Even though the logistics industry is growing, finding a job in this field takes a bit of preparation on your part. If you’re not prepared, you’re simply not going to find a job. And, as we discovered, a big reason hiring managers will choose one candidate over another is preparation.
The job search process is a job in itself. It can be frustrating, time-consuming, and sometimes, just down right exhausting. But if you have all your ducks in a row, you might find the process less stressful. Let us help you get a foot in the door, and navigate the process from start to finish, by following our tips, tricks, and how-to’s.
- Tip #1: Determine Your Career Goals And Design An Action Plan.
- Tip #2: Write An Effective And Professional Resume.
- Tip #3: Learn How To Network And Market Yourself.
- Tip #4: Research Potential Employers And Begin A Relationship With Them.
- Tip #5: Seek Advice From A Recruiter Or Trusted Mentor.
Tip #1: Determine Your Career Goals And Design An Action Plan.
To reach your career goals in logistics, you must define your ambitions. Do you want to run the company, or do you want to specialize in a particular field? What are your short-term and long-term goals? Sit down and write out a career plan detailing what you want to achieve, then brainstorm ideas for how you’ll get there.
If you’re unsure of your career goals, that’s okay. While earning a degree in logistics, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore your interests. The degree programs listed below can lead to a variety of career options in logistics, supply chain, and other related fields.
Sponsored Logistics Programs
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
- BS in Supply Chain Management and Logistics
- BS in Business Process Management
- MBA in Project Management
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
- BS in Logistics/Supply Chain Management
- MBA in Logistics Management
- MBA in Operations & Supply Chain Management
- Bachelors in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
- Bachelors in Procurement & Contracts Management
- Bachelors in Operations Management
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
Entry-level job titles in logistics include van driver, dispatcher, scheduler, expeditor, merchandise buyer assistant, and clerk for distribution, operations, traffic, or import/export. Some entry-level jobs, such as operations research analyst or process associate, may require a bachelor’s degree or other certifications, so determine your skill sets and educational needs before you begin applying for jobs.
You’ll save yourself time and rejection-related heartache if you limit the scope of your search to what you can realistically accomplish at this point in your career. If you’ve been working in the logistics field for a year or more, assess your experience based on your inside knowledge of the industry.
You’ll also want to read newsletters and trade publications of associations like the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), and the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC). After you’ve whetted your appetite, and gained a working knowledge of the current prevailing logistics ideas and technologies, take it a step further: Research educational programs in your area or online that offer logistics or logistics management programs.
Tip #2: Write An Effective And Professional Resume.
A clean, professional resume is crucial to landing a job in the logistics industry. Career offices and resume help websites can lend plenty of advice, but the basics are simple:
- Keep your resume to two pages or less, and only one page if you’re applying for an entry-level position.
- Include all your contact information, such as a professional email address, and a phone number.
- List specific achievements as well as industry experience. Key accomplishments should be highlighted at the top of each position listed.
- Include logistics industry keywords.
- Include your technology and computer skills.
- Always give your resume to someone else to review – preferably someone who works in human resources or a similar role where they see many resumes and can offer sage advice.
- Triple-check your resume for grammar and typos. Then check it again.
These days, logistics professionals depend on computer system skills to get their jobs done. Learn to work with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Many companies also use computer management systems to keep track of inventory and transportation, so seek out opportunities to work with those systems as soon as possible.
Some job seekers create their own website or blog that functions as an online portfolio. This can be incredibly handy when applying for jobs. Your site can include links to articles you may have written, a PDF of your resume and cover letter, letters of recommendation, and anything else that will make you stand out.
Tip #3: Learn How To Network And Market Yourself.
The cliché is true: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know (though knowing stuff definitely helps). Discuss your career aspirations with someone who currently works in the job you’d like to have, such as a coworker, a family friend, or a connection made through networking.
If you currently work at a logistics company, have a discussion with your boss or a human resource staffer about what you need to do to earn a promotion and set yourself on the right career track. Ask your mentor or coworkers to introduce you to others in the field or at specific companies you’d like to work for. If you attended a school with a career office, contact them to ask for advice and connections to alumni.
It’s also a good idea to attend conferences and professional gatherings. These events are often posted on sites like LinkedIn or in national publications. If these events are open to students, it can’t hurt to attend. Make sure to bring copies of your resume! Just make sure your profile is professional. You want to be searchable, but in a good way.
Tip #4: Research Potential Employers And Begin A Relationship With Them.
Spend time researching companies you’re interested in through their websites. Twenty minutes on a search engine can bring up all sorts of information, including company growth and performance history. Avoid applying to companies that have been cutting jobs or posting declining profits. If the company looks good, check whether they post employment opportunities on their website. Major companies like Wal-Mart have entire pages dedicated to logistics and supply chain employment opportunities.
In your current job, get involved in project-based work and be an active, helpful team member. Take on more responsibility whenever possible, whether that means scheduling, operational management, warehouse inventory, or even innovating new ideas to help make operations more efficient. Successful careers in logistics require a wide range of skills, so be enthusiastic about taking on any new responsibility.
Also, make sure to create an online profile on sites like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a widely used social media platform for working professionals. It is also widely accepted tool for building a professional network. You can connect your network of trusted colleagues to others’ network in a safe environment. You can even apply for jobs through LinkedIn.
It’s also good to know what areas of the country have the the highest employment level in this occupation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a helpful map illustrating where employment levels are strong (source: BLS.gov: Occupational Employment And Wages: Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers, data for May 2017).
There are many different job search websites out there. Just make sure you find ones that are legitimate and don’t require you to pay a fee to apply for jobs. If you’re unsure, it’s probably a scam. When in doubt, avoid these sites at all cost. Instead, as your professors for suggestions on job search websites. If you’re interning, ask around for leads. You never know who is hiring and who they are looking for!
Tip #5: Seek Advice From A Recruiter Or Trusted Mentor.
Upper-level logistics managers and industrial production planners, who can exercise more latitude and creativity in their daily tasks, can earn six-figure salaries with just five to 10 years of experience (usually with a bachelor’s degree in an area of specialty).
As soon as you land an entry-level job, be the model employee: Show up on time, dress and behave appropriately, and demonstrate an insatiable desire to learn and mature. Your growing knowledge of logistics concepts, practices, and procedures, and your increasing experience in the field, will help you excel. This is especially true if you are a team player, and display the attitude of a generally likeable person.
Once you land an interview for a job in logistics, take time to prepare. Review common interview questions and practice your answers, including ways to highlight your achievements and downplay any gaps in experience. Research the company so you can ask questions that indicate you’ve taken a real interest in this particular company and this particular job. Dress appropriately and display confidence in yourself and your skill set. Remember: You need to be the right fit for the company, but the company needs to be a fit for you too.