Ten top tips for getting a chief procurement officer job

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As jobs in procurement go, the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) role is a relatively new one. It has gained growing importance within organizations over the past few years because of the need to rein in expenses and centralize the management of expenditure across an organization. As a result the CPO position is a strategic management and planning role which requires the incumbent to excel in communication and negotiations with a broad cross section of parties. A CPO generally reports to the Chief Finance Officer, however in about twenty percent of American corporations they report directly to the President of the company, suggesting the growing importance of the role.

A Chief Procurement Officer is responsible for all corporate purchasing expenditures. These expenditures include direct production and distribution spending as well as indirect goods and services expenses such as office and communications, information technology, facilities, sales and marketing and the acquisition of professional services such as legal advice. This is no easy feat as there are many subcategories in these areas which will need to be evaluated in order to develop a plan to minimize or reduce overall corporate spending. As well as planning, a CPO must also monitor and measure the actual savings made across all expenditure areas as well as any other key metrics determined by the organization.

To be offered a position as a Chief Procurement Officer you will need to have the experience, qualifications, skills, and personal characteristic to be able to competently perform your job and you will also need to be able to prove to the employer that you possess these characteristics. Working in previous procurement jobs is not enough unless you have also worked in supervisory, management and planning roles.

Here are ten top tips to help you obtain a position as Chief Procurement Officer:

1. Before applying for a high level procurement job, you will need to have significant experience in both procurement and management. Organizations seeking to hire a CPO often ask for between eight to ten years experience in purchasing and supply.

2. A four year college degree in an appropriate discipline is a minimum requirement for this position. Employers generally prefer applicants to have an MBA or equivalent Master’s degree qualification.

3. Create a portfolio containing documentary evidence of your achievements in previous roles with regards to creating, implementing and achieving the objectives of strategic plans designed to reduce expenditure within and across a range of categories and sub-categories.

4. A key role of the CPO is to create and lead sourcing teams whose purpose is to create new strategies to reduce costs in categories by minimizing expenditure in each subcategory. To land a CPO job you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved successful outcomes in such a role.

5. A CPO also implements supplier management programs with the organization’s key suppliers. These programs generally include improvement initiatives, performance goals, and metrics. Emphasize that you have such experience in your resume and include detailed evidence in your portfolio.

6. A Chief Procurement Officer not only participates in meetings with the organization’s suppliers to ensure that strategies are implemented, but he also leads negotiations with the corporation’s supply base. These negotiations are not only about immediate savings, they also involve efforts to improve the supply processes from the supply end. Improved processes can result in cost reductions for the suppliers and timely deliveries which can lower expenditure for the organization. Before applying for a CPO position, make sure that you can support claims that you have accomplished similar goals in other positions.

7. A Chief Procurement Officer is also responsible for employee supervision, training, and monitoring as well as to empower the procurement team of employees to work individually and together to achieve the established objectives. To be offered a CPO position, you will need to have successfully performed this role in at least one other position and to have done so for a reasonable period of time.

8. If you have all the qualifications and the requisite experience for a Chief Procurement Officer position, you are ready to begin applying for these high level positions. If you are aiming for one of these high paying positions, the first thing you should do while in your current job is to develop relationships with colleagues and suppliers. By doing an excellent job, helping others, and by being friendly and personable, you will open doors to being offered a suitable position by someone you know or because of someone you know. You can also network beyond your current role by being actively involved in local business or community organizations.

9. Executive recruitment agencies can also be good sources of high level procurement jobs. Some agencies specialize in jobs for procurement and can let you know when the right job has come along. There are also specialist procurement employment websites which advertise these specialist positions. The larger online job sites should also be on your radar when you are looking for a CPO position. Also make sure that you don’t forget newspaper employment advertisements.

10. Being qualified for a CPO position and finding ideal jobs to apply for won’t actually get you an interview. In order to be able to sell yourself as an ideal person for this job, you have to pass the initial recruitment stages which focus on the application letters and resumes. Your letter of application must carefully address every selection criteria given for the job and your resume should also be adjusted for the requirements of the position. If you do this, you will have an excellent opportunity of proving your worth at an interview.

Chief Procurement Officer Jobs are growing in number as organizations seek to centralize their spending and improve their management of costs. If you ensure that you have the skills, qualifications and experience for these high level procurement jobs, you will be able to move into a role that is becoming increasingly important to the very survival of American corporations.
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