Recruiters Reveal How to Land Dream Supply Chain Jobs

According to O*NET OnLine, a supply chain manager earns $103,530 per year in average. Are you already on top of your game or there are something holding you back from reaching your fullest potential? This article will show you the best career advice from leading logistics and supply chain recruiters and career coaches.

A couple of weeks ago we asked recruitment experts a simple question:

"What is the most actionable tip for landing dream supply chain jobs?"

We believe you may get many pieces of career advice from family and friends but you don't even know that they're now irrelevant. That's why we decided to find out what the experts in the industry will say and the answers are listed in the order they were received in:

1) Bronwen Hann from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting
In my opinion, the single most actionable tip for landing a Supply Chain dream job is to put together an accomplishment-based resume. Many skilled Supply Chain Professionals still use “Functional” resumes—it’s an out of date format reads too much like a job description and leaves a lot of value on the table. Functional resumes tend to list prior experience in terms of “duties.” An accomplishment-based resume provides metrics and quantifiable info about a candidate’s accomplishments. For example, if your Supply Chain work has reduced inventory turns or resulted in savings, you want to make sure your resume spells that out loud and clear. Beyond that, make it quantifiable wherever possible. If you’re an inventory planner, how many SKUs did you manage? If you’re a Procurement professional, what was your spend? These types of statistics help an employer see that you provide concrete value. Here's a blog post we did that goes into some more detail about how to write an accomplishment-based resume.

2) Rodney Apple from SCM Talent Group
Developing a comprehensive job search action plan is the most actionable tip for landing dream supply chain job. You must write down your goals, develop corresponding action steps, track your results and adjust your action plan along the way. Your job search action plan should include the following,

- Goals: Make sure you use S.M.A.R.T.Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely)

- Job Search Activities: Action items you must complete each day/week/month in efforts to achieve your goals

- Target Company List: Conduct research in efforts to identify 25 – 50 companies to target for employment

- Networking Contacts: Keep track of all referrals, contact information, follow-up dates, etc.

- Job Applications: Track every job you apply to so you’ll stay organized and can follow up at the right time

- Interviews: Track all interviews, thank-you note send outs, follow-up dates, etc.

- Job Offers: Keep tabs on each offer you receive to include all compensation variables

3) Pamela Day from ZDA
The most important thing that most supply chain candidates really don't understand is putting together a well written resume. A resume that shows all the companies, titles, responsibilities and most important quantifiable accomplishments on the resume. Your resume is your marketing tool, and it should not have all the fancy formatting and fonts, but it should clearly in simple fonts and formatting show your career progression by company, by title and your quantifiable accomplishments in each title.

When someone looks at your resume you get a 30 second review. If within 30 seconds a Hiring Manager can not see relevancy, then it is tossed. If with in 30 seconds the Hiring Manager can see what they are looking for, then they will spend more time reading it. Formatting and being clear and concise is critical in a resume. I talked to people every day that tell me they paid a lot of money to have someone write their resume, but it is money wasted. Those $1,000 dollar written resumes don't work. You need to clearly define in words what your job titles are, what basic things you are responsible for and then bullet list the quantifiable accomplishments succinctly. Your resume should not be wordy and for most people with experience it should be about 2 pages.

In my 10+ years of helping supply chain professional find their dream job, it is very rare to see a well written resume come across my desk. 99.9% of the time, I have to help people get to the point of making their resume really highlight who they are. This is the very first task that must be completed.

4) Wayne Brophy from Cast UK
The supply chain landscape has changed considerably since the recession. Supply chain candidates now need to not only be specialists in their field, but also have skills that complement the core functions of the job. This is due to the increasingly complex and multi-faceted work within the sector. Technical skills are an assumption and we’re seeing more employers seeking high quality candidates with appropriate technical ability coupled with superior soft skills.

Equally, candidates now consider the flexibility of their employment terms as we have seen a staggering 45% increase in interim roles within the last 12 months across FMCG positions at Cast UK.

5) Jeffrey Crowley from JMC Search
I believe the best actionable tip is never throw a phone number away. So many candidates think the best jobs come through recruiters; while as a recruiter I appreciate the compliment, the fact is a majority of candidates land dream jobs through those they know and who have experience in working with them. Good, old fashion, networking is still the best actionable advice I can give any professional looking for that dream job. Thus, never throw a number away.

6) Jacquelyn Johnsen from TES
Join key industry associations, i.e. CSCMP and get involved! Attend meetings, network and volunteer. Get educated and certified (APICS) – to demonstrate your sincere interest in the field and review the qualifications required for some of the “dream jobs” listed on the internet and see if you meet the requirements.

7) Nick Macey from Proco Global
When speaking to candidates who are looking for their dream job my advice would often be twofold. One, be an expert in your field and two; have a clear idea of what a dream job looks like to you.

- An expert in your field: We often find that the best candidates succeed because they are genuinely committed to becoming an expert in what they do. This can often involve taking additional courses, seeking out a mentor to advise them on your career path, putting your hand up to be involved in new projects and working outside your job scope. These are just a few things to put you on the right path to becoming an ‘expert’.

- Describe your dream job: This is important for two reasons, if you have a clear goal in mind when it comes to your career you are far more likely to have success in achieving it. It really is that simple.

Employers want to know that you have taken the time out to think seriously about this and you can talk about it confidently at interview stage. It is the quickest and simplest way to help an employer buy into you and answer the common interview question ‘so….. tell us about yourself’.

Having a clear goal also helps recruiters like us to work with you to map out your next move; it can help to carve out a unique ‘personal brand’ which in turn makes you far more memorable. Don’t forget the job market will always be competitive; you have to go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd.

