So, You Want a Job in Procurement?

The other day I received an email from an aspiring procurement professional who is currently an experienced engineer working with contracts and cost models in a company in the construction and engineering industry. This person said that he is looking to make a switch to either the oil & gas or telecom industries. However, he said, his current certifications aren’t recognized outside the construction and engineering industry.

Then he asked me whether the IACCM or the CIPS certification would be a better option for him and offer more value for breaking into the oil & gas and telecom industries. It should be added that this person is working in an African country at the moment.

To summarize my response, it went like this:

  • In addition to IACCM and CIPS, there is also CPSM. Different certifications have different strengths in different industries and countries—and it’s hard to say which one is best for his location.
  • I advised him to connect with people within "his" target companies. They will be able to tell him what they are looking for in hires. Ultimately, whether what they want is right or not, that is what they want. It is always easier to sell what people are buying, rather than to convince them that something else is better!
  • I also made the observation that there is plenty of construction and engineering in oil & gas (obviously!) so his experience should be applicable. But I suggested that he should brush up on the safety-specific aspects of O&G – in my experience, that is probably one of the biggest differences compared to other industries.
  • I concluded by saying that he should do some research on LinkedIn to see what certifications are held by people who work for the companies and in the types of positions that he is targeting.

I thought I’d share the gist of my conversation here – it might give others some ideas on how to improve their chances of finding the right procurement job.

But perhaps those among our readership who are looking to hire can share other aspects of what they are looking for when it comes to formal qualifications? Please tell us in the comments below.

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Voices (3)

  1. Thomas Kase:


    Good comment – thanks. In this case I wanted to switch the cart around and focus this individual on identifying what his prospective employer is looking for, rather than recommending the best program to pursue.

    This person is currently in a sub-Saharan country where the training options and the local marketplace recognition of US-centric programs might not be enough to justify what might be the better approach, but instead easier to go with the flow, so to speak.

    Good addition though, thanks again.


    1. Charles Dominick:

      Good points, Thomas. I’ve been blogging a bit lately about the flawed way that people seek certification advice. One post on LinkedIn can lead to recommendations that read like alphabet soup: NLPA/SPSM, ISM/CPSM, APICS/CSCP, NIGP/CPPB-CPPO, CIPS, IACCM…leaving the individual more confused than they were at the outset.

      The bottom line is that no one certification is perfect for every person. If one was, there wouldn’t be all of these good options. The key is to for each person to find the right one OR ONES for him/herself and most aligned to his/her goals. Your suggestion of factoring in the situation was wise (most online “advisors” don’t), so I applaud you for that.

  2. Charles Dominick:

    I’m surprised you didn’t refer your colleague to Spend Matters’ own research paper on the topic:

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