Like any new career path, getting a job at the end of your training takes some time, effort and importantly, your confidence. There’s many logistics jobs out there from a logistics coordinator or logistics manager to a warehouse operative or a freight forwarder. There’s no magic answer to the question of how to get a job in importing and exporting but here’s our top tips to help you on your way to your dream job but more importantly, how to handle it when you’re asked the dreaded question, “Do you have any experience?”.
What Kind of Logistics Jobs Are There?
Logistics Jobs London
Firstly, decide on an area of jobs in logistics that interests you and you’ve a good knowledge on, for example, “mobile phone accessories”.
Head over to Google and search for, “importers and exporters of mobile phone accessories”. Consider narrowing your search down to a location, if you live in London, add this to your search term or logistics jobs Birmingham, logistics jobs Liverpool, you get the idea.
These days, it’s possible to get a job in logistics and work remotely without issues so you may decide you’re not tied down to a location and search internationally. Remote working is fast becoming the norm, so consider this, there are some great advantages in having the freedom to work from anywhere.
You can also do the same and search for freight forwarders and clearing agents as potential employers.
Create a spreadsheet of logistics companies in your chosen field and enter their contact details (website, email, phone number, location). At this starting point, create as wide of a net of potential employers as possible, it’s a numbers game, the more companies you contact, the higher the chances of a job offer.
LinkedIn and Facebook are great resources that you should spend some time researching, join groups, search for posts on LinkedIn and connect with companies and people.
You should be attempting to build a network, so make contact with people and join online discussions. It’s so important to start doing this from day one and it really will reap rewards later. Going it alone will be a lot more difficult.
Chambers of Commerce And Logistic Careers
Chambers of Commerce are an invaluable resource for anyone in the import and export business and looking for logistics jobs. Leaning on the chambers is something that you should learn to do as they are always happy to help, it’s what they’re there for.
So a great way to start your career is to contact your local Chambers of Commerce and ask for a list of their members who import and export and are in the field of international trade. Add these companies to your spreadsheet as they’ll be local to you so these are good companies to take a closer look at.
Ask the name of the person you’re talking to and introduce yourself. Let them briefly know who you are and that you’re looking for logistics jobs and try and build somewhat of a personal relationship with your contact. It can go a long way in future to have someone in the chamber that will help you on a slightly more personal level.
Building your network and business relationships will be very important so start from day one.
Recruitment Agencies For Logistics
Registering with logistics recruitment agencies is a proactive action to take. Again, start with Google and search for, ” logistics recruitment agencies london “.
As mentioned before, you may also want to search without location if you are aiming to work remotely.
Make a list of the most credible agencies and contact them, registering your details. Ask them for their advice on what you can do to maximise your chances of finding employment and follow those guidelines.
Contact them weekly and ask if there are any new opportunities that have become available, which will help keep you fresh in the agencies mind when new jobs are listed with them.
Check out job search sites like www.monster.com, online sites that post logistics jobs as well as for employers to search for candidates. Make sure to open an account and add your CV to your profile as employers often look here for logistic recruitment they have a chance to find you and make contact with you.
Logistics Jobs Near Me
Let your friends, family and current network know you’re looking for at careers in logistics and transport, even if just temporary why you get started. Post it to your status on your Facebook page and LinkedIn profile.
You may find that someone in your network sees something and shares your profile with that company or vice versa. It’s surprising how a friend of a friend can sometimes help you when you least expect it.
Job Search Logistics Starts Here
A Rock Solid Curriculum Vitae
Consider this, it’s an important point; your potential employer will not be interviewing only you for that one logistic job. This may sound obvious but reflect on this for a moment. Your new potential boss may look at 30 CV’s of more and interview around 10 candidates.
You need to be confident and believe in yourself and your ability to do the job but you’ll get nowhere without a CV. This is the first real point of contact you’ll have with your new potential boss and remember they’ll look at perhaps 20 or 30 CV’s selecting maybe 5-10 from that pool to interview, so make your CV stand out.
Do not download a CV template from the internet, they’re all the same and more suited for the American employment market (not so much of a problem if you’re in the US!). There’s absolutely nothing individual about them and you’ll increase your chances of falling at the first hurdle.
You May Not Be Quite That Interesting
Be original, compose your CV in your own words and remember to sell yourself. Your CV should be no longer than two pages as believe it or not, your potential employer will probably not find you as interesting as you do, so won’t want to read through 10 pages about your life.
They want to cut to the chase, who are you? What training do you have? Do you have any experience? Why should they consider you for an interview?