8) Dennis Theodorou from JMJ Phillip
The primary key to landing your dream supply chain job is showcasing your broad experience in both your resume and the interview. In the last decade the phrase supply chain has been thrown around a lot. Does the position focus on Distribution? Logistics? Procurement? Materials Management?

In our experience in supply chain executive search, often when a company has a supply chain title they really want to see someone with a varied background across all of those departments. On your resume, make sure to show all those terms and how you worked in those capacities. In the interview display your holistic view of supply chain management by giving examples of how you worked with all those different departments to have a fluid supply chain with a focus on value, quality and efficiency.

9) Tom Goettl from George Konik Associates
The most actionable tip to landing a job is to make phone calls to the hiring manager of your dream job. In my 15 years of recruiting experience, less than 5% of resumes I receive are follow up with a personal phone call from the applicant. A well thought out and prepared phone call from a passionate candidate is always memorable and grabs my attention. A candidate who expresses a strong interest in a particular opportunity and takes extra steps to communicate this, is often selected for first-round interviews.

10) Charlie Saffro from CS Recruiting
Update Your Networking Strategy - In the age of social media and networking platforms it can be hard to stand out from the large circle of candidates trying to get the attention of a hiring manager. When it comes to making the final hiring decisions it often comes down to "who you know" not how often you like their posts. Find a recruiter who is connected to the company or organization that you are applying for and leverage your relationship there.

11) Zoe Wilson from Capita Specialist Recruitment
For any procurement role interview my best bit of advice would be to accurately articulate your commercial acumen and ability to reduce costs to hiring managers. We all know that this is the main focus amongst procurement professionals and the best chance you have of being able to secure your next exciting move is to demonstrate an ability to deliver tangible cost savings to a business. This means the individual must be able to speak about their evidence of delivering savings fluently, coherently and with examples. As a result, my one top tip would be to do your homework, go over your past achievements in detail and look to pick out some key figures that can accurately highlight where you have previously made cost savings and how you achieved them. If you are aspirational about the progression of your procurement career you will have to differentiate yourself in order to stand out from the crowd, so it is also well worth highlighting any particular innovation you’ve shown that has led to impressive results. These bottom line achievements are what hirers are really on the lookout for and providing robust examples can go a long way in helping you to secure your next dream role.

12) Jennifer Whitten, Director of Graduate Career Services from W. P. Carey School of Business
Landing your dream job takes time and perseverance, plus networking within the supply chain community. Ideally, you want to be at a point in your career where those around you know your value and worth in the workplace. Getting a referral to your dream job is really the ticket to success, so get involved in national and local professional associations to expand your networking, and follow the trends for the job you are seeking. One of the most critical skills for a supply chain professional to master is the ability to influence and drive results, which will need to be demonstrated in all aspects of your job search

13) Dana Manciagli from
As a global career expert with years of experience as a Director in one of the biggest shipping line in the world, my most actionable tip is to apply with an additional single page as Page 1 of your resume. On this single page, called a "Job Description Profile", do a table with column A and column B. In column A, summarize their job description in 8 rows. In column B, tell the company what your skills and experiences are for each row. You are dissecting their job description AND pulling the most relevant skills from your background. As a result, you are more relevant and much more likely to get called from an interview. Stitch this new, nice-looking document in as page one of your resume and submit this new, customized set of "credentials" whenever you are asked for a resume. This work will also prepare you for the interview so you get the job.

14) Andrea Stroud from APQC
Having “soft skills” is essential for supply chain professionals committed to landing their dream job in supply chain.

In APQC’s recent Recruiting and Developing Talent in the Supply Chain research, more than 167 organizations from 40+ industries rated the importance of certain skills for supply chain talent. The results reveal that organizations think it is important for supply chain professionals to have strategic attributes such as leadership experience, global supply knowledge, and other “softer” skills such as business ethics, problem solving, customer focus, and teamwork.

As a growing number of organizations look for new supply chain professionals to fill retirement gaps and meet the demands of a complex, global economy, APQC recommends that professionals work to enhance their skill sets, especially the softer ones, through education, training, and mentoring.

15) Steve Bray, from GRA Supply Chain Consultants
Develop strong quantitative skills. Strong quantitative skills are becoming increasingly important as organisations look to reduce cost and protect service levels.

Understand what ‘optimise’ means. The word ‘optimise’ is often used with little understanding for what it actually means. Take the time to understand the true meaning of ‘optimise’.

Be results-oriented. In today’s environment, hard work is acknowledged but results are rewarded.

Understand the difference between supply chain planning and supply chain execution. Two very different skills sets are required depending on whether you are interested in supply chain planning or execution. Planning requires a higher thinking skillset whilst execution requires more hands-on ‘doing’ skills.

We've tallied the results and found that our experts pay much attention to things as presented below,

- Streamline Resume = 4 votes
- Join industry associations = 2 votes
- Networking = 2 votes
- Map your career path = 1 votes
- Develop a Job Search Plan = 1 vote
- Accept Interim Employment = 1 vote
- Make follow-up phone call = 1 vote
- Ace your interview = 1 vote
- Develop soft skills = 1 vote
- Develop strong quantitative skills = 1 vote

Our observation is that recruiters and career coaches don't give much weight to job interview. The reason is that interview session is used to verify what's already on a resume and to determine if candidates can fit in with corporate culture. So common advice here is to be natural and think (or even pause a bit) before answering.

Anyway, we believe all tips presented here are very clear and useful. Implementing all them will only make you stand out from the crowd.