Written by Dr. Muddassir Ahmed. Muddassir is a Supply Chain Management expert with over 14 years of industry experience. He is the founder and editor of SCM Dojo, an influential Supply Chain blog and learning resource.
Over the years, I have had many requests as well as CV’s sent to me from people via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email asking for advice on how to find a job in the Supply Chain field. There are several Supply Chain jobs available when you Google, but still finding a right opportunity is a challenge.
Well simply put, sending a request to someone who is not a recruiter be it directly with the company or as part of a recruitment agency, will not work!
I cannot get anyone into a job nor apply on their behalf for them to get to the interview stage because we as Supply Chain Managers, executives or leaders are not recruiters. Our job is to manage people and do what is required in the organisation in which we are working. Supply Chain is broad yet the job we work in is bespoke – there is no magic formula!
However, for me, the key concepts that you must achieve to be successful when applying for Supply Chain jobs are customizing your CV, communication and preparation, In this blog and the accompanying vlog (at the end of the post), I have broken this down further to my Top 10 ways How to Successfully Find Supply Chain jobs, the points generally follow one another and interlock so if you achieve one, it will set you up well to achieve the next and so on and so forth.
So, whether you are entering the field as a newly qualified graduate, someone looking to change career direction or someone looking to boost their current standing, here are my top 10 ways on how to get a job in Supply Chain.
1. Determine a Specific Job and Customise Your CV Accordingly
Sending general C.V.’s is no good. There is so much out there to attract the recruiter that your must customize your CV / Resume to stand out and attract the recruiters. Cater the CV/resume to fit the chosen role you want to apply for.
2. Regularly Update your CV / Resume
- Check out any number of CV builder websites and also go onto the company website itself and check if there is a section for how to improve a CV – most company’s have this and it’s full of tips and tricks and advice on what is actually being looked for in your CV.
- Do your research as to what constitutes to a good CV and a bad CV. These books are recommended to build a perfect CV.
3. Sign Up to a Recruitment Agency
- There are many out there, and I have worked closely with agencies who have plenty of Supply Chain Jobs in the bank globally! So rather than send me a CV, send it to a recruiting agency who will be able to specifically help you to find relevant supply chain jobs.
- Book an appointment so you have a face to face meeting with them, thus allowing them to get to know you, put a face to your name when searching on your behalf and understand your requirements, goals and needs.
4. Promote Yourself Further with Social Media
This is the age of the Internet, and n particular, social media with almost everyone having an account with Facebook, twitter and/or Instagram being the absolute norm now, recruiters and managers utilise social media, in particular LinkedIn, by informally checking the prospective candidates through their social media links and posts.
Now, this is sometimes portrayed as a negative thing, but think about it, how much can you really say in your CV / Resume? As advised in points 1 and 2, not only have do you need to customize and therefore limit your reference to your experience, expertise and knowledge to what is required for the specific job, but also, unlike public sector where you have an applications process and therefore opportunity to write about yourself in depth, this very rarely exists in the private sector. So, why not take advantage of the likes of LinkedIn, which is the social media platform for professionals, to post all your experiences, skills and projects as well as have your friends, family and colleagues to endorse and recommend you.
LinkedIn also gives you the platform to share knowledge via posts – the more content you share, the more prominent your profile therefore the more likely managers and recruiters will notice you – again another way to stand out. LinkedIn will provide the platform to carry on from where the CV/Resume finishes and there are many Supply Chain Jobs available which are directly advertised on LinkedIn.
This is not just with fellow professionals but also friends, family and your educational institution! Almost all universities and colleges have dedicated placement departments so the contacts for a vast range of supply chain jobs and companies are already at their fingertips as well as an automatic endorsement by association should they be able to help you.
What if you’re a new graduate? Your networking with professionals will naturally be limited, but who’s to say that you may have a friend who knows a friend who is in the very Supply Chain field / company you want to work for – nowadays most companies have a referral scheme, you can open your own doors by simply communicating with the right person at the right time, so what are you waiting for? Get networking!
6. Create A Development Plan with Your Manager
Some common reasons for someone leaving their job are they often feel devalued as they did not get the promotion the deserve or that they are not using their full potential.
A simple yet effective solution to this is to take the initiative to have a meeting with your manager to create a development plan for both career and technical aspects. This will allow them to know what and where you want to develop yourself in terms of your expertise, where you envision yourself in the short and long term and create a development plan together.
It will give you a realistic idea as to any limitations and alternative solutions. It could be a change of role / department or a change of function altogether. But without communicating directly, you will always wonder what could have been. Give yourself and your company a fair chance to progress you further by communicating effectively.
7. Don’t be Afraid of Going for a Change in Career
I know many engineers and marketing professionals who have successfully entered the supply chain field and also Supply Chain Professionals who have gone into manufacturing, train management or production management and have done so very successfully. Why? Because not only can they bring a varied set of skills and expertise as transferable skills but also it helps them enhance their commercial skills, knowledge and business acumen – it’s a win-win for the company and the you, so simply put, don’t be afraid to think about and go for a change of career direction, there’s a lot of worth in what you can bring to your new position.
8. Getting Your Foot in the Door: Top 3 Entry-Level Jobs for Graduates
Newly qualified graduates often feel daunted due to lack of experience in a highly competitive field, well firstly always look at companies with graduate schemes. They understand there’s a lack of experience but because they are large companies they can afford to take on graduates and spend time and money training them. They also know that graduates have a high learning curve and theoretically based mindset so therefore can bring the textbook back to life so to speak!
I have also, from my experience and research, come up with what I believe to be the top 3 graduate entry supply chain jobs that do not require experience but instead want someone who is willing to graft, work hard and have a good personality and networking ability. Please refer to my blog here for an in-depth look into these roles and which will suit you.
9. Research the Company, Preparation Well And MUST Read Job Spec!
As obvious as this point is going to be, I am surprised even to this day when I have been on interview panels, how little if any research and preparation candidates do with regards to the company and the panel that are about to interview them, they literally just turn up!
Basic question such as ‘have you read the job specification – what are your thoughts and expectations’ should really be the bare minimum expectation an interview panel will have from the candidate, it is wholly unacceptable and quite frankly insulting when it transpires a candidate appears to have not cared enough. It really is the beginning of the end of an interview with me, with probably another hour to go! And then the candidate will probably have the nerve to ask for a salary negotiation!
In a nutshell:
- Read the Job Specification / description
- Research the Company
- Research the people that will interview you – as much as is viable given you will not meet them prior to the interview as the first few questions can center around these 3 points
- Get your intentions and priorities of what you want correct – your desire to work for the company should come through before the pay is discussed
Additional questions that are most likely asked have been put together in my blog Top 23 Supply Chain Interview Questions and Answers Guide and 21 Authentic Procurement Interview Questions and Answers Guide.
10. Don’t Give Up!
As hard as rejection can be, and there can be a few or many, never give up – it’s easy to say, but almost all successful people have dealt with failure and rejection. It is what makes you strong and gives you the pitfalls you need to be aware of – always try and see what can be learnt from them.
You will get there.
Here’s the accompanying vLog to go with this post!
A big thank you to Dr. Muddassir Ahmed for this guest post. We encourage everyone to check out Dr. Ahmed’s website, SCM Dojo, for more career and industry info for Supply Chain professionals!