A good friend of mine recently found himself looking for a job in the purchasing/supply chain/procurement/strategic sourcing realm.  He asked me to pass along his resume to any employer in my network who may be looking for talent such as his.

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I just.  Couldn’t.  Do it.

Why not?

Well, his resume simply looked sloppy to me.  I thought his resume didn’t represent him in a good light.  And, perhaps selfishly, it wouldn’t represent me in a good light by telling respected colleagues that this guy is the greatest thing since sliced bread but handing them a resume that clearly had some issues.

I gave him some tips to clean up his resume to better reflect his talent.  But you don’t have to be a long-time friend of mine to get tips for cleaning up your strategic sourcing resume.  Here’s what I encouraged my friend to do and what I encourage you to do as well:

  • Make sure there is not a single spelling error in your resume.  Most strategic sourcing jobs require employees who have a razor-sharp attention to detail.  Spelling errors illustrate a clear lack of attention to detail (man, I hope there are no spelling errors in this post!).  Your strategic sourcing resume can be a deciding factor of whether you get to compete for a job that will pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years.  If something so important wasn’t worth your effort to double-check for spelling errors, an employer will assume that you’ll be even more sloppy with projects that are less personally important to you.
  • Convert run-on sentences into a higher number of shorter sentences.  When one writes things like a “career objective,” it’s easy to try to cram all of your skills, accomplishments, desires, etc. into a sentence of biblical proportions.  It’s better to throw a darn period in there every now and then and start a new sentence.  There’s no rule that says your career objective has to be one sentence.  Dedicate a separate sentence to each idea you want to convey.
  • Realize that white space is your friend.  When your fate of competing for a good job depends so much on how well your resume sells you, it’s tempting to cram everything good about your career into that document.  And it’s OK to have a lengthy resume.  But don’t make it look crammed.  Don’t shrink your margins to 0.1″.  Use the enter button to separate the jobs you list.  Do what I’ve done in this post and so many other posts and purchasing articles I’ve written:  use bullet points.  If something looks intimidating to read, it likely won’t be read with the attention with which you need it to be read.  Look at the page.  Do you see a good balance of text and white space?  Or all text?
  • Steer clear of industry-specific jargon.  Strategic sourcing often requires being an expert with certain categories, products or services.  The industries of those categories, products and services often involve jargon that is meaningless in other industries.  As such, a resume reader may have no idea what you’re writing about if you use industry-specific jargon but you’re applying for a job in another industry.  For example, my friend used the acronym “ASI” in his resume in several places.  I had no idea what ASI was.  Turns out, it meant “ad specialty industry.”  I was going to forward his resume to the strategic sourcing director at a refractory.  I have a feeling that “ASI” would be equally meaningless to him.  And, if a resume reader encounters something that frustrates them about your resume, it’s not going to help your cause and may very well hurt it.  My recommendation is that, if you have to refer to jargon in your resume, define it the first time you use it.  For example, I would revise a sentence in the resume from “Was responsible for strategically sourcing ASI items” to “Was responsible for strategically sourcing ad specialty industry (ASI) items.”  Then, it’s OK to leave the remaining references to ASI intact.  You’ve done your job to make sure the reader knows what ASI is.
  • Aim for consistency.  Strategic sourcing executives have a lot in common with the stereotypical accountant.  They like things crisp, clean, neat.  Sometimes, obsessively so.  And it puts them into a tizzy when things are out of alignment.  In my friend’s resume, he started off each job section with phrases like “Responsible for strategically sourcing…”, “Had responsibility for supervising…”, “In charge of managing a strategic sourcing staff of…”, etc.  That may not be a problem for many.  But for the executives who value consistency in communications, it’s bothersome.  Maybe I’m one of those executives because it bothered me!  And you don’t want the reader of your resume to be bothered.  Again, strategic sourcing requires a lot of well-executed written business communication and consistency is a component of well-executed written business communication.
  • Eliminate pet peeves of detail-oriented readers.  Here are a few things I hate that I think make written communications – including strategic sourcing resumes – sloppy: bullet points that begin with lower-case letters, words that are unnecessarily capitalized (e.g., my friend had the word “replenishment” capitalized for some reason), dates that don’t make sense (e.g., my friend had his college dates in the format mm-dd-yyyy, making it look like he went to each college for one day), bad grammar, etc.  You want a job that requires attention to detail?  Challenge yourself to create a strategic sourcing resume that demonstrates attention to detail!

In strategic sourcing, we have to communicate a lot of important things in writing.  Good written communication ensures we identify the right supplier, tell them the right work to perform, and have our obligations – and those of the supplier – clearly documented.  Your strategic sourcing resume is your audition for showcasing your capabilities at communicating in writing.  Write it well and you get to compete for any job you’re qualified to do.  Write it poorly and you’ll wonder why you’re so qualified but can’t even get a return call.  Apply these tips and maximize your chances of competing for the strategic sourcing job of your dreams!

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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