March 2001 | How-To | Ten Tips

Your Dream Logistics Job: Make it Happen!

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The new breed logistics professional has a four-year degree, analytical and technological skills, supply chain knowledge and line management leadership. There's a shortage of these professionals at all levels, creating tremendous career opportunities.

If you are looking to capitalize on this opportunity, you need to review your career aspirations and develop a game plan to achieve your goals. Don Firth, president, JobsInLogistics.com, offers the following tips to help you find your dream job in logistics.

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 long-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 long-term goals? Is your company willing to sponsor you to improve your education and skills? You can also take courses on your own. Many universities and colleges offer part-time logistics management programs. Industry associations such as the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, Warehousing Education and Research Council, and American Production and Inventory Control Society, provide excellent courses in logistics-related fields. You can keep abreast of new ideas and technology by reading trade magazines and newsletters.

3. Assess opportunities within your current company. Plot a potential career path. Will there be new opportunities there, or do you need to wait for someone to retire? Express interest in career advancement with your boss or with the human resource department. Learn what you need to do to earn a promotion.

4. Get involved in project work. Demonstrate your capabilities and learn from others by becoming an active team member in logistics projects. You'll gain invaluable experience by participating in logistics improvement initiatives, such as evaluating strategic supply chain networks, improving warehouse layouts, reducing inventories, and improving fleet performance.

5. Develop computer and systems skills.To advance in logistics management, you need 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, but you need to develop expertise in the use of inventory management, warehouse management and/or transportation management systems.

6. Prepare a professional resume. Maintain a professional looking, up-to-date resume at all times. You never know when that dream opportunity calls. Make your resume no longer than two pages. List your responsibilities, but even more importantly, indicate your achievements. For example: "Reduced annual labor costs by $700,000 through implementing engineered standards." Check your resume for grammar and typos, and make sure the presentation is well laid out. Get professional advice if necessary.

7. Use Internet career boards. Online career boards can be your fastest link to jobs available. Conduct a job search, and apply for jobs online. Post your resume. Many services are free for job seekers.

8. Research companies online. Many companies post employment opportunities on their web sites. Read about the company. Check 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. Prepare 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 two-way street. Ask questions about the company and its corporate culture. Make sure this is the right company for you and that you feel comfortable with your new potential boss.

10. Assess the opportunity. Now that you have been offered a new job, take inventory. Is this is the right job for you and your family? Is it challenging enough? Will you enjoy the new job more than your current job? Are there advancement possibilities? Is it a positive stepping stone to achieve your career goals? Is the money adequate? If you get all green lights, go for it. Make it happen.

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