Looking for a job in procurement?
If you’re considering a job in procurement—or if you already have a career but want to update your skills—there are a few areas you could focus on to help ensure your success. Some of them include what industry professionals call “hard skills” while others fall into the “soft skills” category. Having as many of these skills and abilities as possible makes it more likely that you’ll be successful in your procurement career. And who doesn’t want to be successful?
Hard skills are those that can be quantified (thanks, Investopedia!). Generally, hard skills are job skills that can be measured, such as typing speed, ability to drive and fluency in other languages. Hard skills are also often the ones that get you an interview because they can be identified in a resume and cover letter, “I can type 60 words per minute, I have a driver’s licence and I have completed a course in shorthand,” is the sort of thing you might write in a cover letter to grab the reviewer’s attention.
According to Hays, analytical skills are among the most important skills a procurement manager can have. That’s because procurement is often a balancing act between the priorities of the company, the needs of the customer and the supplier’s abilities. Procurement managers must often evaluate how efficient their supply chain is from a cost and productivity perspective, and make adjustments as needed. They must also perform quality control to ensure the materials they bring in meet certain standards and take action if they don’t.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills are more difficult to measure. They are often assessed during a job interview because they are not tangible and they are more difficult to convey in a resume. Soft skills might include being a team player, working well on a deadline or professionalism.
Supply Management writes that among the soft skills required for a job in procurement are developing relationships, communication skills and influencing. All three are vital to a procurement manager, although communications skills are especially important because misunderstandings can result in procurement errors, costing organizations valuable time and money.
Soft skills are vital to any management position not only because they affect external relationships but also because they affect internal relationships as well. Being able to effectively motivate the people who work for you, to show leadership, and to bring out the best in employees are valuable skills. Having employees who like the people they work with and for enhances a company’s success.
To have a successful position in procurement, you must have a combination of hard and soft skills, using both to effectively run a procurement division while managing internal and external relationships.