How to Find the Best Supply Chain Jobs
Supply chain jobs deal with the tasks that support the journey of goods from creation to delivery. Because this journey is so long and diverse, various roles serve different purposes at different points in the supply chain. Put simply, supply chain roles oversee almost everything in the journey of goods from start to finish.
The supply chain industry is vital for the economy and for human survival. Humans depend on the supply chain for the delivery of basic necessities such as food and water and any breakdown or interruption can have disastrous consequences for the entire population.
Supply chain management roles are currently in demand across the country with the supply chain industry poised for significant growth in the next decade. Because so many industries and sectors rely on supply chains, you can look forward to an exciting and fruitful career with a competitive salary and plenty of growth opportunities.
The Basics of Supply Chain Jobs
Supply chain positions are jobs that deal with the production, shipping, and installation of goods. They play an important role in the procurement of goods and without supply chains, nothing would get made, sold, or delivered to customers.
Because the supply chain industry encompasses so many sectors, there are various roles to choose from. For example, you could be a supply chain manager, supply chain analyst, or work in inventory management. Generally, supply chain managers deal with the majority of business operations.
The supply chain industry is highly resilient and is considered a safe route of employment for applicants that possess the necessary skills and experience. Because so many roles are advertised as entry-level positions, there are also plenty of opportunities for career growth and progression.
Most supply chain management jobs require good communication, technical know-how, and time management. Depending on the role, leadership experience and financial literacy may also be advantageous.
How to Prepare for a Career in Supply Chain
Preparation is key to a successful supply chain career. However, the level of preparation required depends on the role, employer, and sector.
For example, most supply chain manager jobs require at least five years of supply chain experience, a bachelor’s degree in business administration or operations management, and a recognized certification. Most inventory control clerk jobs, on the other hand, only require applicants to be able to read, write, and lift heavy boxes.
Before applying for a supply chain role, you must choose a specialization. By doing this, you can ensure you are focusing on the specific skills and experience needed for the role.
Even if you’re still a student, getting a part-time job can help you gain practical experience. Knowing which training programs and courses you need for the role you want can also help you prepare for the future. Some courses can even be completed online so you can gain industry experience without even leaving your home.
Organizations usually have their own criteria when hiring supply chain professionals. Previous experience in a similar role is always desired but good communication and being able to solve complex problems are important. Certification will also prove you are committed to your personal and professional development.
Where to Find Supply Chain Jobs
There are plenty of supply chain roles out there. But with so many choices, finding the perfect supply chain job for you can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Some of the places you should be looking for a role in the supply chain industry include:
- Job boards and search engines
- Professional organizations and associations
- Company career pages
- Networking opportunities
- Temp and staffing agencies
- Social media
- Friends and family
Resume and Cover Letter Tips for Supply Chain Jobs
Keeping your resume and cover letter up to date is important when searching for supply chain management roles. Because supply chain management is growing at such a rapid pace, knowing what’s happening in the industry can give you a competitive advantage over other applicants.
Before sending your resume, always ensure you’ve aligned your skills, experience, and qualifications with what the employer is looking for. For example, if the role requires data management skills, make sure to emphasize this on your resume as well as examples of when you’ve put these skills to good use.
Any financial, logistical, and supply planning skills or experience you have should be mentioned for a supply chain management job. This will let the employer know that you are qualified for the role and might even save them time and money on training you on certain processes.
Cover letters are commonly overlooked but can be your last chance to sell yourself for the role. Grab the employer’s attention by discussing the skills and experience listed on your resume in more detail. Getting the company’s name and address right is also important.
You must never lie about your skills or experience when applying for a supply chain role. This will not only waste your employer’s time but will make you feel unprepared when it comes to carrying out the tasks you insisted you were qualified for. Including work experience that is irrelevant to the role is another common mistake.
Interviewing for a Supply Chain Job
The interview process for a supply chain role will differ depending on the position you are interviewing for. However, all interviewers will be looking for proof that you are qualified for the role as well as any practical experience that backs up what you are saying. They will also be looking to see if you will be a good fit for the company.
Most employers will ask about the importance of supply chain management, why you want to work in supply chain management, and what you know about production and material supply. Some interviewers will also ask follow-up questions based on your answers. This is to ensure you have a firm understanding of the industry and what the role entails.
Behavioral techniques are also common in supply chain interviews. This is when an employer asks you to recount past experiences instead of simply asking how you would deal with a certain situation.
From the second you walk into the room, you must maintain a positive attitude and make eye contact with the interviewer. Even if your answers are not as good as you had practiced, making a positive impression on the interviewer can boost your chances of success.
Negotiating a Supply Chain Job Offer
Negotiating a job offer is part of the process of working in the supply chain industry. This might sound daunting if you’ve never worked in supply chain management before but it can lead to a bigger and better salary.
One of the best tips for negotiating a supply chain job offer is to explain why you are deserving of a higher salary. Are you overqualified for the role? Do you have contacts that could help the company in other ways?
Most companies have designated budgets for roles but will usually budge if you can prove you are worth what you are asking for.
There is more to evaluating a job offer than just looking at the salary. For example, you must also think about whether you are happy with the organization, role, location, employee benefits, and company culture. Career progression is another important factor to consider.
Advancing Your Career in Supply Chain
There are plenty of opportunities for career progression when you join the supply chain industry. Depending on your role, you may be required to undergo further education and certification to climb the ladder with some positions, such as supply chain managers requiring a bachelor’s degree.
The time it takes to progress from entry-level supply chain careers to supply chain management careers can be anything from five to 10 years. During this time, enrolling in recognized training courses and programs can boost your chances of working for a reputable organization.
Most universities and colleges provide training courses and programs for aspiring supply chain managers and some can even be completed online in just a few weeks. Some degrees can also be completed on a part-time basis so you can work alongside your education.
Typically, most people start as an expeditor before becoming a buyer and eventually progressing to a supply chain manager. Using the transferrable skills you learn during your time in supply chain management can help you seamlessly transition from position to position.
Challenges and Trends in the Supply Chain Industry
The supply chain industry is growing at a rapid pace and trends are coming and going quicker than ever. However, the biggest trends to shape the supply chain industry lately have been automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics.
But despite such great technological leaps, the supply chain industry isn’t without its challenges. For example, a shortage of materials, increasing shipping costs, and changing consumer attitudes are among the biggest challenges faced by the world’s supply chains in 2023.
The supply chain industry has always been resilient and despite the challenges it faces, job outlook remains positive. For a rewarding role in a fast-paced environment, there has never been a better time to join the supply chain industry.
The supply chain industry is constantly evolving. There will always be work opportunities for those looking for supply chain management jobs.
Most senior supply chain management careers require a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience. However, there are plenty of entry-level positions to get your foot in the door. Furthering your education and enrolling in training programs and courses can also boost your chances of getting a good job in the supply chain industry.
So whether you have your sights set on becoming a supply chain manager or working in inventory management, it has never been easier to find supply chain management jobs. Choose a specialization, gain the necessary skills and experience, and search an online job board to find supply chain management jobs to suit you.
What skills are most important for supply chain professionals to have?
Regardless of the role, all supply chain professionals must have good communication, technical know-how, and time management skills. Supply chain managers should also have data analysis, leadership, and organizational skills.
Where can I find job openings in the supply chain industry?
There are plenty of places to find SCM jobs but it’s helpful to know what role you want beforehand. Some of the best places to look are job boards, company career pages, and social media.
How can I prepare for a supply chain job interview?
Like all interviews, you must be prepared to discuss how your skills and experience make you a perfect candidate for the role. Researching the company will also prove you have done your homework. This can give you an edge over the competition.