Execute a Supply Chain Job Search Strategy
Obtain the career you want and deserve by leveraging our tips for developing and executing a supply chain job search strategy.
Brainstorm Supply Chain Career Paths
There are a plethora of career paths within the supply chain discipline that you can pursue. This makes it both an exciting and overwhelming place to launch a career. We’ve put together a high level overview of the various career paths that exist within the field of supply chain management to help you understand your options.
You’ll also want to narrow down your list of career options factoring in geographical, industry, company size and other attributes. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you focus on the right job search criteria:
- What are your key strengths?
- What are you really good at? What do you want to be really good at?
- What industries are poised for growth versus decline?
- What functional disciplines are poised for growth versus decline?
- What size company and type of culture interest you the most?
- What are your geographical preferences and limitations?
- What type of roles interest you most?
Use S.M.A.R.T. Goal Planning
After establishing your career aspirations, it’s important to develop career goals to help keep you on track. Your career goals should be written down and kept in highly visible places such as your desk, refrigerator or mirror to serve as a daily reminder. We strongly recommend setting S.M.A.R.T. career goals which stands for:
- Specific — Keep your goals clear, concise and simple
- Measurable — Define action plans to measure your results
- Achievable — Set challenging stretch goals within your ability
- Relevant — Align the goals with your career interests and aspirations
- Time-based — Set realistic deadlines that you can achieve
Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Most recruiters spend as much time searching social media platforms like LinkedIn as they do perusing job boards. Having a strong presence on key platforms such as LinkedIn will increase your chances of being discovered by a supply chain recruiter searching for someone with your skills and experience. It’s also a good practice to clean up your social media profiles if they contain any unprofessional content or photos.
Networking is one the most valuable career development strategies for any professional at any stage in their career. We’ve covered in depth the various avenues to grow your network, from supply chain associations to using your alma mater to accessing various online communities.
Automate Your Job Search
While conducting a supply chain job search, it’s important to try to automate the process. Most of the job boards allow you to set up alerts that come to your email inbox on a daily basis, based on your specified job search criteria. Typically, there is no limit to the amount of email job alerts you can create, and it allows you to specify criteria such as location, job title, keywords, and company name. At a minimum, you should set up email job alerts on Indeed and LinkedIn.
You can also enable Google Alerts or Talkwalker, both of which search newly indexed web pages in “real time,” including blogs, job postings, news, and company sites. For a great tutorial on Google Alerts, check out Job Searches in Google Alerts.
Advanced search engine techniques, such as Boolean logic, can help you create the most accurate results.
Utilize a Job Search Strategy Template
Our Job Search Strategy Template was designed to help you keep track of specific goals, contacts, job applications, interviews and key action steps, helping you refine your strategy. Please edit this template as necessary to fit your particular requirements.
This easy to use job search template utilizes a simple Excel spreadsheet, and is divided into 7 tabs:
- Action Plan – Document action steps, including specifics such as due dates, the status of completion, follow-up inquiries, etc. Examples of relevant actions items include:
- attend a certain amount of supply chain networking events per month
- apply to X amount of jobs per day
- connect with Y amount of new contacts per day
- Target Company List – Include details about your target companies, such as websites and networking contacts within each company. We recommend keeping your target employer list to 25-50 companies, so you don’t lose focus and spin your wheels. Poll your network to get advice on who the best companies to work for are. Remember, referrals are the #1 source of hires!
- Networking Contacts – When building your contact list, try to capture as many specifics as possible, not just the obvious phone number and email. Note your contacts’ job title, source, relevant comments, and anything you have in common.
- Job Applications – Keep track of every job you apply to and be sure to stay organized so you can follow up in a timely fashion. This can keep you from becoming overwhelmed and helps you to be prepared when an employer calls you about an application you submitted.
- Interviews – Keep track of thank-you notes, follow-up calls, and any pertinent details you discussed during your interview. It’s also important to properly prepare before any in-person interview or phone interview.
- Offers –If you receive multiple offers (good for you!), then this tab provides an easy way to analyze and compare offer packages. Include important information such as decision deadlines, cash compensation, benefits and other offer details. Be sure to take the necessary steps to fully evaluate a job offer in efforts to make an informed decision.
- Career Websites & Apps – With so many career websites out there, it’s important to keep track of all your login/account information, as well as the status of your applications and any further action required.
Connect with Employer Contacts Using LinkedIn Advanced Search
Search for the right contacts to engage at your target employers by leveraging LinkedIn’s Advanced Search Page. Try to identify the hiring manager, supply chain recruiters, the primary human resources partner aligned to supply chain, department leaders and other contacts to engage. From here, you’ll want to send a personalized connection request, and once they accept, you can obtain their email address via their LinkedIn profile in order to send a personalized follow-up email with your resume attached.
Before you send your new contact a personalized email, do some research to establish a working knowledge of the company. Keep your email short and sweet, no more than 5 sentences, as the goal is to initiate a dialogue, not to explain in fine detail why you’re a fit for the role you’re applying to. Here are some tips for constructing your initial message:
- Thank the individual for accepting your LinkedIn invitation.
- Reference the job title and job ID# you applied to.
- Briefly explain why you’re interested in pursuing the opportunity and how your background aligns with the core objectives of the role.
- Attach your resume and include your full contact information
- Leave a short call to action to elicit a reply such as “Would you be open to a 5-minute exploratory call so I can learn more about the opportunity and explain how my background aligns with the job requirements?” or “Are you the right person to speak with and if not, can you point me in the right direction?”.
Make Follow-up Calls
While this may seem intimidating, it can significantly increase your chances of making contact with key decision makers.
You will likely only have 30 – 60 seconds to get your point across, so it’s important to spend time developing your elevator pitch. Jot down talking points and a list of pertinent questions that should include call to action related questions. Then practice in front of a friend or family member. During the call, keep your job search template handy to help you stay on track. You can then document the outcome of the call and especially referral information as you receive it.
Be Consistently Persistent
Last but not least, the best way to separate yourself in your supply chain job search process is to be consistently persistent when it comes to your job search. Most candidates utilize a “one and done” approach to their job search. This means they apply to a job posting or submit their resume via email and hope someone gets back to them. It’s critical to make multiple attempts to connect with key decision makers at your target employers, leveraging multiple communication channels.
If this doesn’t work, consider going “old school” by sending a handwritten letter in the mail with your resume. It’s extremely rare that anyone does this anymore.