How to best look for that critical first job?


New member
Hello, everyone.

I see there are a lot of professionals here with valuable experience and I was hoping to receive your advice. I am looking into getting my first job in the field and am trying to find out how to best go about it. Please help me get clear, I would be very grateful. Firstly, my qualifications.

  • Two-year Associate degree in International Business Management and a course on import/export. (Bachelor's is in Music.)
  • One year logistics experience in the U.S. Army; however, nothing approaching the complexity of customs clearing. My duties were limited to counting equipment and keeping accountability of weapons. Still, it was a logistical job in nature.
  • Excellent English, Proficient in Greek and German, conversant in Mandarin, if these are helpful.
  • I have lived in Germany and China and am comfortable in new environments and cultures. I can relocate to any place in the world if I obtained employment there.
  • I learn quickly and I have a logical and detailed mind.

I am specifically interested in transportation, be it sea or air freight.

Here are the questions that have been swimming through my mind:

What is the best way to gain an entry level position in the field so I can begin to gain experience with shipping, customs clearance, necessary procedures and forms, etc? What kind of a job would an entry-level job be? A clerical position? How can I best target my search so I can increase my chances of finding work in a place where I can grow and learn? How can I "bootstrap" myself into this industry when I have no experience?

I was thinking of returning to university to get a second Bachelor's in International Business, which contains courses on supply chain management. However, I am very concerned with the use of my time and how to begin gaining real world experience. Would a second degree be practical in this context, or should I try to find a job and then learn as I go?

I was also considering studying for the U.S. Customs Broker license. But, again, with no experience, would this make me marketable to freight forwarding companies and other employers in the transportation industry?

Should I get a good book on ERP? Is this a valuable skill for someone in my situation, i.e. a newcomer to this business?

I have found and posted my resume on numerous logistics job-wanted websites but, at the risk of sounding like I'm repeating a mantra, most jobs require experience. I have made a list of freight forwarding companies with offices in New York and was thinking of walking in cold to ask if they had any positions. Would this be a fruitful strategy or would I be better off preparing myself first, either by some kind of certification or independent study or, as mentioned before, a second Bachelor's degree?

I know every professional here was in my position one day, and I truly appreciate your advice on how to best go about this. I am a very dedicated and hard-working person, and I am viewing transportation not as a job, but as a career.

I look forward to your replies! :)

Starbucks Junkie

Forum Manager
Re: How to best look for that critical first job?

Welcome to the forum...

Given your experince and Qualifications you will struggle, as you have found out, to secure anything other than a Junior position in this industry, I do believe however that you are taking the correct approach with regards to Cold Calling, it certainly shows initiative.

I would also suggest rather than taking the course as suggested in International Business, that you review taking an APICS course, these are industry specific courses and the acreditation attained is internationally recognised within our Industry...

If you Google APICS you will find more about it..

I hope this has helped, and good luck in your study and your job search..



New member
Re: How to best look for that critical first job?


Thank you for your helpful advice. APICS certifications were on my radar but I had no context in which to gauge their value. I will correct my course accordingly.

As far as initial value is concerned, could you compare the APICS CPIM certification (I am not yet eligible for the CSCP) with the U.S. Customs Broker license? At this stage in my career, should I focus on one over the other or does this comparison not apply?

Mr Ortiz

New member
Re: How to best look for that critical first job?

Hi ,

I think you should learn more on the specific role that you would like to have with your future employer. For example if you want to work for a freight forwarding company, do take the time to fully understand how they operate, this way when you cold call it will show confidence and it will show that you have done your research even if you do not have experience.

I think a position an entry level position customer service could be a good start because you interact with various departments and people that have key roles that you may be interested with.

Also the fact that you have knowledge of other languages is a bonus. If your mandarin is good enough to keep a conversation try to improve it it could become handy when working at the international level.


New member
Re: How to best look for that critical first job?

Hi, Hafen

I am at a fairly similar situation as you are! Let me first list out my qualifications:
- Bachelor Science Degree in Applied Math to Statistics
- 1 year experience in customer service (as GM Assistant) in a toy company
- 2 and a half years experience as shipping assistant manager (same company)
Duties: freight management, warehouse management, and minor inventory control.
Side duties: Point-of-Sales report analysis, Sell-Thru Analysis, Licensing coordinator
- I speak English, Cantonese, and Chinese fluently.
- Currently living in California.

Now, with these specs, I have also tried to forward my resume to many logistics/ supply chain related positions so that I could understand more of how the system works. But likely, I couldn't get any luck with them. Thus, i was looking at APICS' website and I am currently considering if I should take the CSCP exam... Honestly, my question would be, "Is this CSCP exam really going to give me an edge in this market?" And I think I know your concern... which could be something like "what do I have to do to give myself some advantage while I have very limited experience in this industry?" Though, I have not figured out an answer for that, I believe going through some certifications is still a fairly good choice because you would still gain the knowledge to SCM (or the field you are interested in) and your efforts also will be acknowledged with a certification that demonstrates your devotion to this industry. Best luck to ur study and career!