Career Story: Air Cargo Manager For A Major Airline

Air Cargo Manager For A Major Airline

Job Title: Cargo Manager

Type of Company: We are a passenger airline that carries cargo as well. We fly all over the globe.

Education: BA, Political Science and French, University of Western Ontario (London) •• MBA, York University (Toronto) ••

Previous Experience: I worked in passenger sales, marketing, new product development and customer service before moving into the cargo division.

Job Tasks: I have global responsibility for eight of United's top 20 cargo freight forwarders. I work directly with their corporate head offices as well as each of their regional headquarters in North America, Europe and Asia. I negotiate annual and quarterly sales incentives that cover both global and regional sales targets and are designed to develop a solid partnership for growth. As part of my relationship with their leadership team, I make a commitment to partner with United's local sales agents to visit and support their local sales offices worldwide. At a local freight forwarder office, I share information about United's overall financial strength, network coverage, new services and new products. I also give specific updates regarding the cargo division and answer any questions they have about United overall or the cargo division.

My travel schedule has me on the road throughout the US and the world about 60% of the time. I have a Blackberry and wireless computer connectivity that allow me to work from anywhere. During a typical day, I respond to service issues (lost/damaged freight), sales opportunities and availability and pricing issues. I also do a lot of analysis in order to provide tracking reports and performance summaries that are used to measure performance and identify additional opportunities. When traveling, I typically make 3-7 sales calls in a day and can be in a different city every day.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is meeting and working with people from all over the world. I speak five languages and enjoy being able to work with some of them in their own language.

The worst part of my job is waiting in airports for my next flight. The boarding areas are always noisy and congested.

Job Tips: Be persistent. There have been a lot of downsizing and layoffs so it can be difficult to even get an interview. If you specifically want to work in cargo, working for a freight forwarder is another way to gain experience and exposure to the right people. Some people begin in customer service or reservations and then try to move into the corporate environment. I would not advise taking this career route since you move from union to management pay structures and will never get to the pay scale you deserve. Better to get an MBA and get an internship to gain experience.

Additional Thoughts: If you do not like change, this is not the right business for you. It is a highly volatile industry that is affected by weather, health, political and economic conditions worldwide much more than most other businesses. But if you like a challenge, you will certainly find it in this industry.

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