How to Get a Job in Procurement & Supply
Procurement is a booming industry with new roles being created regularly.
Jobs in procurement and supply require a mix of skills; these can even take you all the way to the C-suite in your career path. Even at a lower level, you could be responsible for multi-million pound deals.
We’re here to give you all the career advice you need to learn how to get a job in procurement, with advice from entry-level to further progression.
Routes for Progression in Procurement & Supply
This professional career has clear routes for progression; as you gain experience and knowledge you can make your way through these titles. According to research conducted by recruitment company Hays there’s a skills gap within this industry, making it lucrative for job-seekers.
Check out the average salaries along the progression map below:
As you can see, the roles for those in this industry are varied and there is room to grow throughout your career. Your career in procurement can take you from the likes of Procurement Assistant all the way to Director of Procurement.
Crafting your CV and Cover Letter
As with any job, your CV is a key tool that can determine your success in getting a job in procurement. This is your chance to show why you would be a good fit for the job opening, so you should tailor it to the job that you’re applying to as much as possible.
In procurement, the key competencies that you want to show are:
- Negotiation skills
- Strong communication
- Budget management
- Organisational skills
The mix of qualities that you need for each role will vary. For example, a management role would require stronger leadership skills than an entry-level role. This is why you should be ready to change the emphasis on your skillset depending on the job that you’re applying for.
Your cover letter should also support your application with further information on your suitability for the role. A personalised cover letter can help you to stand out from the crowd and nab you that interview.
Through personalisation of both of these documents, you’re showing the hiring manager that you understand the skills, qualification and experience that the job requires. If you’re shooting for a role above your current level or in a new industry, this can be the step you need to get your foot in the door.
Industry qualifications ensure that you’re up-to-date with best practice and hold yourself to high professional standards, making them invaluable for your progression in the field and making you extremely desirable in the eyes of any business.
It’s possible to find jobs through experience alone, but having the right procurement qualifications opens up a huge number of opportunities which would otherwise be closed to you.
In the UK, a CIPS qualification is the industry standard and is usually required in most job listings. Abroad, CIPS qualifications are likewise widely recognised and respected.
You don’t need to give up your current job to get a CIPS qualification – online learning CIPS providers make it easy to get qualified at a pace that works with your schedule. If you’re already in the procurement career path, then your current employer may pay for a qualification to take you to the next level.
Typically, you’ll complete your CIPS qualification then gain three years’ experience in the field in order to gain full membership and be able to use MCIPS after your name on your CV.
If you have a qualification in the field, experience – or lack of it – counts for less. However, a mix of experience and education is best: having relevant skills and the experience to back it up makes you a stronger candidate than a qualification alone.
Many procurement roles are very analytical and require working with spend data, so a financial background is beneficial.
Experience in law or HR will give you a useful understanding of contracts, and corporate experience in any area will show that you can work well within a business and understand the business environment.
Negotiation experience is a sure-fire winner. If you’ve worked in sales, this will stand you in good stead: you know how to prepare a pitch, assess your leverage, and use persuasion techniques. You’ve also seen the buying process from the other side, so you’ll have insight into the seller’s mindset that will come in handy when you’re negotiating a deal.
Leadership experience of any kind is invaluable in most business roles, and procurement is no exception. If you have senior management experience, you could move directly into a senior procurement role, with your team making up the specialised skills you lack while you learn.
Technical skills are becoming increasingly desirable as more companies recognise the benefit of having their technology sourced by someone who really understands the product.
Preparing for an Interview
In an interview for a procurement job, the prospective employer wants to understand your experience and qualities further. We’ve covered the questions that employers should be asking in one of our previous blogs; this blog also includes examples of questions from companies likes of Pfizer.
Prior to the interview, you can check out the company on Glassdoor and find out if any other applicants have recorded the interview questions that they have been asked.
Communication skills are key in procurement, from negotiating a deal to conveying essential information to stakeholders. Show your interviewer that you work well under pressure by being poised, personable, and persuasive during your interview. The key to achieving all three is another P: practice.
Knowing how to present yourself well is part and parcel of this. Your appearance and behaviour communicates who you are to your interviewer (and, if you get the job, your suppliers). Make sure you present your best self by being immaculately groomed, wearing a well-fitting and nearly pressed outfit, having good posture and using positive body language.
Procurement probably wasn’t on your list of dream jobs as a kid, but with great salaries, an open job market, and excellent opportunities for progression, it might be your ideal career.