What skills do you need for logistics and transport jobs?

What skills do you need for logistics and transport jobs?

Many areas of the logistics and transport industry are facing a bit of a shortage in terms of skilled professionals as the growth of the industry is outpacing the numbers of experienced workers. This is great news for logistics job-seekers but you’ll need to make sure you demonstrate key competencies in order to get hired.

Despite the variation of roles in the industry recruiters consistently highlight the importance of a few key skills. Get ahead of the game by reading up on our list of the hottest logistics and transport skills.

Problem solving skills

It could be said that the whole of the logistics and transport industry is based on problem solving and figuring out how to get things from A to B. Nearly every role at every level will involve some element of problem solving, right through from delivery driving to international supply chain management.

Often, logistics jobs require you to have an analytical and logical approach to finding solutions. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate to employers that you can think through difficulties rationally and come up with fast decisions on how to overcome barriers. Logistics is often affected by external factors out of the control of the companies themselves so you’ll need to show that you can think on your feet to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Problem solving involves a number of stages and depending on your level of responsibility, it could be that you find yourself identifying problems and dealing with them on the spot, or implementing long term strategies that deliver results over time.

Communication skills

Despite the focus on analytical skills, communication is still an important part of many logistics jobs. It ties in to the ability to problem-solve as dealing with difficulties often involves a coordinated response. Recruiters will be looking to see that you have a good level of verbal and written communication skills as well as the ability to get on well with a diverse group of people.

Again, good communication skills are important in whatever level you are working in. It could mean that you need to coordinate with colleagues over the phone, or that you find yourself writing detailed reports and leading large presentations.

Because of the nature of the logistics jobs it’s quite likely that you will come into contact with colleagues or other companies from different countries. You may find yourself delivering products or procuring goods outside of your home country and for that reason it’s important that you have good listening skills and can communicate well with people from other backgrounds and those who speak different languages.

Commercial Awareness

Logistics and transport is all about coordination and this involves many different layers and levels of action. This means that it’s important to have a good commercial awareness of what’s going in the industry and within other areas of your company. Demonstrating your commercial awareness will show employers that you understand where your role fits in to the bigger picture.

Your company may have to cooperate with any number of third party agencies so employers are looking for employees who have a good understanding of where their company is positioned in the wider scheme of things. Think about some of the most specialised logistics tasks, such as transporting pharmaceutical products to remote and dangerous areas. These tasks will require you to collaborate with many different interested parties so it’s important that you are switched on to what they all want to achieve.

Numeracy and IT skills

It’s becoming more important than ever to have a good digital literacy as more and more tasks becomes computerised. New technologies are always being developed which can turn traditional delivery or transport methods on their head and you’ll need to be able to keep up with these. If you know you lack experience using commonly used software such as Inventory Management systems, you’ll need to get up to speed if you want to impress recruiters.

Similarly, it’s vital to have good numeracy skills. You won’t necessarily have to be a mathematical genius to work in a lot of roles but most logistics jobs inevitably involve keeping track of numbers and statistics of some kind.

Time Management and Organisation

The key to time management is understanding the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and this a skill which is used in logistics and transport jobs at all levels. Urgent tasks demand immediate attention and need you to respond on the spot, important things need to be done but can be left for a bit later.

If you work at a management level good organisation skills will involve clearly delegating tasks and responsibilities and setting realistic deadlines. At lower levels good time management involves keeping on top of competing priorities and remaining calm when situations change.

Team work

This one is closely tied to communication skills and the ability to get on well with others. Generally if you can do these things you’ll be able to work as a valued member of a team. Team work is important to employers because it’s often by pulling together that problems get solved effectively.

A great team player is someone who can pay attention to details whilst keeping an eye on the bigger picture, and can support others to achieve their objectives whilst still meeting their own. Employers will want to see that you can build good working relationships as well as giving constructive feedback to your colleagues.

If you’re currently looking for work in the industry try to think about where and when you’ve used these skills in your past experience. It’s a great idea to include examples of these on both your CV, as well as being prepared to answer questions about them in interviews.