Career Development

What Does an Export Manager Do?

Find out what an export manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an export manager.

Export managers are responsible for overseeing the sale of goods and services from one country to another. They work with a variety of companies, including manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers, helping them to identify opportunities in foreign markets and facilitate sales abroad.

Export managers may also be responsible for managing relationships with third-party service providers such as customs brokers or freight forwarders. Their job is to ensure that all transactions go smoothly—from beginning to end—and that both parties are satisfied with the outcome.

Export Manager Job Duties

Export managers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Managing relationships with international clients, vendors, and business partners
  • Negotiating contracts with new vendors and clients as well as terminating contracts with existing clients or vendors when necessary
  • Coordinating freight shipments to ensure that they arrive on time and without damage
  • Establishing and managing relationships with freight carriers and other service providers to ensure smooth operations
  • Developing and implementing plans for increasing market share through brand awareness, new product development, and advertising
  • Managing the inventory of goods held in storage facilities, including monitoring stock levels and ordering replacements when necessary
  • Preparing financial reports about sales activity, costs, and profit margins for international markets
  • Managing the supply chain process from procurement to shipment to customer delivery
  • Cooperating with other departments within the company to ensure that all international business operations run smoothly

Export Manager Salary & Outlook

Export managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $76,500 ($36.78/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)

The employment of export managers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for exports is projected to increase as U.S. companies seek new markets in which to sell their products and services. In addition, demand for export managers will continue to come from international trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which may lead to increased trade between the United States and other countries.

Related: Export Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Export Manager Job Requirements

The following are some of the requirements that are often needed in order to become an export manager:

Education: Most employers require an export manager to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as international business, finance, economics or marketing. Some employers may accept an associate’s degree or a combination of education and experience.

Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). An MBA program typically takes two years to complete and includes coursework in finance, accounting, marketing and business law.

Training & Experience: Export managers typically receive on-the-job training in their roles. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and processes. It may also include shadowing an existing employee to learn the daily tasks and responsibilities of the role.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Export managers can earn certifications to gain more theoretical and practical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their skills and advance their careers.

Export Manager Skills

Export managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important for exporters. You may need to communicate with suppliers, customers and other parties in your company. You may also need to communicate with customs officials and other government agencies. Effective communication can help you to resolve issues and make the exporting process more efficient.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills can help you make informed decisions about your company’s sales, production and distribution. You can use analytical skills to review your company’s financial records, sales data and production numbers to make informed decisions about which products to export and which markets to target.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills can help you find solutions to challenges that arise during the export process. For example, you may need to find a new shipping method if the original one isn’t available. You can also use problem-solving skills to identify and address any issues that arise during the inspection process.

Marketing skills: Marketing skills can help you develop a strategy to sell your company’s products to customers in other countries. You can use marketing skills to create advertisements, develop a brand image and create a marketing plan to attract customers.

Decision-making skills: Export managers make many decisions throughout the day, including which clients to work with, which products to sell and how to handle customer complaints. Making the right decisions can help you grow your business and increase your profits. It’s important to make decisions quickly and confidently, and it’s helpful to have a process for evaluating your options.

Export Manager Work Environment

Export managers are responsible for the export of goods and services from one country to another. They work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and service industries. Export managers typically work in an office environment, but they may also travel frequently to meet with clients, suppliers, and other business partners. They may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, to meet deadlines and to coordinate the activities of their staff. Export managers must be able to work well under pressure and be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. They must also be able to think creatively to solve problems and to develop new and innovative ways to market and sell their products and services.

Export Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how export managers work. Export managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Supply Chain Management

The growth of supply chain management is a trend that is quickly changing the way businesses operate. As companies become more globalized, they are realizing the importance of having a strong supply chain management system in place to ensure that their products are delivered on time and without error.

This trend is creating opportunities for export managers who can help businesses manage their supply chains effectively. By understanding the latest trends in supply chain management, export managers can help their clients get the most out of this trend.

More Focus on Sustainability

As businesses become more aware of the impact that their operations have on the environment, they are beginning to focus more on sustainability. This means that export managers will need to be familiar with new methods for reducing their carbon footprint and finding ways to source materials locally.

In order to stay competitive, export managers will need to be able to identify opportunities to reduce their company’s environmental impact while still meeting customer demands. They will also need to be able to find suppliers who can provide them with sustainable materials.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the world of business. Companies are using technology to automate tasks, improve communication, and create new products and services.

As technology becomes more prevalent, export managers will need to learn how to use it to their advantage. This includes learning how to use software to track shipments, communicate with customers, and manage inventory.

How to Become an Export Manager

A career as an export manager can be very rewarding. It offers the opportunity to travel, work with people from different cultures, and learn about new products and markets.

To become an export manager, you need a degree in business administration or marketing, along with experience in international trade. You should also have strong communication skills and be able to work under pressure.

Advancement Prospects

Export managers typically advance in their careers by taking on larger and more complex projects. As they successfully complete projects and grow their client base, they may be promoted to positions of greater responsibility within their organization. They may also choose to start their own export management company.

Export Manager Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for an experienced Export Manager to lead and oversee our export operations. The Export Manager will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to increase export sales, managing export logistics, and ensuring compliance with export regulations. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in export sales and marketing, export logistics, and international trade compliance. They will be a strategic thinker with the ability to develop and execute plans to grow export sales, while also being detail-oriented and able to manage the day-to-day operations of the export department.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement export strategies that align with the company’s overall business objectives
  • Research and analyze foreign markets to identify new business opportunities
  • Develop relationships with potential customers, partners, and other stakeholders in target markets
  • Negotiate and execute contracts with foreign buyers, suppliers, and other partners
  • Manage the logistics of exporting goods, including shipping, customs, and insurance
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those related to export control, sanctions, and anti-corruption
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of relevant market trends and developments
  • Prepare reports for senior management on the status of export activities
  • Supervise a team of export coordinators and other staff
  • Develop and manage budgets for export operations
  • Participate in trade shows and other events to promote the company’s products and services
  • Collaborate with other departments within the company, such as sales, marketing, and product development, to ensure a coordinated approach to export activities

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, international trade, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in export sales, marketing, or management
  • Working knowledge of international shipping procedures and documentation
  • Familiarity with Incoterms
  • Strong negotiation and presentation skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English; fluency in another language a plus

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 7+ years experience in export sales, marketing, or management
  • Experience working with freight forwarders and customs brokers
  • Advanced degree in business, international trade, or related field
  • Professional certification, such as Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) or Certified Export Specialist (CES)


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