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12 Steps to a Better Logistics Career
The key to corporate growth and profitability is to provide top customer service at lowest overall logistics costs. This requires logistics professionals, with analytical and technology skills, supply chain knowledge, practical down-to earth logistics experience and line management leadership. There is a demand for top quality logistics professionals at all levels, including analysts, line supervisors, sales professionals, managers, directors and vice presidents. Salaries range from entry-level positions in the high twenties / low thirties to senior executives, earning well into the six-figures.

Individuals need to review their career aspirations and develop a game plan to achieve their goals. The following twelve steps provide a checklist to make it happen.

1. Develop your career goals. Take a reality check of your knowledge, skills and experience. What are the short-term opportunities? How ambitious are you? What is your longer term potential? How do you get there from here? Develop a career plan to achieve your goals.
2. Obtain the necessary training and education. What skills, knowledge and experience are needed to achieve your longer-term goals? Is your company willing to sponsor you to improve your education and skills? Alternatively, educational courses can be taken on your own volition. Many universities and colleges offer part-time logistics management programs. Associations, such as:
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
Warehousing Education and Research Council
The Educational Society for Resource Management
provide excellent courses in logistics related fields. Read magazines, such as Inbound Logistics to keep abreast of new ideas and technology.
3. Assess opportunities within your current company. Plot a potential career path. Are new opportunities opening regularly, or do you need to wait for someone to retire? Express interest in career advancement with your boss or with the human resource department. Determine what you need to do to obtain a promotion.
4. Get involved in project work. Become an active team member in logistics projects. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities as well as to learn from others. The experience gained from participating in logistics improvement initiatives, such as evaluating strategic supply chain networks, improving warehouse layouts, increasing labor productivity, reducing inventories and improving fleet performance is invaluable. It also looks great on a resume.
5. Develop computer and systems skills. To advance in logistics management, you need to acquire basic computer skills, such as Excel (and/or Lotus), Word and PowerPoint. You also need to be Internet savvy. You do not need to learn how to program. However, you need to develop expertise in the use of inventory management, warehouse management and/or transportation management systems.
6. Prepare a professional resume. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, it is always worthwhile to maintain a professional looking, up-to-date resume. You never know when that dream opportunity will call. The resume should be a maximum of two pages, or three for top-level executives. Don’t just list your responsibilities - indicate your achievements. In addition, check your resume for grammar and typos and make sure the presentation is well laid out. Get professional resume advice as necessary.
7. Go to Check the opportunities available on the Internet. was the first major career site for the logistics profession and is now the largest logistics career board on the Internet. Each month, lists hundreds of new career opportunities. Conduct a job search. Apply for jobs online. Post your resume.
8. Use the Internet to research companies. Most major companies now have Websites. These can easily be found by keying in the company’s name on a search engine, such as or Many will show open positions. Read about the company. Check news stories about the company’s progress and growth performance. The more you know about the company, the better equipped you will be to fare well in an interview, or to avoid boarding a sinking ship.
9. Don’t quit your job yet! Too often employees quit their jobs on a whim. They hate the job, they can’t stand their boss and their career is going nowhere. Then something happens. A bad day. They quit in haste and repent at leisure. They think that they will have more time to spend looking for a better job if they don’t have to spend another day at their dreaded job. They may be right. They will have a lot more time because it will take much more time to secure a position when they are unemployed. Like it or not, recruiters prefer to hire people who are currently employed.
10. Prepare yourself for an interview. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Dress smartly and act confidently. Be prepared to discuss your work history and achievements. Interviewing is a double-edged sword. Ask questions about the company and its corporate culture. Make sure that this is the right company for you and that you feel comfortable working with your new potential boss. Send a "Thank You" letter after the interview. This is not only polite, but also gives you a further opportunity to assert your qualifications and to respond to any issues raised in the interview.
11. Assess the opportunity. Now that you have been offered a new job, stop and take inventory. Is this is the right job for you and your family? Is the job challenging enough? Will you enjoy the new job more than your current job? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is it a positive stepping-stone to achieve your career goals? Is the money adequate? If you are relocating, how comfortable will your family be in the new location?
12. Go for it! If you get all green lights, go for it. Opportunity knocks but rarely. Make it happen!

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