I’ve been writing résumés for folks in supply chain, transportation management and logistics for over ten years now. Along the way, I have learned a thing or two about their expectations, the right questions to ask, the right content to include and best of all—what résumés get the best response rates and claim the highest hire rations.
I’ve also learned that supply chain and logistics folks are used to rapid movement, have little patience for a lack of knowledge and expect exceptionalism from those that serve them. You must be on your game as a résumé writer and deliver a seamless product with little need for explanation or revision.
My goal is to deliver a résumé (and LinkedIn profile) that meets or exceeds all of my suggestions that follow below. You can try this for yourself or be in touch to learn more.
Supply chain and logistics professionals are held to account as in few fields. It can be a very unforgiving landscape. On the other hand, there is no other—I repeat, no other—field in which I have seen so many people advance within their very job or onward from it. I have never seen a world in which titles are so readily re-created or where jobs are created for individuals based on what they can come in and do. That said, it is critical that your résumé is not standard fare.
A good résumé is like a first interview, eliminating all common questions and review time.
In supply chain and logistics, the résumé should provide a full view of what might be learned in two interviews.
THE RESUME PILE IS JUST THAT MASSIVE
Logistics Managers all the way up to SCM executives and transportation CFOs all need to consider these points:
Paint a Picture
Under each position, you should offer a clear explanation of just what your company does and your role within it. Find some language guidance on the website. What are you selling or moving, How many people are involved, and Where do you fit into the chain?
Supply Chain and Logistics is both a colossal and a highly complex world. People want to know where your feet hit the ground. Do not assume your audience knows.
This is very different from resumes for other industries!! Never assume your audience knows.
Your company data and title itself do little for you. Let people know your sphere of influence and scope of responsibility. This avoids resentment or annoyance on either side when the recruiting call was a wasted effort.
After that, you’ll need some real impact points. These are your proverbial bullets. Think numbers, percentages and any other quantification of increases and decreases in sales, customer satisfaction, retention, errors and other relevant factors.
Whether it is reducing dropped calls to an NVOCC crisis desk, carrier capacity, loading containers, invoicing to 99% accuracy, suffering zero losses, client cost savings, or mitigating risk to realized results—state it plainly.
Numbers are not just about achievements. Unique to supply chain and logistics is what I call shaping.
You have to shape your role, show how it evolved and how you re-shaped your sphere of influence; market; or other arena to maintain accountability, compliance or other relevant charges.
When 3PL trucking and operations at key U.S. Hubs made sweeping decisions to expand or contract due to the Great Recession, the winners were nimble. Were you?
What did you do to respond and reshape? No number is too small to leave out when painting that picture. Did you niche? Did you expand geography? Contract client type?
Which brings me to accuracy. No, not the accuracy of the résumé, but the accuracy demanded of logistics and supply chain professionals. I’ve only seen such standards demanded within highly specialized medical arenas.
Whether it is raw materials procurement or proper billing, seamless transport or refined accounting, accuracy rules the day here.
Tell us how accurate your standards are, and that you made the cut and how often.
Did you close up the Iraq War supply logistics program down to the last tent on time and under budget? Did you drive efficiency that allowed sales teams to develop better business with major accounts, key clients and new prospects?
Did you bring things to SAP, cross-train carrier call center reps or improve processes and procedures? Did you really pack it in as a cargo/vessel capacity supervisor?
Did you run subsea drillers with zero loss of life or injury for a decade as an expat Safety Manager? Solve crises at jungle ports?
Niche down trucking and expand it across the continent instead of growing multiple lines of offerings? Any new best practices under your belt? State these plainly.
As Chief Commercial Officer, you created $20M in new revenues.
Logistics/SCM wants to know the how! This is not a sales résumé!
The more you can show that you affect efficiency, the more likely you are to be the first call.
But don't make that call an inquiry as to the how behind the result.
Vendor Selection and Negotiation
Here is a key area to highlight. If you had any hand in selecting the who behind the what and just what dollars changed hands, let the reader know. A lot of supply chain folks have metricized their supplier base, so they know who to call when and for what, for maximum results and accurate levels.
I know folks who know a guy at some pretty sketchy ports, so now I have to snuff you.
But seriously, I do. Maybe you do, too. The reality is that managing The Americas for trade lanes and retail distribution means you encounter some crazy stuff. You need Pan-American contacts that can keep you moving forward despite rebellion, heist, insufficient loading heights, capacity changes and sudden "vendor" closings.
Test your résumé writer. If you are using a résumé writer, test that person's knowledge. Have they ever seen a bill of lading? Ask them about the business of the nearest port. Is 4PL a new band out of Oakland? What does "the beach" mean in Qatar?
No. Nil. Silence. No.
Brian Brandt is a résumé writer, career expert, and job strategist.