skip to con tent

In this section

Career Guide

Professor Melinda Gist-Lorenz

ITM Career Guide: A student resource for finding a job in global business in the fashion and related industries

Developed by Professor Melinda Gist-Lorenz

This guide was developed for you, an International Trade & Marketing student at FIT. Here you will find helpful hints, plus a list of publications and websites that can help you develop an international career plan.

Career planning is more than a job hunt. First, you need to define an industry (apparel manufacturing or cosmetics, for example) and also the type of job function (such as logistics or marketing) you want to pursue. Second, you may want to narrow your search further, according to the size of company (greater than $75 million in annual sales) or the size of the organization (an agency with at least 150 employees). Other criteria to consider include job location (New York or Tokyo), the organization's past performance, and its reputation as a good place to work.

This guide can help you define your international career path, show you how to get started with career planning, and help you look for jobs. One report estimates that you will have at least seven jobs in your career, so look at your first job as a platform to other jobs within your industry of choice. Also, most entry-level positions are designed to give you the skill set you need to be promoted within 12 to 36 months. Spend at least three to six months researching industries/companies/agencies/job types to narrow and target your job search. Plan on spending another one to four months look for open positions, send resumes, interview, and write thank-you letters. For first-time job hunters, it may take applying to 20 or 50 or 100 jobs before landing an interview. Be persistent!

Career Planning: Part 1

Know the major players and trends in your industry

If you have an idea of the type of industry you want to work in (such as apparel manufacturing or non-profit associations), learn as much as you can about the major companies or organizations. As with any career planning, finding a good job in international trade and marketing requires that you have current and broad knowledge of your chosen industry.

The following websites have useful information and current news on international trade.

InfoMat - Includes an international directory of apparel industry companies, research reports & statistics, news, global calendar, business guides, and more.

TradePort - The Trade Maker section provides a detailed guide to starting or expanding an import/export venture, planning, market research, buyers, leads, financing, and logistics.

STAT-USA/Internet - STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the site for the U.S. business, economic, and trade community. It provides authoritative information from the Federal government. GLOBUS & NTDB - Access this area for current and historical trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, country analysis, and our trade library the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB).

Financial Times - The Financial Times is an international business newspaper from England.

Forbes - Forbes business magazine lists the top Global 2000 companies.

Fortune - Fortune business magazine lists the top Global 500 companies.

Corporate Information - This site contains over 300,000 public and private company profiles worldwide. Reports feature in-depth analysis of sales trends, profitability, stock performance, financial position, research and development expenditures, dividends, etc.

Business Wire - Get the latest business news from this newswire service.

Inc. Magazine - Inc. business magazine rates the top 500 companies.

Explore INTERNATIONAL Jobs in the Private Sector

Private Sector Job Titles

  • Assistant Manager-Marketing or Product Development at a cosmetics company
  • Import/Export Coordinator for an apparel company
  • Analyst for an international human resources management company
  • Production Planner for a logistics or sourcing company
  • Account Manager for a customs broker

Job Categories for Domestically-Stationed Personnel

  • Export Salesperson - seeks out prospective clients and concludes deals
  • Export Zone or Regional Manager - supervises overseas sales team
  • Export Assistant - manages correspondence with foreign contacts
  • International Broker - acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers
  • Commercial Sales Agent for foreign manufacturer - represents foreign manufacturers in domestic market
  • Distributor for foreign manufacturer - sells and often services in domestic market the products of foreign manufacturers

Job Categories for Personnel Stationed Abroad

  • Foreign Branch Manager - manages a foreign office of the firm

Functional Categories

  • Export Product Manager - responsible for a particular product line
  • International Marketing Manager - develops export marketing strategy
  • Buyer - seeks sourcing, supply from foreign exporters or markets

Administrative Categories

  • Traffic Manager/Export Coordinator - coordinates between the firm, sales personnel and foreign representatives, clients, and shipping services

Transport and Logistics

  • Logistics Manager - responsible for storage and transport of export products
  • Freight Forwarder - consults exporters/importers on the most appropriate and cost-effective means for shipping products internationally
  • Shipping Agent - represents the interests of the carrier; markets and sells the carrier's services, negotiates transport contracts, etc.
  • Customs Agent - oversees the passage through customs

Financial Categories

  • International Treasurer - manages international funds transfers; develops policies for currency risk management
  • Export Credit Manager - evaluates credit risks associated with particular clients, countries (political risk), and currencies
  • Insurance Broker - analyzes exporter/importer's risk exposure in international transactions; negotiates and concludes insurance policies
  • Credit Insurer - provides the exporter with coverage of foreign credit risk via a specialized credit insurance policy

Explore International Jobs in the Public Sector

Government Jobs

  • International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Tip: Look for analyst, associate, and coordinator positions at federal, state, and local agencies promoting trade, such as U.S. Customs and international multi-government organizations (World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD).

NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) & Non-Profit Jobs

  • International Communications Coordinator for the Carnegie Foundation

Tip: Look for analyst, associate, and coordinator positions at global research and policy institutions, international outreach organizations (i.e. Amnesty International, Red Cross), industry associations (Cotton, Inc.), and foreign trade councils (Hong Kong Trade Development Council). As the international representative of your organization, speaking a foreign language will be an asset when explaining your products or services to foreign markets.

