4 Questions to Ask to Find Out if a Career in Logistics is Right for You.
Whether by land, air or sea, the flow of goods never stops. And there are many smart, hard-working logisticians to thank for it. Someday, you might even be part of the growing group of people who have carved out a career in logistics. But how do you know if it’s the right choice? These four questions (and answers) may help you find out.
1. What skills do I need?
Many skills or traits are transferrable from one career to the next. But time and again, I’ve seen logisticians thrive when they can bring four key skills to the job:
Entrepreneurial spirit. Let’s start off with a skill that’s inherent in some of us but difficult to teach. You’re in full control of your career as a logistician, so those with an unflinching drive to succeed have a significant advantage. After all, you’re accountable for your own book of business. Build it and you’ll have even more opportunities to expand your skills, responsibilities and salary.
Attention to detail. A single missed detail, such as a misplaced decimal point or a forgotten phone call, could derail an entire shipment and cause significant hardship for consumers, carriers, businesses and your employer. You’ll be rewarded if you can perform everyday tasks consistently and efficiently.
Adaptability. You’re a problem solver. Some logistics problems can be avoided with proactive strategies. Others will pop up when you least expect them. You’ll need to adapt quickly to a wide range of challenges with confidence. With so much at stake, logistics isn’t for those who want to punch out at the same time every day. Personally, I’m inspired and energized by a wide range of new challenges and opportunities. How about you?
Collaborative. Even though a career in logistics offers autonomy, most successful logisticians enjoy a collaborative environment. Whether you’re in a customer-facing role or helping behind the scenes, it’s critical to earn the trust of those around you.
2. What type of growth opportunities can I expect?
Is money your priority? Responsibility? Stability? Don’t worry, you don’t have to decide right now. In fact, it’s easy enough to choose all three — or something else entirely. A career in logistics offers incredible flexibility, so you can pursue what’s most important at any time.
Many logisticians gain experience and move into account manager roles with more direct interactions with customers. They often collaborate with internal teams to meet the everyday needs of clients. Sales teams drive new customer relationships and opportunities, showcasing the operations side of the business.
For those who enjoy digging deeper into the numbers, they can specialize in forecasting, reporting or capacity. Other logisticians move into management, where they can devise and implement more strategic initiatives for the rest of the team.
Or, perhaps you found your dream job out of the gate. And that’s fine, too. Whatever you decide, you’ll be in charge with nearly unlimited options for future growth.
3. Do I enjoy using new technologies?
Automation is the buzzword of the industry, from information-sharing apps to real-time tracking devices to self-driving trucks. But people remain at its core. That’s why the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% growth at least through the next decade. The savviest and most successful logisticians will continue to accommodate evolving technologies to perform everyday tasks more quickly and consistently.
4. Can I handle the pressure?
Timing is everything. From dock workers to drivers to consumers, every person in the supply chain follows a tight freight schedule — and you’re responsible for timely, cost-effective delivery. They’re all depending on you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of freight delivery. But it’s critical to think proactively. Study the trends. Follow the forecasts. And devise new plans and contingencies to ensure your team can meet customer demands consistently regardless of the unforeseen challenges you’re sure to encounter.
Find the best fit.
Maybe you already know that a career in logistics is right for you. Do you know where you want to work? The growing industry offers an incredible range of potential employers, including small specialized shops with only a few logisticians, mid-sized companies that combine trucking assets with logistics and massive logistics corporations with hundreds or even thousands of employees.
Reach out to the various companies. Speak to current employees. Find out what it’s like to work there, what the company values and what type of career growth opportunities it offers. Right now, there’s an abundance of opportunities for smart, determined people seeking a career in logistics. Ready to get started?
Hannah Cannington, Director of Talent and Development, AMX
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