Those working in the logistics industry aren’t strangers to challenge. With emerging technologies, the rise of e-commerce, employee wage increases, globalization, and other external factors that are impacting day to day workflow, the logistics field is in need of top-notch talent that is motivated to take initiative, to learn, and to succeed.
In this article, we explore six tips for those just starting out in logistics:
1. Put In The Work
In the logistics world, it’s not uncommon for hard workers to work their way up in the company that employs them – beginning as packers or drivers and eventually becoming logisticians.
In her article ‘10 Ways to Steer a Career Drive’, Inbound Logistics writer Tamara Chapman explores the many steps a person can take to accelerate their logistics career. Through this exploration, Chapman interviewed President of Adelante SCM, Adrian Gonzalez, who claims getting your hands dirty is crucial to career nurturing.
Gonzalez also explained that it’s important to prove you not only want to be working in logistics but that you’re willing to work at every level and will put in the hard work it takes to keep up and become successful. In understanding all aspects of the business, a worker can become a leader who displays great empathy, respect, and consideration for all.
“Cherish your time on the front lines. You may not see it now, but it will be extremely valuable later. And embrace those opportunities to get your hands dirty.”
– Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM
2. Invest In Your Analytics Skills
When it comes to the importance of learning, we couldn’t agree more with Gonzalez. It is critical that those interested in expanding their skills are constantly reading, asking questions, and understand how to both read and interpret data.
“It’s increasingly important to take in all the information and effectively analyze it, draw out insights, and then understand what you are going to do with that knowledge, and what action you should take.”
– Adrian Gonzalez
Why? Because the industry is changing rapidly, and if you don’t work hard to keep up, you’ll get left behind. In other words, you want to be a worker who is seen as a problem solver, not just a problem identifier.
When it comes to schooling, Dr. Kostas Selviardis, programme director of the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Lancaster University Management School says:
“A Masters degree provides a framework for developing the knowledge and skills required for a successful and rewarding career in logistics and supply chain management. More broadly, a postgraduate degree in logistics and supply chain management helps graduates to advance their careers and secure promotion.”
However, there are plenty of positions in logistics that do not require a university degree – they simply demand a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
3. Improve Your Resume
A resume is more than a piece of paper that lists your career history. A resume is a tool for marketing yourself to those who may be interested in hiring you for a specific job.
To optimize your chances of being hired, your resume should always be tailored toward the person who will be reading it; as well as to the job you are looking to score an interview for.
The general format of your resume should include:
- Your Career Objective
- Education History
- Work Experience
- Competitive Edge/ Skills
In many cases, providing a cover letter can also set you apart from other candidates applying for the same position. However, it is important to read all instructions provided by the hiring company – as some businesses require additional application materials such as filling out an online form, submitting a portfolio, providing a background check, etc.
Below are a few examples of Logistics Manager resumes published by dayjob.com.
When it comes to schooling the logistics field, some recruiters look for those with specific degrees in logistics, transport, or supply chain management. However, most others are open to degrees and experience of all types.
As identified in the article ‘Why Choose a Career in Logistics and Supply Chain Management,’ transferable skills include:
- Problem Solving
- Quick Thinking
At the end of the day, logistics providers want to hire people who are willing to do what it takes to be competent, efficient, and dedicated at work.
4. Learn The Lingo & Know What Is Relevant
If you aren’t aware of what’s going on in the industry, it’s time to get researching! With many valuable online resources, there’s no excuse to be uninformed when attempting to immerse yourself in the industry.
To get started, we’ve pulled some links from a few of our own blog articles:
- 5 Ways Railways Have Changed The Game For Logistics Intermodal Strategies In Canada
- What The $15 Minimum Wage Increase Means For Logistics Management Companies
- Small Logistics Fulfillment: When Is It Worth It?
- Holiday Ecommerce: Where Do All The Unwanted Gifts Go?
- 6 Reasons To Consider Internet Fulfillment
- The Advent of Uber Freight
5. Network With Industry Professionals
In this day and age, networking is essential to career growth, relationship building, and better business. To get started, we suggest investing some time in tailoring your LinkedIn profile to your desired logistics job, to connect with your co-workers past and present, to share LinkedIn articles that are applicable to your field, and to get commenting on the posts of others!
Outside of online networking, we also suggest that you look into attending various logistics-focused conferences, open houses, and webinars – you never know whom you might meet!
To get started, check out McKenna Logistics President John McKenna’s LinkedIn page as well as the McKenna Logistics LinkedIn business page. Also, feel free to check out some of these annual conferences:
- Canada Logistics Conference
- Retail Supply Chain Conference
- Logistics Summit & Expo
- Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) Conference
- The Logistics & Supply Chain Forum
For a more robust list, visit Talking Logistics.
6. Develop Your Interview Skills
When was the last time you practiced your interview skills? For those out of practice, it can be worth interviewing for a few jobs you may not be sure about – just to sharpen your interview skills.
We also suggest asking a friend to help you set up a fake interview session. By asking you questions and seeing how you respond, they can provide helpful feedback that will help prepare you for the real thing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Arrive early to your interview
- Consider your nonverbal communication (limit nervous tapping, etc.)
- Talk slowly and clearly
- Dress in professional business wear
- Arrive groomed (clean shaven, hands clean, etc.)
- Ask informed questions about the position, industry, and what it’s like to work at the company
- Don’t act too confident that it borders being cocky
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to take a moment to think
- Try not to ramble
Reasons to Work in Logistics
Whether you want to become a truck driver, a shipping clerk, a material recorder, or a logistician, there are plenty of opportunities in the logistics field just waiting for YOU!
Below we’ve outlined just four of the main reasons you should consider applying for a job in logistics:
1. Innovation is Ongoing
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to emerging technologies and innovation in logistics.
2. There’s Opportunity to Grow
Career development is expanding in the logistics industry – for all people, including for those without university degrees, and for women!
3. Careers are Fast-Paced
In other words, you’ll almost never be bored!
4. The People are Awesome!
Most people love their jobs because of the people they get to work with – and logistics is a true testament of that.
Join The McKenna Team
We are always looking for talented and experienced individuals to join our team. If you are interested in a fulfilling career alongside an exceptional team of logistics professionals, we’d like to hear from you.
We welcome you to submit your resume and any other information that would help us determine your fit for our open positions. We will only respond to applicants we are interested in meeting with
Please submit information to: firstname.lastname@example.org