Do You Have the Skills to Start a Supply Chain Career?
Over the last few years, the hiring process for the supply chain career field has been tumultuous.
This is true from the perspective of both employers and employees. For instance, many job applicants feel frustrated that they can’t find work in their preferred field. At the same time, companies are having trouble finding the perfect fit for their posted supply chain job openings.
There are many reasons why companies and prospective employees are having trouble connecting the dots. These reasons vary greatly depending on the industry, the specific companies, and the candidates in question.
When it comes to jobs in the supply chain, there are specific skill sets that employers are seeking.
In this article, we will review some of the top skills that logistics companies are looking for in candidates. By sharpening these skills, you’ll put yourself in a much better position as you search for employment in this very competitive field.
Jobs in the Supply Chain Career Field
It should be stated, of course, that there are a variety of different careers available throughout the supply chain. There are drivers, warehouse workers, and others who all keep these systems operating like well-oiled machines.
However, the focus of this article is not on this subset of the logistics industry. Rather, this post is designed to help those looking for work as supply chain managers, chief supply chain officers (CSCOs), logistics data analysts and similar career paths.
How to Start a Supply Chain Career
For those looking for logistics careers, there are a few key items that bear consideration. In this section, we’ll dive into some of the major qualifications and skills that logistics companies are seeking in their prospective employees.
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
Everything moves quickly in the logistics industry. For this reason, many logistics companies will require that supply chain managers and those with similar titles carry a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. However, the degree doesn’t necessarily need to be specific to the supply chain. For example, many great supply chain managers majored in finance and other areas of focus.
Further, some logistics companies will be even more impressed by those that choose to go further with their education. Having a master’s degree or a PhD can certainly help to improve your chance of getting hired and advancing further within this industry.
Beyond an official degree from an accredited university, many supply chain professionals will choose to become certified in a specialized area of their field. These certifications show that the candidate is excited and enthusiastic about working in logistics.
That being said, certification is rarely a requirement for working in logistics. Furthermore, these certifications alone are not enough to secure a position. However, these certificates are often considered “nice-to-haves” by employers, regardless. Acquiring those certificates shows not only dedicated to your chosen career path but also signals to them that you are able to follow instructions, follow through, and have the base knowledge needed to begin applying it in the field.
Gathering as many of these “nice-to-haves” as possible will go a long way in your supply chain career.
Again, it can’t be overstated that the logistics industry is both fast-paced and competitive. Many logistics companies will want to know that their new employees have at least some level of experience in the field.
Therefore, if you are just starting out looking for supply chain jobs, you may have to prove yourself early on. In the following months and years, you can work your way up the ladder. Luckily, many supply chain positions allow for you to progress quickly, as the need for skilled supply chain professionals will only grow as time goes by.
One way to begin getting some experience in this field is by taking an internship. If you are currently in college, there may be programs available through your campus that help place students in positions or internships relating to their chosen career field. Usually, these programs are introduced at the beginning of your degree program. This is, by far, one of the best routes to take as more connections are available to you through these programs. To get more information on the availability of these sorts of programs, reach out to the career counselor on your campus.
If you are not currently in college, finding an internship is still possible. However, it may require a bit more legwork on your end to make it happen. Job fairs, temp agencies, and leveraging connections you made while completing your degree program are all good ways to go about getting your foot in the door and a little bit of experience under your belt.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to gain experience in the supply chain industry, but it is a good starting point.
Everything discussed above is important for a career in this field. But a person who possesses stellar intangible skills is an asset to any company, no matter the field.
Below are some of the key intangibles that logistics companies are seeking in their employees.
An optimistic outlook can propel a candidate to the top of the hiring manager’s list. Optimistic supply chain professionals improve the mood of the whole company, starting with the morale of their team. In turn, this often leads to a better quality of work, faster output, and an overall more productive/happier work environment.
Supervisors and managers are stretched very thin these days. As a result, they have limited time that can be devoted to making sure that members of the team are performing their jobs competently.
Being independent as a worker means that you can be trusted to get your job done successfully without much need for outside intervention. This is an invaluable skill that logistics companies love to see in their employees.
Additionally, strong independence can actually benefit the entire team. When you are able to recognize, handle and monitor tasks under your watch independently, you help to keep your teammates focused on their own tasks and create a more streamlined process flowing.
In the past, you may have come across the terms “fixed” and “growth” as they relate to mindset.
A person with a fixed mindset tends to believe that working hard will do little to improve his or her skills, knowledge, etc. Alternatively, a person with a growth mindset believes that he or she can and will improve if he or she simply puts in an effort toward achieving this goal.
Hiring managers want to see candidates with growth mindsets and a strong affinity to inspire that in their teams. These employees are never satisfied with just being “good enough.” Instead, they want to push the limits and continue to improve for as long as they possibly can.
As topics such as sustainability, resiliency, and agility grow more prevalent in the logistics and supply chain industry almost monthly, the need for workers with a growth mindset becomes all the more important. Those with a growth mindset are focused on scaling things to their full potential. This includes thinking outside the box in addition to embracing new trends, technologies, and modern strategies. All of which are all important to scaling operations.
Ready to Kickstart Your Supply Chain Career?
Logistics companies are currently on the hunt for quality employees. By making yourself into an ideal candidate, you can greatly improve your chances of being hired for your preferred role.
You can maximize your hirable potential by focusing on all of the traits, certifications, degrees and other elements outlined above.
Interested in starting a supply chain career as part of a team of professionals in a fun, knowledgeable and progressive work environment? Reach out to Redwood today, as we have several roles we are looking to recruit talented individuals for. You can even visit our careers page here to take a look at the positions we need to fulfill.