Take time, think about your personal qualities and make sure to include them. Don’t just include, ” enthusiastic and driven ”, “ team player ”, and “ always reach the targets set ”, as so does everyone else. Be unique and be individual.
Make It About Logistics
Customise your CV for the company you’re applying for. Think twice about sending the same CV to every company you apply to. If you’re applying for logistics jobs specialising in mobile phone accessories, tailor your CV for this. If you have a particular love or understanding of tech products, express this. If you are perhaps already buying and selling these products, even on a small scale, mention it.
If you’re applying for a company exporting carpets from Turkey, there’s no point in including how passionate you are about technology, so change your CV to cater for this. Get the idea?
Read carefully and understand the job description and what duties are required and address those duties in your CV . For example, if the duties include “a thorough knowledge of issuing Bills of Lading is required”, state in your CV that you have an in depth knowledge of Bills of Lading.
Lastly, proof read, get friends and family to proof read for you. There is literally nothing worse or more incompetent than a CV with spelling and grammatical errors. It’s the easiest thing to do make sure doesn’t happy and many neglect this simple but it’s an absolutely vital part of writing your CV.
Sending Out Your CV
Persistence and determination are what’s needed when looking for logistics jobs. It’s now time to make contact with company’s and send your CV.
At every point of contact with any company and potential employer, you must ask yourself, “what makes me different from the ten other people that will be interviewed for this job?”. Ask yourself at every junction, how you will show yourself to be different. You need to sell yourself and convince your interviewer to, “employ me because I am the best person for the job”.
Your initial contact with any company, whether by phone or email must be professional and competent. You must show confidence in both yourself as a person as well as for the job you’re applying for. You must believe you’re the best person for the job.
Going back to your spreadsheet, call each company, or if local, it can be a good idea to actually go into the office and introduce yourself. Whether you call or actually visit, ask for the name and contact details of the person responsible for hiring. If you’re given those details, ask to speak to that person. Note their name and contact number and/or email in your spreadsheet.
If you’re able to speak to them, introduce yourself, let them know you’re looking for work within the company and what training you have and why you want a role with them. Try and show some knowledge of their company, even if it’s basic knowledge from just reading their website.
Next, send an email to your contact (or HR department) with a well written email, introducing yourself and attach your CV. Ask to be considered for any current or future positions and again, show some knowledge of the company and why you’re going to be an asset for them.
Once you’ve sent the email, make contact in a couple of days and ask if they received your CV and if given the opportunity, talk with your contact confidently. Don’t call every day and become a nuisance but showing some enthusiasm and being keen, is a positive and proactive step to take. Not in your spreadsheet when you contacted them so you don’t forget and you can keep track.
Also mark in your spreadsheet, which companies you’ve submitted your CV to and work your way down the list. Take some time and customise your email for each company, don’t just use the same email for everyone, the same way you shouldn’t always use the same CV. Take some time and put some effort into what you’re doing, it will show individuality and show you’re assertive and professional.
At some point your hard work is going to pay off and you’ll be asked for an interview.
Well done! Your CV has done the trick and you’ve now been asked for an interview. It’s becoming common these days for this preliminary interview to be done over Skype.
So first things first, research the company. Know their core business, familiarise yourself with what they do, where their markets are, what their products and services are. If you know who is going to be interviewing you, do a little research on that person on LinkedIn or perhaps Facebook. If you know their position in the company and what their responsibilities are, you can address how you can help them personally, perhaps by boosting their sales numbers, productivity or efficiency.
Whether your interview is in person or over Skype, prepare yourself. Ask a friend to act as the interviewer and get them to ask you difficult questions and practice your answers. Make sure you’re able to cover the main questions which are always bound to include why you want to work with this company in the export department and what you can bring to the company. Make you know about their export market.
Look The Part
You’ve got to make a good impression so make sure you look good and look professional. If your interview is in person, wear a suit. It shows you’ve made the effort, you’re professional and you’re taking this opportunity seriously. It may sound silly but if needed, get a haircut and be clean shaven. First impressions count and if you look like you’ve just rolled out of bed, you’ll be sent back home, back to bed.
If you’re interview is over Skype, find a quite place, not a coffee house where it’s loud and you’ll struggle to hear each other. Find somewhere that’s bright and portrays professionalism, don’t interview sitting on your bed in your bedroom. Wearing a full suit for a Skype interview may be overkill but at least where a collared shirt and make sure you look professional.
To complete the interview, be confident! Know that you have researched the company, know what you’re going to offer, know that you have the knowledge and skills to do the job. There is no reason to doubt yourself. Make sure you portray that confidence and it stands out in your interview.
