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How to Get a Job in Transportation or Logistics

Nov 15, 2010

shipping-job-interview.jpgEvery year the globe shrinks just a bit more, or so it seems, and markets around the world become accessible to U.S. exports.  As the economy also becomes more global, transportation jobs will become a larger sector of every economy.  If you are looking for a job in transportation or logistics, this article will help you know what path to take to land the job you want.  Currently in the U.S. more than 25,000 companies and recruiting agencies are seeking qualified applicants to place in a wide variety of transportation jobs that include not just logistics but driving truck for Ftl and Ltl carriers, work in warehouses, shipping yards, and onboard ocean vessels.

One of the ways we know that this is a growing industry is that colleges and universities around the country are expanding their educational programs and scholarship/funding programs in fields that will produce more transportation jobs.  They see the worldwide growth and are hoping to become known as providers of the education required to land the jobs.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts over 100,000 new transportation jobs by 2014.

Logistics and transportation jobs cover a wide spectrum of employment opportunities.  These include obvious jobs like driving a truck for Ftl or Ltl carriers, working in a shipyard, container yard or warehouse, or working as a shipping clerk.  Transportation jobs that are more behind the scenes are found in shipping offices of Ltl carriers or working for third party transportation brokers who arrange international freight shipping for their customers.

For most transportation jobs, having a high school degree or equivalent is the place to start.  In a competitive job market employers need to see that as a first step.  Beyond that, having college class work or a degree will give you a leg up on the competition.  It makes sense to look into one of the expanding programs a college or university near you is offering.

The field of transportation logistics is quite complex.  Many of the jobs of this type are found in companies known as transportation brokers that work with carriers to get shipments delivered promptly, securely and at the lowest cost possible.  Imagine being asked to arrange for an international freight shipment of agricultural chemicals from Carbondale, Illinois to Sao Paolo, Brazil.  The logistics would include the use of Ltl carriers and freight trains just to handle the physical aspects of the deal.  Special handling of the hazardous materials would have to be provided for.  The paperwork required would involve documentation that the U.S. government requires as well as documents that would allow the chemicals to get through customs in Brazil.  The load would need to be insured as well as properly packaged and palletized.

Arranging for local shippers to warehouse or transport the international freight might require the use of a translator to work with local businesses.  These are just a few of the complexities involved in transportation jobs related to logistics.  If you pursue work in these fields a high school education is just the beginning.  It will serve you well to have an associate’s degree or higher, outstanding computer skills, solid communication skills, math capabilities and a professional demeanor.  Being able to speak Portuguese or Spanish as well as English will be a great advantage.  Other foreign language capabilities that will help you land work in the transportation jobs industry include Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, and more.

Your future in the transportation jobs and logistics field begins with getting a solid education.  While you are completing that education it would make sense to work with recruiting services that make it their business to be aware of transportation jobs that are available in the U.S. and abroad.  Carriers and transportation brokers often list their available jobs with these companies and they provide a valuable service to both the company and to prospective employees.