Inside Procurement Professional Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Procurement Stable Career Choice...
Most people don't realize it is very easy to find jobs if you have purchasing or planning experience. It is an excellent career choice." (Production Planner; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Business Management at University Of Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Managing Relationships At Work Most Important...
I was surprised at how important managing personalities is just as important as your knowledge. Not everybody you will work with is incredibly sharp. It is shocking which people have certain positions and how they have attained those positions." (Purchasing Manager; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Finance at University Of New Orleans in Louisiana; completed Master degree in 2009

"I was surprised that being a buyer is more than knowing the customers and doing the calculations (or traveling abroad a lot). It also involves how to efficiently communicate with each store manager about how you can do to help them achieve the sales target. Most of the time it's not easy and feels like in a war zone because they all want the same merchandise to sell. Also, another surprise is retail staff training, in which you hold a such great responsibility making sure all the sales staff know what they are selling both professionally and confidently. This means in each buying decision, you not only have to know why you buy, you also have to think how to sell it later." (Women's Wear Buyer; 2012)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Fashion Merchandising at Academy Of Art University in California; completed Master degree in 2006

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Department Store Buyer: "The best part of my career is being able to incorporate my love of fashion and design into my every day work life. I also love meeting all the people who work for the various companies with which we do business. I have made many close friends through my work. The worst part of my career is the travel involved every month. I am seldom home for more than 5 days at a time. There is always a store that needs to be visited, or there are vendors and factories I need to check out. It can be tiring." (2011)

Procurement Analyst: "The best part of my job is its variety: the variety of the people that I work with as well as the commodities that I am involved in supplying. My company allows for movement so that you can expand your skill set across areas that are new to you. I started in IT equipment with servers, computers and telecommunications equipment and then transitioned to the commodities I support today. This part isn't really a bad part for me, but if you don't like to work on a computer and provide forward thinking and analysis, then you wouldn't like this job. I do however, get out of the office quite regularly and am not confined to my desk." (2010)

Career Background

Procurement Professional

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"We Vs. I...
Always say the word we instead of I. People respond better to the company needing it versus just you needing it." (Production Planner; 2014)

"Software Knowledge Is An Important First Step...
Learn how to use all of the proper business software. There is no shame in not knowing something, but being able to find the proper answer, quickly, is a huge advantage." (Purchasing Manager; 2013)

"Buy For Your Customer, Not Yourself...
Learn who your customer is, and figure out the best way to bring them merchandise that they will want to buy. Always remember that you are not buying things for yourself. Ultimately, your personal style preferences don't matter. The most important thing is what the customer likes. Always greet sales representatives and vendors with a smile and leave them with a smile. You want to project a friendly, self confident persona when working with sales representatives. Remember that sales reps are trying to get you to buy all that they can. Don't forget your budget for the season." (Department Store Buyer; 2011)

"Management Skills Needed...
I think it would be very helpful to have a background in project management and analytics to be in procurement. The primary structure when you are working on reviewing proposals and organizing the team members to achieve the common goal requires that you know how to manage people, usually with little or no directions. You are definitely the leader in this job. A knowledge of Excel is important as well." (Procurement Analyst; 2010)