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How to Start a New Career As a Freight Agent
Freight agents coordinate the arrival and shipment of different types of parts or products for organizations. They arrange the logistics of incoming and outgoing freight, determine shipping charges and prepare invoices for shipments. Many of these professionals work in a warehouse environment that ship and receive freight. Starting a career as a freight agent requires basic training, strong bookkeeping and administrative skills.
Understand the personal qualities required to become a freight agent. Freight agents must be organized to ensure the delivery and shipment of freight in required time frames. Ensure you have strong computer skills, because a large majority of inventory tracking, invoicing and documentation is done using computer software and applications, such as enterprise resource planning programs. Strong bookkeeping skills are also needed to keep accurate records. Customer service skills are critical, because freight agents interact with clients, companies that provide shipping services, as well as personnel in the organization.
Be prepared for the physical requirements of the job. Freight agents spend time indoors and outdoors. They spend time on their feet to oversee the arrival and departure of shipments. They often help with loading and unloading shipments and may be required to lift heavy packages or operate a forklift to move freight.
Attend classes related to logistics and business. Although a degree is not required to be a freight agent, employers prefer those with postsecondary education in disciplines such as supply chain management. Coursework and degree programs are available through colleges, universities and online.
Prepare your resume to highlight the skills required of freight agents. Highlight your education and training, knowledge of computer applications and any similar skills you performed in your current occupation to those of a freight agent. Although some freight agents are trained on-the-job, employers prefer those who have professional experience.
Apply for entry-level freight agent jobs. The largest employers of freight agents are in industries such as freight transportation arrangement, air transportation and courier delivery services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry-level jobs will help you develop the skills required for higher-paying freight agent careers.
Elvis Michael has been writing professionally since 2007, contributing technology articles to various online outlets. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in information technology at Northeastern University.