Looking for a career move in Purchasing and Supply Management? It is time to review your options

The market for procurement professionals is very buoyant as there is a shortage of suitably qualified people, Elaine Porteous of CA Global Recruitment tells SmartProcurement.  “The procurement function is well and truly on the map and there is growing interest in careers in purchasing and supply chain.”

New job roles are being offered in this field as the emphasis changes from transactional buying to strategic sourcing and to global best practice.  At entry level, employers need analysts to help them understand their spend profile, the starting point for strategic sourcing activity.

There are opportunities for sourcing experts in commodity management, especially in technical products and services as well as in outsourcing. Supplier development, audit and supply risk management  will be a focus in 2008.  There is continuing emphasis on contracts management, administration and compliance

Organizations are now looking at non-production (indirect) spend as an area where savings and efficiencies can be made.  Alf Noto, VP of Indirect Sourcing at Nokia says that managing indirect spend requires a somewhat different skill set from sourcing goods and materials. Communication skills are needed to cope with a broader base of stakeholders, there is more maverick spend in non-production spend, savings tracking is more difficult and compliance to contracts is a real challenge!

What does a good Procurement CV look like ?

A professional CV is your most important career document , irrespective of the method you use to secure your dream job.  A good CV needs to be tailored to each job application. One size does not fit all!  This will ensure you promote yourself to your best advantage and help secure an interview.

Firstly, there is no single way to construct a CV; it is your document and can be structured and presented as you wish.  However, there are some basic pointers to bear in mind.

What information should your CV include?

  • Personal details. Most CVs start with these but take care to avoid superfluous details, such as religious affiliation, children’s and dog’s names and so on.  Include all contact details and make it clear which are your preferences.  P.S.  Don’t call me at work!
  • Education and qualifications. Take care to include the names of institutions, the city or town, and dates attended in reverse order; university before school results.  Where your tertiary qualification is directly related to the job applied for, e.g. 3 Year degree diploma in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, specify the major subjects.
    If you have been working for more than 10 years, detailed school results are not helpful.   If you are currently studying at tertiary level include this, but don’t give incomplete studies if you dropped out long ago!
  • Work experience. The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with most recent. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis/information should be put on more recent jobs.
    In the Procurement field, accountability and the size of the role is very important.  Explain the scope of your current job in numerical terms, e.g.  value of the sourceable spend you control, or value of spend under contract, no of contracts, performance against targets such as savings or service benefits.  If you are a manager, how many staff do you manage?
    If you have any experience in specific niche markets or have commodity specialities, say so.  Also, international sourcing experience and exposure to currency fluctuations and import and export activities can give you the edge.
    If you have had a long career, summarise roles and experience before 1998 unless directly relevant.  Rather say “previous experience can be provided on request” . Non-relevant experience to the job being applied for should be short and sweet and non-working gaps must be explained.
  • Training and Skills. External and In-house courses in procurement-related and managerial  skills should be included with dates. Leave out external seminars and exhibitions and team building jaunts.   Include computer skills and (genuine) language skills and any other recent training/development that is relevant to the role applied for.

Affiliations and memberships.  Include IPSA and CIPS. Hobbies and Interests. Keep this section short, no sports clubs or school colours.
Referees. These can simply be ‘Available on request’.

N.B.  Falsehoods and inaccuracies must be avoided at all costs. It is standard practice now for agencies and employers to verify qualifications, citizenship, credit status and criminal records. Disclose any information that could be regarded as negative early on in the process e.g. if you have a poor credit rating and you are applying to a bank!

General Tips
Your CV should be typed in black using a plain typeface. If printed, it must be on good quality A4 white/cream paper. Decorative borders are not necessary, nor are photographs of yourself.

A good CV should ideally cover no more than three pages.  It is a skill to write concisely. The aim is to ensure the content is clear, structured and relevant. Using bullet points rather than full sentences can help.

The completed CV needs to be checked carefully for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and to ensure that it makes sense. Basic stuff but often overlooked. Ask an ‘independent’ person to review the whole document before it is sent out.

Remember when writing and structuring your CV that it is essentially marketing yourself and that a potential employer will use the details provided to form interview questions. It should be clear and easy to read.

There is no reason to include your reasons for leaving each job on your CV but be prepared to answer these questions in your interview.

Current salary and benefits  details should not be included in your CV but you need to have details ready when asked.  Explain where pay is subject to risk or where bonuses are not guaranteed. Do not fudge this!

A short covering letter should always accompany your CV to support the specific job application.

So now you know how to write a good CV, good luck with your job hunt! Next time we will discuss how to write the cover letter and prepare for the interview.

Author  Elaine Porteous of CA Global Africa Recruitment
082 412 5831 or elaine@caglobal.co.za

References and Resources:
www.smartprocurement.co.za   Job board specifically for  procurement and supply chain
www.michaelpage.co.uk      CV tips and tricks.  CV template
www.cips.org      Procurement training and services organisation

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