It's common practice for companies to recruit university graduates for all sorts of roles, and procurement is no different. It makes sense that they want to hire bright young people who are passionate and ambitious.
We sat down with a successful procurement professional – who started out in a graduate role – and asked her to share any advice she thought might be useful.
What was working your way up like?
It was a really valuable experience for me. There's no way of learning like starting at the bottom. If you know procurement is what you want to do – like I did – it's definitely worthwhile.
As a graduate, you'll usually enter an organisation at junior or trainee level. It's your opportunity to prove yourself. And the sooner you do that, the sooner you can progress up the career ladder, as they say.
What are the keys to procurement career success?
Attentiveness and a hunger for knowledge are crucial to progression in any career, and especially so in procurement. An organisation's productivity relies to a large extent on the proficiency of its procurement staff – supplies and goods have to be bought and ordered, and amounts must be accurately gauged. So if you can start to prove your value early on, you'll do well.
Strong communication skills and a generally friendly demeanour are also hugely important, as good relationships with external parties – such as suppliers – must be established. Put it this way: a likeable buyer is in a much better position to negotiate prices than a buyer who's standoffish and cold. It's all about endearing yourself to people, and the best way to do that is by just being pleasant.
Then finally, and I suppose this goes without saying, astuteness and attention to detail will really help to raise you through the ranks. If you're switched-on and you don't leave any room for mistakes, you'll show your bosses that you're indispensible.
Are you looking for a graduate procurement role?
Portfolio Procurement knows exactly which qualities employers look for – and we will help you demonstrate them. We will help you find a well-paid role in an organisation that suits your skills and reflects your own personal values.