Building Your Supply Chain Resume
Your supply chain resume is the primary tool for obtaining your supply chain internship/co-op or landing a supply chain job after graduation. It is designed to help supply chain recruiters and potential employers quickly and easily understand your unique skills, relevant experience, past performance, and accomplishments. Take advantage of the following advice and tips to get started early, keep developing your resume as you develop during your time in school, and be far more prepared to get that internship/co-op or full-time job.
Start Early and Keep Developing
Student resumes are often treated as something that will be created only when needed, like when you decide to pursue an internship or co-op some summer or semester. Some students don’t get started until it is time to apply for a permanent, post-graduation position. That is too late! The best practice is to begin developing your supply chain resume as early as possible. If you are a freshman or sophomore, sure, you haven’t done much at this point, but the emptier the resume, the more motivated you will be to plan how to fill it. When the time comes that it is requested, you will be ready and far less likely to have left out something important.
What are the Parts to Include?
The easy answer is that it depends on you and your unique capabilities and accomplishments. Your supply chain resume should not be a chronological list of everything you have ever done. It is both less and more than that, but there are many common elements that you need to emphasize. Avoid the temptation to include high school honors or accomplishments unless there is some kind of national or international recognition that could be of interest to the interviewer.
The basics. You will of course have your name, address, phone, and email, plus you should include your LinkedIn profile if you have created one.
Education. You will have your school and major (spell out the major, don’t just use the acronym) clearly shown under an Education heading, along with your expected graduation date, and can optionally provide your GPA in general and in your major (employers like to see how you performed in the classes that were the required and elective courses you took from your department). If you have specializations, concentrations, tracks, etc., make sure you include that as well. You can also include a shortlist of courses that you think demonstrate your direction in your supply chain major.
Work experience. If you had an internship, of course, it goes here first. If you have had jobs while in school, show them briefly. If they were related in some way to your major, show more about them and what you got out of them. If you had a relevant job to your major prior to school, then it should be placed after the internship.
Honors, awards, and grants. List any honors or awards you have received, starting with those that are most applicable to your major, then moving on to other honors and awards. A short note about what it takes to be recognized is very helpful for the interviewer because they may not know what the title means.
Skills. Make sure you list foreign languages and your level of proficiency. Show only the computer skills in which you clearly have beyond basic capabilities or exposure (it can be uncomfortable when an interviewer asks you to talk deeper about a skill and you have little depth to show).
Certificates/Certifications/Licenses. If you have earned any certificates of completion, skill-based supply chain certifications, or other forms of recognition that are based on showing competency in some kind of area, then make sure they are listed, but again, not just the name of it. Include a very brief summary of what it is and what it shows you can do. Also include any licenses you may have to practice a skill (not driving, unless it goes beyond just passenger vehicles).
Projects. It is good to show team projects, starting with semester-long or multi-semester projects in which you participated, along with your role and contributions to the project, plus the results. If you performed research projects, provide a bit more detail along with the length of the project, scope, your responsibilities, and the faculty member who supervised it.
Leadership and responsibility. If you have had opportunities to take on leadership roles in organizations, events, and projects, then list them. Like with projects, briefly state the purpose of the group, your role, how you helped with its success, and the results. By the way, leadership doesn’t always mean the top role, it includes being an officer at any level in which you had responsibility for leading others toward an accomplishment.
Professional memberships and participation. Every school has a variety of clubs and many of them are associated with professional supply chain associations that can be joined as a professional member following graduation. List them, but also provide a brief summary of any roles you held or major participation categories that you personally (not just the club) participated in (like facility tours, fundraising, volunteer work, presentations, competitions, etc.).
Tips to Keep in Mind
Consider and follow these tips as you develop your resume:
Put emphasis quickly on significant, relevant elements. Because of the large volume of resumes, recruiters and employers quickly scan resumes and quickly determine their interest level. Emphasize your capabilities and experiences that are most recent and relevant to the kind of position you want the most as early in the resume as possible. This should catch someone’s eye right away. Don’t tuck it away at the end like the surprise finish to a novel. The recruiter may never get there. They don’t have to finish the book.
Less is more. A densely packed resume doesn’t imply more value. It tends to turn off quick scanning recruiters. Density also applies to the font you use. Make use of white space to make reading easier and more inviting. Don’t ever go below 10pt type in Arial or Helvetica (note that Times New Roman is no longer in fashion). Use clear, bolded headlines, and don’t be afraid of making them clearer rather than generic to emphasize your strengths. Avoid a lot of bolding, italics, color, etc. through the rest of the content.
Emphasize your interests and skills. If you want to keep your options open regarding where you start in supply chain, then this advice might not be for you. If you want to be noticed for a specific set of skills and courses that you want to be the first place you work, then emphasize them early, preferably the section right after your education. Catch the eye as quickly as possible.
Stay professional. Don’t list a variety of hobbies or personal information. No photo.
Action-oriented accomplishments and roles. When listing projects and accomplishments, show more than just a basic description of duties and responsibilities. Focus on results and action verbs in concise, easy-to-digest formats. These don’t have to be complete sentences.
References advice. Line up references in advance, but realize that different kinds of positions might call for different references. Having more than the minimum may be helpful. If a job calls for references, then add them. If they don’t, then avoid putting in any lines about them being provided if requested, that is a given.
Be open about social presence. If you have a LinkedIn profile, include the link. If you had project sites for work you did, then provide links (along with short, to the point, statements about your role). If you have blog entries, publications, or other supply chain-related work that highlights your capabilities as a communicator, then make them easy to find.
Find Out How Others Have Been Successful with Their Supply Chain Resume
Start by asking if your department provides resume samples or a resume library of current graduating students. Also, ask current seniors who have job offers and have had internships/co-ops about how they have structured their resumes and what they think delivered the results. You can often approach them at club meetings or through faculty that might be willing to connect you. You can also get advice from your career services office, but it may be more generic because they deal with a wide range of majors. If your department or your college of business/engineering has advising services that also include services related to resumes, then that might be a good option as well and more targeted to your major.
Review, Improve, Repeat
Ask Career Services to review your supply chain resume. Ask your advisor to review your resume. Ask friends and family to review your resume. Feedback is very important to make sure you project the image you want. Make your resume an ongoing project from the beginning of your time in school until you land the job you want. Then keep up the practice once you start working, because you always need to be ready for the next opportunity.