Logistics Jobs Without Experience
Inevitably, you’re going to be asked what experience you have. Not a problem if you have experience obviously but if you don’t, it’s the usual problem of how do you get experience if no one will give you a job without experience?!
The issue for an employer is most commonly that they don’t want to invest a significant amount of time training you and certainly don’t want to hold your hand. Companies and employees are busy and don’t have the time to spend with you day after day. A few days training is normal, getting to know company systems and procedures but they don’t want to teach you how to do the job. Thus, companies want experience.
So, here’s the key and here’s what you need to know about the real-world in an import export company.
I’ve been a consultant since 1989 and visited literally hundreds of companies all over the world. I’d say, in my opinion, around 95% of employees have very limited knowledge of importing and exporting but just enough to do their job competently and keep it.
Employers may believe they need to employ someone with at least two years experience however many of their current employees that had that two years experience, in reality only know perhaps 10% of the total import export process. Sitting at the same desk for years doesn’t necessarily make someone qualified.
Experience is not necessarily time spent behind a desk but the knowledge you gained from being behind the desk and that’s what companies believe gives them the momentum to move forward and grow.
Experience is subjective and this is where you can play your advantage.
If you receive this negative reply from a employment agency or company here’s your answer:
Yes, I obviously don’t have the required two years of experience but I do have a wealth of knowledge within international trade, so I can hit the ground running if you just give me the opportunity join your company. I don’t need you to hold my hand and teach me the job, I just need to learn your company systems and procedures which I’m confident I can learn quickly with minimal guidance. With every job there’s a learning curve but I will learn quickly with minimal disruption to you.
Where this will backfire is if you don’t have the knowledge of international trade and you’re faking it, so make sure you’re not!
This approach works, employers want quick results from new staff so show your confidence and that not only you can do the job but you’ll be a breath of fresh air in the company with your up to date training.
What They Don’t Know About Logistics
There are four main areas in international trade which most companies worldwide don’t have a proper or solid understanding of:
About 70% of the in-house training I’ve done over the last 30 years is on these subjects. I have delivered these training courses worldwide including China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, UAE, Turkey, Nigeria, Italy, Germany, Holland among others.
In your interview be proactive and let your interviewer know that you have a working knowledge of the above subjects and demonstrate your knowledge of the supply chain. Guide the conversation where you can to these subjects and discuss.
A Quick Case Study
After completing our online course, a young student of ours went for her first interview for a position in the import export sales department of a large trading company based in London.
She answered all the stock questions about custom clearance, airway bills and bills of lading but she very much felt she was just one of many interviewees answering the same questions, almost in a test format. Our online course teaches you to be proactive not reactive, which came to her in the interview.
She became proactive at that moment and brought the discussion around to the various types of Letters of Credit, in particular how a knowledge of UCP 600 is vital in preparing documents on a Letter of Credit.
Apparently, the interviewers face lit up and asked what UCP 6OO is. Thankfully her confidence swelled and she enlightened her interviewer. As I mentioned, 95% of employees have limited knowledge of the entire import export process.
Needless to say our glowing student was hired and embarked on her new journey.
Logistics Jobs Salary
The next question to answer is, what is a logistics jobs salary?
That’s a difficult one to answer and depends on various factors, including the job itself and which country you’re seeking employment in and where you are to be based. Obviously the salary of a logistics manager in in India will be different from logistics jobs salary UK.
The only positive answer is that you must be prepared to accept an entry level salary from which it can take approximately six months for you to see if there is a future for you in that company. With most companies, not just in international trade, there’s a 3 – 6 months trial period.
Those six months are really important, don’t underestimate them. Learn all you can from your colleagues within the company, make business contacts with outside companies, constantly work to expand your network and if that job isn’t the right fit for you, your network will be that bit bigger for you to find alternate work if needed.
Got the Logistics Know How?
As with any career or job that you’re going to apply for, it’s fruitless if you don’t have the knowledge to do the job, so make sure you understand the import export process and how this works in a practical manner. Don’t try and fake it. It’s not worth your time nor your potential employers’ and all you’ll do is damage your own reputation and credibility.
If you’re looking to break into international trade as a career or setting up your own business, ABTS Training offers online import export courses, taught with a series of pre-recorded videos. Study at your own pace, no deadline to finish and lifetime access to your course.
Our courses teach you the practical knowledge you’ll need to know to trade successfully, confidently whilst maximising your profits. Taught by Alan Bracken, with 35+ years of commercial experience in logistics, he skips all the theory you’ll never need to know but teaches you the practical side of how to move your goods around the world.
We were voted Best Trade Education Provider in 2017 by Trade Finance Global and our course has been validated by the London Institute of Shipping and Transport.
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