ATS Transportation Blog

    What Career Backgrounds Have Perfect Skills for the Logistics Industry?

    Wide shot of employees working on a sales floorWhether it’s long and/or irregular hours, no room to grow or working in an unstable industry — or all of the above — many people, just like you, have determined their current job isn’t where they want to spend the rest of their career.

    But where do you go from here? How can you utilize your existing experience instead of going back to college?

    A career in the transportation industry could be a great place to reboot your career.

    Since 1955, Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) has endured many ups and downs in the global economy — as has the transportation industry as a whole. So it’s safe to say the industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    We’ve also seen, firsthand, people progress their way from entry-level positions all the way to the c-suite, and everywhere in between. All this while working a typical 8-5 shift that provides the ability to spend much-needed time with your loved ones.

    We’re here to show you how you can get your foot in the transportation industry door with the professional experience you already have and what types of careers make the most sense for you based on your background.

    Keep reading to find out where your career can take you.

    Does My Professional Experience Work Well in Transportation?

    If we were to list the professional backgrounds of each and every person that’s seen success here at ATS, you’d be reading forever. So, to save you from a never-ending scroll, here’s a list of seven of the most common backgrounds that translate well to the transportation industry:

    • Bartenders/servers
    • Retail/grocery workers
    • Door-to-door/over-the-phone/auto sales
    • Hospitality industry workers
    • Teachers
    • Military personnel
    • Wholesale distribution
    Server taking someone's order at restaurant

    Bartenders/Servers

    Bartenders and servers make their livings by being personable, efficient and good at balancing multiple priorities, among other things. They also get a base pay (often below minimum wage) and make most of their earnings on tips (kind of like commissioned sales).

    If you’re a bartender or a server and want more consistent working hours — and a more stable career — a career in logistics sales could be a great fit for you. Utilize your customer service — and small talk — skills as you establish both internal and external relationships while you build your book of business.

    Take advantage of your ability to balance multiple customers, and their needs, in an efficient way so they can deliver for their customers. Do all this while earning a more-than-comfortable salary (national sales representatives at ATS earn a base salary that starts around $45,000 with many tenured salespeople making six figures regularly).


    Related: How Much do Logistics Sales Representatives Make? (A Comprehensive Breakdown)


    Retail/Grocery Workers

    A huge part of working in retail and grocery is customer service. No matter the situation, your job centers around taking care of the customer. If you don’t do that, they’ll take their business elsewhere — which will put you out of a job if that happens enough times.

    Depending on the type of retail environment you work(ed) in, you may even have monthly and/or quarterly incentives if you reach certain goals. There are many careers in the transportation industry that have similar incentive programs. But, in most positions, you won’t have to work nights, weekends and holidays.

    You can find careers in customer service, sales and fleet management that would all utilize the skills you developed in the retail and grocery industry. In all three cases, a major part of your role is keeping customers or drivers happy — that way, they keep coming back to work with your employer long into the future.

    And if you have management experience in either of these industries, even better!


    Related: How to Succeed as a Fleet Manager: The 9 Skills You Need


    Door-to-Door/Over-the-Phone/Auto Sales

    This one may be obvious to many of you, so we don’t have to dive too deep here. But it’s good to point out that, in some cases, these positions are 100 percent commission-based — meaning your income can fluctuate wildly each month.

    If you take those talents to logistics sales, you’ll instantly have much more reliable income each month (earning no less than your base salary). Plus, that hunger and drive to succeed by selling more isn’t something easily taught, so you’ll be a step ahead of many of your colleagues just because of that.


    Related: The Pros and Cons of a Commission-Incentivized Sales Career in Transportation


    Woman helping guest at hotel front desk

    Hospitality Industry Workers

    Much like retail and grocery workers, a huge part of working in the hospitality industry is customer service and relationship building. So, naturally, the positions that work well for those with a hospitality background involve customer service, sales and fleet management.

    The customer service and fleet management roles will provide more stable income than sales if that’s what you’re used to, but both would still offer incentives that reward your hard work.

    Teachers

    Did you see this one on the list and wonder how teaching translates to transportation? That’s a fair question, but consider the skills it takes to be a great teacher. 

    While working with students — no matter what age — a good teacher is good at communicating in a way that makes sense to many different personalities, they’re good collaborators, they can adapt to changing demands and they possess empathy and patience.

    That sounds like someone who would thrive in a customer service role right off the bat. But, once again, those skills would also make a great salesperson and a great fleet manager. In fact, the ability to educate is key in any of those three roles.

    Military Personnel

    When it comes to people with a military background, there are many skills that translate to a career in transportation. From communication to problem-solving skills, organization skills to dealing with adversity and everything in between, former military personnel make great additions to the logistics industry.

    Those skills could translate to virtually any career in transportation, but especially sales and operations roles. People in those roles often have to overcome adversity — although in a completely different way than military members deal with. The ability to solve the problems that come your way will make you an extremely valuable employee.

    Two people walking through a warehouse

    Wholesale Distribution

    There are numerous careers that can fall into this category, but there are a few key skills that tend to come with employees that work in this industry. Organization is a major skill that comes with working in wholesale distribution, along with communication and customer service.

    Customer service?

    While most warehouse employees don’t work directly with customers, they’re still vital to ensuring customers’ orders are fulfilled accurately and on time.

    Those that work in wholesale distribution might also be the closest to working with the transportation industry compared to any of the backgrounds listed above. They work hard to make sure their work is done in a timely manner so it can get onto a truck in order to deliver to its destination on time.


    Related: 9 Keys To a Successful Sales Career in The Transportation Industry


    How to Get a Career in Logistics With No Transportation Experience

    After reading through this article, you’ve probably realized that a background in the transportation industry doesn’t really matter at all when it comes to getting a career in logistics. In fact, about 95 percent of employees that call ATS their career home didn’t have any background in transportation when they started. 

    It’s the skills obtained during your professional career that matter. Skills like customer service, time management, relationship building, organization and more are the difference between good logistics employees and great logistics employees.

    That’s why those that come from the following career types tend to see a lot of success in transportation:

    • Bartenders/servers
    • Retail/grocery workers
    • Door-to-door/over-the-phone/auto sales
    • Hospitality industry workers
    • Teachers
    • Military personnel
    • Wholesale distribution

    Find Your Dream Job in a Stable Industry

    If you’re ready to take the next step in your career — and work in an industry that isn’t going anywhere — we want to hear from you.

    If you have a background in any of the areas listed above, ATS has opportunities that could be a perfect fit — including sales opportunities in locations all over the country. Contact us to learn more or search through our current openings to find your dream job.

    Erika Boike

    Written by Erika Boike

    Prior to working at ATS, Erika spent 25 years in the hospitality industry in management roles. She joined ATS as a national sales representative in December 2020 and began building relationships with customers. In May 2022, Erika transitioned over to the ATS talent acquisition team where she enjoys helping candidates find rewarding careers in an essential industry.

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