Transportation agents in the United States play a pivotal role in the global supply chain, ensuring goods and products safely reach their destination.
If you’re interested in entering a role in the logistics industry, then working as a transportation agent can be an accessible and rewarding career choice.
In this article, we’ll explore what a day in the life of a transportation agent might look like before we guide you through the steps you can take to jump into your transportation agent career.
The role of a transportation agent
Transportation agents – also called shipping or freight agents – work to facilitate freight movement from one location to another.
This seemingly simple task has numerous responsibilities, from route optimization to last-minute driver allocation.
Before we dive into how you can kickstart your career as a transportation agent, it’s worth taking a moment to recap the type of tasks you’d carry out in this role.
Transportation agent tasks and responsibilities
So, what does a typical day in the life of a transportation agent look like?
As a transportation agent, the tasks you would do on a typical day would vary depending on the location in which you work.
If you’re working onsite, you might complete a range of tasks in warehouses, stockrooms, or shipping stations and in an office. If working from home as a transportation agent, you would typically complete only the “office-based” tasks.
Common responsibilities of a transportation agent include:
- Handling sales calls and negotiating terms and rates with clients
- Taking orders and booking freight transportation for customers
- Assigning carriers and drivers to shipments
- Organizing and optimizing shipping routes for maximum efficiency
- Supervising loading and unloading of shipments (on-site)
- Providing transit and packing recommendations for a given shipment
- Preparing client invoices and recording financial transactions
- Coordinating shipment collection and delivery
- Maintaining a working knowledge of the logistics industry
- Keeping customers up to date on changes or delays to their shipment
- Ensuring all legal and safety requirements are met
How to get started as a transportation agent
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of the type of tasks you’d be carrying out as a transportation agent let’s take a closer look at the route into this career path!
You can get started as a transportation agent in a couple of different ways.
- You can create your own freight business as an independent agent.
- You can work with an existing firm or broker and receive a commission.
These are both great options! This guide will focus on the more popular option – kickstarting your transportation agent career by partnering with a logistics firm or freight broker.
Step 1: Assess your eligibility and skillset
The first step to becoming a transportation agent is assessing whether this is a suitable career choice.
Chances are, if the varied tasks described in the job description above sounded appealing to you, then a career in logistics could be a great choice. If you’re unsure whether working as a transportation agent is a good option, you can always reach out to the team at Jansson to discuss your career options in the industry.
The logistics industry is accessible and welcoming, and your specific employment and educational background will likely matter less than the specific skills and qualities you can bring to the job.
Logistics companies typically expect you to have the minimum educational requirement of a high school diploma or GED. However, further education or training in logistics or transportation may help you to stand out from other applicants.
While not strictly necessary, you may also find it helpful to have experience in one or more of the following:
- Customer service
- Project management
- Transportation, truck driving, or another logistics role
Skills such as computer literacy, strong attention to detail, the ability to multitask and manage multiple priorities, and a client-focused attitude can also help you succeed as a transportation agent.
Step 2: Update your resume & craft a killer cover letter
After you’ve gained a sense of the skills, it’s time to update your resume and prepare any other application materials you might need – such as a cover letter.
This is the perfect opportunity to highlight how your skills, qualities, education, and experience will help you succeed as a transportation agent.
You may find it helpful to quantify your achievements in previous roles, highlight how specific skills led to positive outcomes, and expand on the information included in your resume.
Step 3: Reach out to logistics firms and/or brokers
Once you’ve dusted off your resume, you’re almost ready to contact logistics firms or freight brokers!
With so many logistics companies, brokers, and carriers out there, it’s worth taking your time to research and ensure that the companies you apply to are a good fit for you.
A couple of factors you might want to consider include:
- Working arrangement: on-site, home-based, or hybrid?
- Working hours: business hours or flexi-time? Is overtime an option?
- The reputation, experience, and expertise of the firm
- The firm’s assets: connections, vehicles, equipment
- Customer satisfaction, testimonials, and reviews
- Training provision and opportunities for career advancement
- The duties and tasks that your role will include
Once you’re confident in the companies you apply to, it’s time to reach out. This can involve completing an online application, sending application materials, or contacting a company directly.
The start of your transportation agent career awaits you at Jansson
If a career as a transportation agent has piqued your interest, then Jansson is waiting to hear from you.
As an independent agent of Landstar, Jansson has the expertise, experience, and tools on hand to make your transition into logistics as smooth as possible. Unlike other logistics firms, we can provide full transportation agent training – no experience needed.
To learn more about how you can become a transportation agent or explore other logistics career options, reach out to Jansson today!