Career Development

16 Import Export Manager Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Import Export Manager skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Import export managers are responsible for the coordination and management of the import and export of goods between businesses and countries. They must have a strong understanding of the customs process, international trade regulations and logistics. In addition, import export managers must have excellent communication and negotiation skills to be successful in their role.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. As an import export manager, you may need to solve problems that arise during a transaction or negotiation. You also might use problem-solving skills when there are technical difficulties with equipment or software. For example, if your company’s website isn’t working properly, you might troubleshoot the issue to find its source and fix it.

Customs Regulations

Customs regulations are the rules and laws that govern international trade. Customs regulations vary by country, so it’s important for import export managers to be knowledgeable about customs procedures in the countries where they do business. Customs regulations can include information on tariffs, duties and taxes; documentation requirements; packaging, labeling and shipping requirements; and other details related to importing and exporting goods internationally.


Leadership is the ability to motivate and guide a team. Effective leaders can help their teams achieve goals, maintain positive work environments and improve productivity. As an import export manager, you may need to lead a group of employees who handle shipments from overseas. Leadership skills can help you delegate tasks, encourage your team members and keep everyone focused on the company’s success.

Decision Making

A large part of an import export manager’s job is making decisions about the future of their company. They need to be able to make informed choices that will benefit their organization and its customers. This requires them to have strong decision-making skills, including the ability to evaluate different options and determine which one is most beneficial for their business.


Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. As an import export manager, you may need to be flexible in order to meet your company’s goals and deadlines. You may also need flexibility when it comes to negotiating contracts with suppliers or clients. For example, if a supplier has limited availability of a product, you may need to find another supplier who can provide the same product at a different price.

Export Documentation

As an import export manager, you might be responsible for ensuring that all necessary paperwork is completed before a shipment leaves its origin country. This includes verifying that the proper customs forms are filled out and that any taxes or duties have been paid. You may also need to review shipping documents like bills of lading to ensure that the correct items were received by the intended recipient.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management involves the processes and procedures that companies use to manage their supply of materials, production, distribution and sales. It’s important for import-export managers to have strong supply chain skills because they often oversee all aspects of a company’s international trade. This includes managing the procurement of raw materials from suppliers in other countries, ensuring that products are produced efficiently and on time and arranging shipments overseas.


Warehousing is the process of storing and organizing materials. As an import export manager, you might need to oversee a warehouse where your company stores its inventory. You can use warehousing skills to manage this space efficiently and ensure that employees have access to the supplies they need for their jobs. You also might be responsible for tracking incoming shipments and ensuring that all incoming goods are stored properly.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule

Harmonized tariff schedules are the set of rules that govern how much import and export duties should be for a given product. Having knowledge of these schedules can help you negotiate with suppliers in other countries to ensure your company is paying fair prices. It also allows you to determine which products may have higher tariffs than others, allowing you to find alternative sources for those products.


Incoterms are a set of industry-standard rules that dictate how buyers and sellers handle the transfer of goods. As an import export manager, you might use these to negotiate contracts with suppliers or customers. For example, if you sell products overseas, you may need to know what your responsibilities are for delivering those products.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly and concisely. As an import export manager, you may need to communicate with clients, suppliers and other employees in your company. Strong communication skills can help you relay important information quickly and efficiently. You can also use effective communication to build trust with others and foster positive working relationships.


Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities. As an import export manager, you may be responsible for overseeing a large team that requires regular supervision, tracking inventory levels, managing budgets and planning projects. Having strong organizational skills can help you manage your time effectively and ensure all aspects of your job are taken care of.

Freight Forwarding

Freight forwarding is the process of managing shipments from their origin to their destination. This includes tracking and monitoring incoming shipments, preparing outgoing shipments and ensuring that all paperwork is in order. As an import export manager, you may need to oversee freight forwarding for your company’s shipments. Having knowledge of this skill can help you ensure that shipments are handled properly and arrive at their destinations on time.


Transportation is the ability to move goods from one location to another. This skill can be useful in import and export management because it allows you to plan how your company will transport products they buy or sell. Transportation also includes knowing which transportation methods are most cost-effective for different types of shipments. For example, if you’re shipping a large amount of cargo overseas, air freight may be more efficient than ocean freight.

International Shipping

International shipping is the process of moving goods from one country to another. As an import export manager, you may need to oversee international shipments and ensure that your company’s products arrive at their destination safely. This requires knowledge of customs regulations in other countries, how to prepare shipments for travel abroad and how to track incoming shipments.


Logistics is the process of planning and executing a supply chain. It involves managing inventory, shipping methods, routes and schedules to ensure that products are delivered on time and in good condition. Effective logistics management ensures customer satisfaction by ensuring that orders are filled quickly and accurately. It also reduces costs for businesses by minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.

How Can I Learn These Import Export Manager Skills?

There are a few ways that you can learn the necessary skills to become an Import Export Manager. Firstly, you can read about the topic and learn about the different aspects of the job. Secondly, you can take a course or class that will teach you about the different aspects of the job. Finally, you can shadow or work with someone who is already an Import Export Manager to learn about the different aspects of the job.


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