With technological advancements in the recruitment sector and a rise in online job applications, is the humble CV still as relevant today as it once was?
As recruiters, we say the answer is yes.
We have helped place countless procurement candidates from Procurement Analysts and Buyers to Category and Purchasing Managers and Heads of Procurement, and we know what to include, and what to leave out of your procurement CV to give you the best chance of that all-important first interview.
Emerging technologies are also creating new smarter approaches to procurement and creating new career opportunities in areas such as automated transactional procurement such as P2P, or roles in procurement technology and large scale multi-year, multi-faceted engineering and construction project procurement.
In this article, we will highlight the importance of perfecting your CV and why it is still relevant in today’s procurement job market.
First, let’s take a look at why now might be the time to revisit your procurement CV.
Why Now Is the Time to Develop Your Procurement Career
The procurement sector is a very exciting career option for someone with commercial acumen and a desire to work cross-functionally across a business and its supply chain, with new job opportunities being created all the time.
As demand for products increases worldwide, the scope to develop your procurement career and CV has never been better.
From entry-level Contracts Administrator or Buyer roles starting at around £25k, you can aim to earn over £100k as a Procurement Director as your career progresses.
So, if you’ve decided you want to apply for your next procurement role, what do you do next?
It's time to tailor your CV so that it best represents your skills, and is relevant to the job you are applying for.
What Skills Should You Highlight on Your Procurement CV?
Your prospective manager will be looking out for particular skills and experience relevant to procurement, which will add value to their team. Your CV must reflect not only your experience but also your achievements and when it comes to procurement, critically, these achievements must be quantifiable.
For all roles, there will be of course be ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ skills, and if you are applying for a senior role, increasingly you will need to highlight your managerial and leadership skills
On your procurement CV, we suggest that you include details of -
Specific knowledge and experience in your chosen procurement arena in the context of the industries that you have worked within, for example, procurement in automotive will be vastly different to procurement in oil and gas or food manufacturing.
General procurement skills if you are applying for a broader purchasing and supply chain role.
Team leadership and development skills, including the size of team you have managed.
Your ability to reduce costs – this is one of the main areas procurement employers look for, so make sure you give a considerable paragraph to it, including the ability to utilise cost-saving tracking tools and TCO.
Prospective procurement employers will wish to see cost savings in monetary terms and percentages.
Examples of your excellent persuasion, influencing, negotiation and commercial acumen.
When highlighting your negotiation skills, a key tenet of the procurement professional, think about what, how, and how much.
‘Ballpark’ spending levels you have been responsible for.
Direct and indirect categories you have procured.
International sourcing expertise.
Alternative or new sources of supply that you have implemented and how you undertook due diligence and mitigated risk.
Your capabilities to manage supply chains, continually oversee contractual obligations and ensure supplier performance and compliance.
Lead time reductions.
Engagement and delivery of changes in procurement processes or approach which added value
Specific systems and tools that you have utilised, e.g. lean or low-cost/least cost country sourcing.
Strategic thinking, working as a partner with the business, demonstrating your understanding of the wider business world and the crucial part that procurement can play will all be critical success factors.
And last but not least, not just the experience of, but the desire to actively engage with stakeholders so they can be sure that their investment is protected. After all, procurement is one area of the business that can truly operate cross-functionally and directly contribute to revenue protection and profit generation.
Increasingly, hiring managers are looking for soft skills as well as hard skills. An example of a hard skill could be proficiency in a foreign language, while soft skills are transferrable such as being an effective communicator, being emotionally intelligent and having the ability to work as part of a team offering an alternative perspective, advising on sourcing strategies, risk mitigation, bidding strategies, supplier development and strategic partnership
As with many other sectors which have changed drastically over the last 30 years, simply having experience in the field is often not enough.
These days, most procurement organisations desire a willingness to work to at least CIPS level 4, which is available either through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply or via a vocationally based S/NVQ or for experienced professionals you can consider the Management Entry Route.
If you are planning on a career move within the procurement sector and your CV is lacking in the qualifications department, it is a good idea to see what qualifications you can attain to make you more attractive to hiring managers, and as you can see, there are many options. The key point is that Continuous Professional Development should be highly evident in your experience and approach to your procurement career.
As with your CIPS levels, there may be industry-specific frameworks that may be applicable, e.g. NEC3 for construction projects or OJEU for public sector procurement. Also, experience of transactional procurement systems or Procure to Pay, such as Oracle or SAP Ariba or similar may also be required so be sure to mention that.
Formatting, Spelling and Grammar
This point is one of the most crucial, yet you might be surprised, as recruiters, how often we see formatting errors on CVs.
Say, for example, you are applying for a category manager role; the job specification highlights the needs for attention to detail and strong analytical skills then do make sure that you present your CV to reflect that As a procurement applicant, you need to be able to show that you are attentive to the smallest detail, and this starts with a polished, well laid-out CV. After updating your CV, always run a spell-check and have someone read through it for grammatical errors.
As the first point of call for the hiring manager, your cover letter needs to explain succinctly why you are applying for the role, stating your interest and briefly your skills and experience and most importantly how you think that you can add value to the particular organisation and team
The cover letter is the best opportunity you have to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Here you can include information that doesn’t quite fit in the rest of the CV.
Have you had an interest in this company for several years? Is it a role you are passionate about which your current position is not? Is it in a location you are looking to move to?
Your cover letter acts as a supplementary document to your CV, and it aims to demonstrate to the hiring manager why you are a suitable candidate to be considered for this procurement role.
Work With a Recruiter to Improve Your CV
If, after reading this guide, you still need some extra guidance on how to update your CV, talk to us at Martin Veasey Talent Solutions.
Our team deal with candidate CVs daily, and we specialise in the procurement sector. We are proud to have helped countless candidates over the last four decades to secure procurement roles.
About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions
At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world.
We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified staff, including many degree and Masters educated consultants, with membership of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society.
We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles in Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, plus many more.
If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact today.