • Stretch multiple times daily
  • Be sure to listen to your body to avoid overexertion

Can a manual labor job help improve brain cognition?

It’s no secret that lifting, walking, carrying, and other activities that come with manual labor work builds muscles through exercise. But manual labor generally also requires unique cognitive functions, which will improve over time, such as interpersonal skills, situational awareness, contextual application of tools and procedures, and depending on the job, innovation. ​

The Summit Advantage: General Labor Staffing in the Midwest

Our team of recruiters is here to answer any other questions you may have about manual labor. In fact, Summit Staffing has more than 30 years of experience finding the right candidate for the right position and a variety of manual labor positions around Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, contact us!

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