Define Your IDEAL job

The following list is a selection of reference books on careers in international trade and marketing that can be found at the FIT Library.

Stone, Elaine. Exporting and Importing Fashion: A Global Perspective. (1994)

Euromonitor. World Cosmetics and Toiletries Marketing Directory. (1999)

Adams, Rob. Start Your Own Import/Export Business: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Success. (2003)

Kocher, Eric and Nina Segal. International Jobs: Where They Are, How to Get Them. (1999)

Krannich, Ronald L. and Caryl Rae Krannich. International Jobs Directory. (1999)

Krannich, Ronald L. and Caryl Rae Krannich. The Directory of Websites for International Jobs. (2002)

Lauber, Daniel and Craig Rice. International Job Finder: Where the Jobs Are Worldwide. (2002)

The Directory of Jobs and Careers Abroad. (1997)

Work Worldwide: International Career Strategies for the Adventurous Job Seeker. (2002) 

Career Planning: Part 2

Check out FIT's Career Services

Career Services (B216) can help you with the following:

  • resume/cover letter writing and preparation
  • job search strategy
  • interviewing techniques
  • one-on-one counseling
  • job fairs and on-campus recruitment events
  • Career Planning course (3 credits) to help you find the right career
  • job listings (including an alumni job bank)

Get more information at http://www.fitnyc.edu/careerservices

PREPARE Your Resume for International Jobs

Krannich, Ronald L. and Wendy S. Enelow. Best Resumes and CVs for International Jobs: Your Passport to the Global Job Market. (2002)

Resumes for College Students and Recent Graduates. (1998)

Resumes for the First-Time Job Hunter. (1995)

Understand Job Descriptions

Employers and recruiters speak their own language when it comes to describing jobs. Here is a sample job description from a global cosmetics company seeking an international marketing associate.

Location: NY
Status: Full Time Employee
Job Category: Marketing
Relevant Work Experience: 1 to 2 Years
Career Level: Experienced (Non-Manager)
Education Level: Bachelor's Degree

Job Description:

  • assist in all marketing capacities related to the Face segment and Eye segment
  • create and maintain all profiles in E Profile, E-IMIS, IMIS, and tracking development through Pert Schedule
  • regularly maintain Laundry Lists/US Calendars for accuracy and informational content for all program details related to Face and Eye
  • work on creative briefs, attend turnover meetings with Creative, and follow up on any questions/suggestions on What's New and brochure executions
  • assist in the development of promotional products from inception to completion
  • work with Global, Design, Engineers, Product Costing, Product Development
  • assist in creating collateral pieces and work with management and appropriate groups to implement them
  • run and maintain reporting systems (Datamart, Web Reports, IMIS) to track brand and shade rankings, sales history
  • regular attendance and key point person for Color operational meetings
  • research competitive products and stay abreast of the competitive landscape, updating group on new product launches within Face and Eye segments
  • assist in data gathering to support manager for any analysis needed for strategy development
  • review and update the on-line product reference guide


  • Bachelor's degree
  • 1-2 years relevant experience in marketing or other industry with applicable skill set
  • strong organizational skills
  • strong computer skills
  • detail-oriented
  • strong analytical skills
  • multi-tasker


"1 - 2 years relevant experience" is sometimes only an ideal, but not required. Apply even if you don't have that much experience.

"Face" and "Eye" are the product categories the job relates to; excludes Fragrance, Lips, Nails. If you apply for this job, you should say what you know about the latest successful liquid foundation or mascara launches.

"Profiles, Program Details, Briefs" are organization tasks you will learn on the job. In your application, highlight your organizational skills.

"Assist in" means taking part in a team project where you are a helper. Your application and cover letter should emphasize your teamwork abilities.

"Maintain Systems" means keeping data charts up-to-date and accurate. Point out your Excel and PowerPoint proficiency.

"Applicable skill set" means ability to work in a team setting, having organizational and computer skills. "Strong skills" means ability to do the job on day one, with minimal training or supervision.

"Multi-tasker" means this job requires someone who can work on many projects at the same time.

Get Familiar With Job Websites

Here are a few links to websites devoted to job postings. Think of these sites as a bulletin board where employers, employment agencies, and recruiters let the world know about a job opening. Keep in mind that when you send your resume to apply online to a job, hundreds of other job-hunters are doing the same. That's why it's so important to have a professional, accurate, polished resume and cover letter.

USA Jobs - Explore tens of thousands of federal jobs in the USAJOBS database. Create and store a resume for applying to federal jobs.

International Trade Administration - ITA jobs include positions such as Trade Specialist, Trade Compliance Analyst, and Management and Program Analyst.

Monster - Popular site for job searches and career advice.

MonsterTRAK - Job listings for students seeking entry-level jobs.

Hot Jobs - Popular site for job searches and career advice.

Career Builder - Popular site for job searches career advice.

OverseasJobs.com - Features international job opportunities for professionals, expatriates, and adventure seekers. Plus, career advice.

WWD Classifieds - Women's Wear Daily newspaper has a Help Wanted section that features jobs in apparel and the related industries. Jobs are posted by companies and by search firms.

Cosmetics Executive Women - Cosmetics Executive Women is a trade organization that promotes the beauty, cosmetics, and fragrance industry. The CEW website includes job postings, but you must first become a CEW member and pay the annual membership dues.

FIT Career Services - FIT Career Services maintains and online job board for seniors and alumni.