Looking for a Procurement Job? Don’t Leave This Critical Info Off Your Resume

June 18, 2024

There’s one thing that too many Procurement professionals still aren’t putting on their resumes. Here’s why that could be hurting your chances of landing your next role.

In Procurement, there are a number of differentiators for your experience compared to other job candidates. When you’re looking for a role, HR and hiring managers want to know some big-picture facts about your background:

  • How senior are you? In other words, how much spend have you managed? Have you ever led a team?
  • How strategic are you? In other words, how much influence do you have over supplier decisions? How complex are the projects you’ve worked on?
  • Have you managed a sourcing process? Have you seen procurement projects through their entire lifecycle, from RFx development to supplier evaluation, negotiation, contracting and execution?
  • What other value added skills do you bring to the table? Do you have strong contract management and vendor management skills? Have you streamlined procurement processes in your past roles? Are you an analytics whiz?

Among quite a few other skills. Over the past few years, Procurement professionals have become better at communicating these skills on their resumes. By focusing on accomplishments and key metrics, more Procurement resumes are tailored to show the candidate’s value, rather than just that they’ve filled a seat. Still, as a recruitment agency that works on many Procurement roles, and sees a lot of Procurement resumes, there’s one thing that a shocking number of resumes still fail to address:

What exactly have you bought? In other words, what categories have you worked in?

Categories are probably the biggest differentiator of your experience in Procurement, alongside the other skills mentioned above. Whether you’re doing purchase orders, strategic sourcing, vendor management, contract management, or any other activity in Procurement, hiring managers want to know about your category expertise. Have you bought raw materials for production in manufacturing? Have you sourced software, hardware, professional services, travel, print, food commodities, or what?

Some people will tell you that category experience in Procurement doesn’t matter. There’s definitely something to be said for the importance of transferrable skills. In Procurement, soft skills translate exceptionally well between industries and categories. Negotiation skills, communications skills, the ability to build relationships and get buy-in from both internal and external stakeholders are useful everywhere. There are some other fundamental Procurement skills that are relevant no matter the industry and no matter what you’re buying.

But despite this, companies do care about what categories you’ve worked in. Yet we still see so many Procurement professionals who don’t list their category experience on their resume or LinkedIn profile.

So here’s our tip: If you’re in Procurement, wear your category experience with pride.

Put it on your profile and your resume. It adds specificity to your background, and it helps you stand out from the crowd.

It’s a bit of a thorny issue. People sometimes omit their category experience because they’re worried about becoming pigeonholed. They want to have a varied career. For example, they think that if they mention their work in the facilities category, no one will want to hire them for procurement in the travel category. They omit describing what they’ve bought, in the hopes that a hiring manager will think they can buy anything.

People sometimes omit their category experience because they legitimately don’t realize that companies and hiring managers care about this aspect of their experience. People are sometimes vague about category experience because—believe it or not—they don’t know that categories even matter.

But they do. There are lots of reasons why companies are interested in Procurement professionals with experience buying in specific categories: Some categories require very detailed understanding of technical requirements. If you’re going to be purchasing parts for high-tech manufacturing, an employer is going to want to know that you’ve also purchased parts that have a high degree of technical specificity. For other categories, companies might be looking for people with an existing base of suppliers and existing relationships.

For example, one of our clients this year was hiring a Senior Buyer for their Food Raw Materials category, and they wanted the candidate to be able to hit the ground running with pre-existing knowledge and relationships with food producers in Ontario. As another example, if a company is hiring for a strategic IT Procurement role, they want to know that you have a strong understanding of IT licenses and contracting, because that’s quite a specific skillset compared to, say, food.

Say a company is hiring for a job where they do want specific category experience, and you haven’t listed yours on your resume because you don’t want to be pigeonholed. You want your transferrable skills to be recognized. If you get to an interview, the company is still going to ask you about your category experience. If they don’t see it as relevant to the position, it’ll still limit your candidacy. So what have you gained by leaving it off your resume? Why not be up front in the first place?

If your resume just says “Buyer” and lists your duties, without indicating what it is you’ve bought, as well as your accomplishments in those categories, you’re selling yourself short. Because if you want to progress in your Procurement career, every different category you’ve worked in is a feather in your cap, making you more employable, not less. It represents a market that you understand.

Even if you don’t have a wide variety of category experience, you’re not going to be pigeonholed as much as you might think. More companies are willing to hire across categories. For example, in indirect Procurement, many companies are looking for someone who just has some variety of indirect experience, whether it’s professional services, marketing, travel, HR, or another similar category. More companies are also “rotating” their Procurement teams from category to category, giving them a wide base of experience and letting them work on a diversity of projects.

But for some companies, your specific category experience does matter, so wear it loud and proud. Putting it on a resume or LinkedIn profile makes it easier for people to find you with opportunities. It also makes them more excited to hire you when they do find you.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to market yourself as a Procurement professional, let us know with a question or comment! And as always, if you have any immediate or upcoming hiring needs in Procurement, reach out! Send an email outlining your needs to


Submit a Comment

You might also like…

Sign up for Argentus’ Market Watch newsletter

It only takes a moment. You’ll receive low-volume, high-impact market insights from the top specialty Supply Chain recruiters including: Salary Information, Supply Chain industry trends, Market Intelligence, personal branding tips and more.