supply chain analyst career path

5 ways to gain relevant supply chain experience to help you win in the job market

Seeking a job right out of college is challenging as well as frustrating. Most freshers struggle in the job market because they don’t have relevant experience. The conundrum is that you can’t get a job unless you have prior supply chain experience and you can’t gain experience unless you have a job.

Even if you are moving from one role to another, companies look for relevant experience in your new role and job-seekers again find it challenging. Most of the job-seekers waste their time simply looking for the ultimate opportunity and this job seeking phase is marked my inaction towards gaining relevant supply chain experience.

So, how does one gain relevant supply chain experience before/while competing in the job market? There are many ways in which you can gain experience and I am sharing the top 5 ways to do that:

Get an Internship

If you are looking to get some experience before you actually get in the supply chain job market, there is no better way than to get a suitable internship. Internship provides you not just an excellent opportunity to work on projects and observe the functioning of supply chain closely but also to network with professionals in the industry.

You may or may not get a job offer from the company but your chances of getting a supply chain job in the future increases substantially. In order to maximize returns from your internship, you need to target companies and roles which are in line with your interest. For example, if you want to work in a CPG company after your education, doing an internship in Oil & Gas industry won’t add that much value as doing an internship in a CPG company.

Get an Interim/Temporary Job

Another great way to gain relevant supply chain experience is through getting an interim/temporary job. You can find a number of temporary jobs in supply chain which can ultimately help you transition into a better supply chain role.

Temporary jobs not just help you get relevant supply chain experience but can also help prevent any gaps in your resume. The experience that you gain in a temporary job is in some sense more valuable than internships as you get experience of working as an employee in the supply chain. However, a lot of job seekers ignore this option and thus end up wasting a lot of time while being unemployed.

Pursue a Certification

There are various certification programs offered by organizations like APICS, CSCMP, ISM and ISCEA. Certifications help you improve your understanding of the functioning of the supply chain and if you get other aspects of your resume right, certifications can help you stand out from the crowd.

Some of the popular certifications include CPIM, CSCP. CPSM. While CPIM is ideal for candidates looking for an opportunity in inventory and production management, CSCP is ideal for careers in general supply chain management and CPSM is for those looking to have a career in purchasing.

Here is a guide on choosing supply chain certifications.

Take Courses to Build Skills

One of the best but neglected ways to gain supply chain experience and build right set of skills is by taking supply chain courses. A lot of organizations offer supply chain courses in different areas. You can also find a lot of courses on platforms like Coursera, edX and Udemy.

Another advantage is that a lot of the courses are now online courses and you can take those courses as per your schedule and convenience.

You would also want to take a look at some of these best supply chain management books.

Do Volunteer Work

Another way to gain supply chain experience is through volunteer work. If you can’t find a full time or a temporary job in any company, you can volunteer to work in supply chain management with a company. Now, getting volunteer work can be challenging and you need to target the right organizations.

You are most likely to find volunteering work either with small businesses or with not-for-profit organizations. You can reach out to people in management positions in these companies to offer your services. If done correctly, you have a high chance of getting the right opportunity.

Getting experience is very critical to landing a supply chain job and most job seekers struggle with this part. In order to gain experience, you need to know your options well and should be ready to pursue those options. You need to be strategic in your approach and need to select the option which is the best in the given circumstances.

About the Author Baidhurya

Baidhurya is a supply chain analytics trainer and the author of a supply chain bestseller on Udemy. Before starting out as a trainer, Baidhurya worked in the industry as a supply chain consultant where he executed multiple high value network and inventory projects for clients which include top 5 retailers in the world.

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