The largest employers of export and import specialists are oil companies, manufacturers, trading companies, shipping firms, worldwide freight forwarders, airlines, warehouse firms, trucking firms, banks, agricultural-product producers, and department store chains. Major trade cities are New York, Miami, Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tacoma, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
The vast majority of entry-level positions are now reserved for college graduates, most of whom secure their first position by applying directly to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, individual seaports and airports, international trading companies, and other organizations that hire export-import specialists. Public and private employment services may also refer qualified applicants to suitable entry positions. People with a master's in business administration and a fluency in one or more foreign languages will have the best opportunities in this field.
Those in the export-import field usually have constant contact with other international firms and government agencies and therefore have frequent opportunities to switch employers. Specific advancement opportunities depend to some extent on the specialty within the field and vary greatly depending on the skill and drive of the individual.
An experienced export manager may become the marketing manager or vice president in charge of coordinating overseas distribution. Customs brokers may become export managers or may be promoted to other positions within the export-import department of a company. After developing contacts and sales expertise, wholesalers may also become management consultants or start their own export-import firm. Import-export agents can become sales representatives for other export-import firms or go into business for themselves.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Participate in internships or part-time jobs with U.S. Customs & Border Protection or private firms to obtain experience and make networking contacts.
Familiarize yourself with popular imported goods and their source countries.
Get an idea of what the customs broker license exam is like by reviewing past exams. Find them on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Web site at https://www.cbp.gov/document/publications/past-customs-broker-license-examinations-answer-keys.