Women fell behind this past year in wages and employment in cleaning and janitorial jobs, an industry battered by the closure of hotels and restaurants.
Female workers lost cleaning positions at a greater rate than men in 2020, and they saw a slight decline in wages, according to a LiveCareer analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
As the economy continues to bounce back, however, the hospitality industry that employs most cleaners and housekeepers desperately needs workers. Some businesses are offering wage increases and hiring bonuses. These jobs are plentiful and barriers to entry — education and skills — are low. Here are five cleaning and janitorial jobs employers are filling right now.
5 cleaning and janitorial jobs women can get now
1. Custodian. The specific tasks of a custodian will depend on where they work. Generally, custodians are in charge of cleaning and assisting with their workplace's maintenance.
For example, an office building custodian will clean and mop the floors, but they may also paint rooms and perform light repair work if it's needed. To perform this role, you may need some training in plumbing, electrical working, or painting.
2. House cleaner. Help multiple clients keep their space tidy and clean as a house cleaner. Compared to a housekeeper, house cleaners can have multiple clients they visit weekly, and they bring their own equipment and cleaning products. Cleaners may work for a cleaning company and with a team or themselves, so opening your own business is possible.
3. Janitor. Janitors keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition. They're tasked with gathering and emptying trash, sweeping, mopping or vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, stocking them with supplies, and sometimes even doing outdoor work, such as mowing lawns and sweeping sidewalks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this essential job is projected to grow 4% by 2029, as janitorial services will be needed to meet the continued demand for clean spaces.
4. Housekeeper. Usually hired by a hospitality establishment or a family, housekeepers are typically in charge of general day-to-day cleaning, picking up clutter, and changing bed sheets. If hired by a family, they're also responsible for cooking and preparing meals, doing laundry, and running errands for the family, among other tasks — some housekeepers even live in their client's home. It's a role that doesn't require formal education or a lot of prior experience.
5. Housekeeping supervisor. Hotel housekeeping supervisors hire, train, and manage housekeeping staff, so previous experience in housekeeping is necessary. They're involved in the hiring process, create employee schedules, and ensure cleaning supplies are fully stocked. Because hotels are open 24 hours a day, housekeeping supervisors may find themselves working nights, holidays and weekends.
Typically, a high school diploma is the only educational requirement, but some employers may prefer candidates with at least an associate degree in hospitality management.
How to write a cleaning and janitorial resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
If you haven't worked in the cleaning and janitorial industry before, you might want to consider using a functional resume to highlight your skills. Focus on transferable skills that will help you in the new job. These skills may include great communication, physical stamina, customer service, excellent time management, attention to detail, and, in some cases, knowledge of power tools.
Here's an example of what a functional cleaning and janitorial resume might look like:
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
The best of both worlds, the combination resume puts equal emphasis on your skills and work experience. You should focus on the skills that are most relevant to the job you're applying for, like carpet cleaning, sweeping, or hardwood floor polishing. Your work history should also show the hiring manager how you've been growing in the industry and progressing toward the position you're looking for.
Here's an example of what a combination resume might look like:
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
The chronological resume is all about showing your career progression. It puts at the front and center your extensive work experience, showing how you grew into a career professional over the years and why the next job is the most logical next step.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain employment gaps on a cleaning resume
Explaining employment gaps in your resume is a lot easier than you think. Additionally, the pandemic led to millions getting laid off, and the cleaning industry, particularly the people hired to work in the hospitality sector, weren't immune to the financial impact.
If you have gaps between employment, start by redefining your meaning of work. Experience doesn't necessarily have to come from a professional job. Here are a few things that could help you:
- Volunteer work is a great way to explain downtime between jobs. Consider helping members of your community by cleaning their homes or reaching out to nonprofit organizations that might need an extra hand.
- Stay up to date with the latest cleaning and sanitizing practices by following educational courses, training and business resources provided by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. OSHA also provides great online courses.
- Learn new skills and cleaning methods that you can add to your resume. If you learned how to properly treat wood, use new power tools or fix basic things, add them to the skills section of your resume.
Finding a cleaning and janitorial job with a flexible schedule
If a flexible schedule is a must for you, you'll be happy to know that many jobs in the cleaning and janitorial industry offer flexible hours throughout the week. While some housekeeping jobs may be full-time or require you to work weekends and holidays, there are other roles that only need you there during the night, early morning or a couple of times a week. Whatever your needs may be, make sure to establish them politely during your interview. This will set the tone of your professional relationship.
In the end, considering the unique challenges women face getting back into the workforce, finding a job is not the only concern. The job has to work for you, your schedule and your needs. Creating a resume that's tailored for jobs currently available is a major step in the right direction.