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Procurement Jobs – Top Soft Skills Procurement Hiring Managers Are Looking For

Procurement Jobs – Top Soft Skills Procurement Hiring Managers Are Looking For

Looking for your next job can be stressful. Prepping your resume also sucks.

It’s like studying for one of the most critical tests in your life—like the MCAT or the SATs—and not knowing where to focus your time most among everything you’ve covered. Many students hire tutors or attend SAT prep to get guidance on the most critical things to focus on to ace the exam.

For your pivotal test—your procurement job search—that’s exactly where I come in. Think of me like your prep tutor. As a recruiter specializing in procurement, I want to focus on some of the top soft skills that hiring managers look for today in procurement professionals.

Keep reading, and let’s help you nail that dream procurement job.

The Best Procurement Jobs Require Soft Skills

We hear a lot about the technical skill set (or hard skills) needed for success as a procurement professional. These are quantifiable skills, such as specific degrees or even the ability to drive and fluency in other languages.

But we hear far less about how soft skills are becoming equally necessary in nailing that coveted procurement job. And with the rise of automation becoming more prevalent in 2022, soft skills are in higher demand than ever.

According to a CIPS article that cites a report published by APQC, soft skills were the most in-demand skills specified by procurement managers. Another CIPS article offered excellent insight into why this is. Savita Mace, director of supplier management at AstraZeneca, explained how automation is fundamentally changing the role of procurement professionals.

“What I’ve seen in the last decade, and all of you have experienced this, in procurement – supplier payments, distribution, analytics, inventory management, when I started out, these activities were my job. Now if I was 20 years younger I would have no job because these things have all been fully automated or semi automated.” Mace added that young procurement talent are required to be “all-rounded professionals” to meet today’s far more challenging and evolving procurement dynamics to “stay ahead of the robots.”

This shows why having soft skills is vital.

What Exactly Is a Soft Skill?

So, what do we mean by soft skills? In contrast to hard skills, which can be more easily measured, soft skills are more often assessed during a job interview because they are not necessarily things you can quantify on a resume. Instead, you can gauge them in real-life interactions. Think about aspects like professionalism, leadership, and being a team player who works well with others. All of these are soft skills that hiring managers are on the lookout for more than ever.

A few other examples of top soft skills that hiring managers seek are

  • cultural awareness
  • strategic forecasting
  • interpersonal skills
  • active listening
  • big picture thinking
  • negotiation
  • stress management
  • information processing

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these.

Communication Is Key

It should be no surprise that communication is a fundamental skill for thriving personal relationships; it’s also necessary for successful procurement relationships. Strong communication and networking abilities are becoming increasingly crucial in procurement, especially for younger professionals starting out.

In the old days technical skills could get you by. Now to excel in your role you need to have excellent communication skills.

Relationship Building and Management Is a Must-Have

Using your communication skills to hone your relationship-building and management skills is also essential. It’s no longer sufficient to only drive a hard bargain and negotiate costs to save your company money. You must also be able to cultivate and grow successful supplier relationships and establish and maintain a healthy rapport with stakeholders and your team members. Nowadays, procurement professionals must go beyond the traditional “cost is king” model of procurement and uncover the soft skills needed to foster relationships.

Critical Thinking

Finally, critical thinking can’t be left out of this list. With the increasing number of hats that procurement professionals today are being called on to wear, the ability to think critically and make solid decisions (often quickly) is at the top of hiring managers’ criteria.

Want to learn more about how we can help you nail that dream procurement job and more? Join the Foundry today.

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