Sacrifice your job title to develop your career, buyers told

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
14 May 2014

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15 May 2014 | Paul Snell

When applying for a job, procurement professionals should pay less attention to the title and concentrate on the level of responsibility offered, according to senior buyers.

At the CIPS Middle East Conference in Dubai on Monday a panel of procurement leaders was asked by an audience member how to apply for a new position while working at a smaller organisation.

Wael Safwat, director central procurement at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, advised not to apply for a specific title but look at the magnitude of the role.

“The trick in procurement is do not to be trapped by the title,” he said.

Safwat added when he worked at Shell although there was internal grading that denoted seniority, jobs were called different things in different locations. And in some cases jobs with what appeared to be ‘lower’ status could have more responsibility in terms of the size of contracts they managed.

“When you are applying for a job you need to understand and clearly read the job description of the magnitude of the job. Being a small fish in a big place can be as good as being a big fish in a small place,” he added.

“If you believe that [being a] procurement specialist will get you into a big organisation where you can develop, you should absolutely sacrifice the title, because you will get more exposure and benefit.”

Daniel LeBlanc, manager procurement – aircraft at Emirates, said he found the proliferation of job titles irritating when younger, but instead learned to focus on the positive aspects of the role.

“I got a promotion from procurement manager to manager procurement!” he said. “Forget about the title, look at what the role is, look at the size of the responsibility. Look at what you want out of the role, and which industry it is in.”

“You will sometimes have to take a step back and do a job you don’t like for a while,” LeBlanc added. “But if you are in that situation make the best of it, and gravitate to those projects that interest you, because if you are interested you are naturally going to make a success out of it, you are going to make yourself look good as an asset. And you’ll also have credibility when you go for the job of your dreams.”

He also urged purchasers to make the most of their positive attributes when applying for a new role. “Make sure you don’t sell yourself short. A lot of people underestimate their achievements,” he said. “Measure your achievements, recognise them and feel validated by them. Don’t be shy about celebrating your achievements and trying something new.”

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