Insights

How to Boost Your Procurement Career

April 15, 2024

Are you in procurement and looking to take your career to the next level? As a recruitment agency specialized in procurement, we work with the top candidates in the field every day. And here’s some of the advice we give.

One thing all of us wonder, at some time in our careers, is how to get ahead. How to separate ourselves from the pack. Most of us aren’t content to fill a seat. And because the ambitious, forward looking candidates are some of our favourite candidates to work with at Argentus, we cater a lot of our advice towards those people. So if you’re an aspiring superstar in Procurement, settle in while we offer some of our hard-won advice about how you go about taking your career to the next level.

These tips are aimed at junior to mid-career candidates who want to advance:

1. Get Strategic

Time and again, Procurement careers stagnate when they become too transactional. An entry-level role, or one requiring 1-2 years of experience, will often be fairly transactional (concerned with the administrative side of buying rather than thinking about buying as a driver of competitiveness). That’s to be expected. But you need to take every opportunity you can to try to move past a transactional mindset and into a strategic one. Even if you have a transactional role, work to figure out improvements in the process. Build relationships. Learn how to deliver cost savings, and you’re sure to get recognized.

Key skills: sourcing, Rf(X), research

2. Adopt a customer service mindset with your stakeholders

Thoughtful, impactful Procurement is about breaking out of silos—the invisible walls that rise up to separate various parts of a business from each-other as a company grows. Various departments have their own way of doing things. They have their own culture. But Procurement is about working across a company to help buy better. Your stakeholders—in other words those people in the business that you’re buying for—are your biggest internal clients. Stakeholders often report that procurement feels like a bureaucratic roadblock to what they want to get done. Instead, procurement should feel like a synergistic partner who’s enabling new things. Act like your stakeholders are your customers, because they are.

Key skills: verbal and written communications, presentation, negotiation, relationship-building

3. Think Beyond Cost Savings

To a lot of people, cost savings is the point of Procurement. But one thing we hear again and again from senior executives is that Procurement does itself a disservice by focusing only on cost savings. By integrating your company closer with suppliers, you can add value to the operation in tons of different ways: by partnering on innovations, by learning how to improve your product, by reducing risk. You can make your company more nimble and more competitive across a variety of metrics, beyond buying things as cheaply as possible. It’s worth it to keep this in mind, so you can think more creatively about your role as a Procurement professional.

Key Skills: Vendor Management, Supplier Management, Contract Management, Business Process Outsourcing, Risk Management

4. Improve Your Knowledge

The top performers in Procurement are always looking to improve their skills. They jump from one educational branch to another. This means being dedicated enough to consider continuing education opportunities like certifications or university courses in Procurement. But you don’t need to be that formal about it. There are some great online resources like Procurious and the Art of Procurement podcast to help you develop your skills even further—and to think more broadly about what it is you do.

5. Amp Up Your Personal Brand

This goes for everyone, but it’s extra important in Procurement, where you have to recognize and advocate for your achievements because they sometimes happen below the radar of employees. Pay attention to your social media presence. When looking at, say, your LinkedIn profile, think about how you come across; do you seem like an ambitious person rising through the ranks? This is the social media equivalent of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Make sure your LinkedIn profile lists accomplishments rather than “duties,” with strong metrics to back them up. Make sure you put the specific categories you’ve bought for. It’s not just potential employers checking you out. Suppliers are paying attention too, and a strong social media presence can even help shade how you appear at the outset of negotiations.

These are the broad strokes. Obviously there’s a lot that goes into succeeding at Procurement, including a certain amount of inborn talent. But this should get you thinking about some big-picture priorities as you develop your career.


If you’re a procurement professional in Canada looking for you next role, reach out to Argentus today. Have a look at our open jobs, or send your resume to recruit@argentus.com. And if you’re hiring in Procurement, and want to tap into Canada’s most sophisticated procurement talent network to hire faster and more effectively, reach out as well!

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