The following article was prepared by Mike Taylor, C.P.M., for distribution to ISM affiliate newsletters.


workshop 2002, updated August 2007

Where do you want to go today?  Someplace warmer/colder/wetter?  A company that is more cutting edge?  A place where you can get some respect? Somewhere to make more money?  Anywhere because  I lost my job? Regardless of the motivation, many of us have thought about changing jobs or changing careers.  However, unless we start working on that thought we’ll never make it happen. Not doing anything is getting further behind. Waiting until a change is really needed could be way too late.

The bad news: the “internet age” of “electronic communication” is dynamically affecting the job changing process.  New skills are required to compete for jobs today.   Younger competitors in the job market have grown up with sharp computer skills.

The good news: We can learn to use electronic tools. We have experience to sell. We know what employers really need.

Here are some ideas on how to get started using today’s electronic tools.

bullet Sharpen internet skills and learn to do effective web searches.  It takes lots of practice with web-search tools to find a specific company or job among billions of web pages. Thousands of jobs are being posted on line and many thousands more are only hinted at in company news releases. Many companies which never advertise, might be good fits for your experience.   Think of it like this “That company doesn’t know it yet, but they need me…..”    If you find yourself lacking in Internet skills, start spending some time on line. Recreation counts for practice and exercise! 
bullet Practice preparing and transmitting electronic documents. Cover letters and resumes are often requested and submitted via email.  Crisp correspondence, timely email messages and accurate attachments all advertise your ability to be an effective professional. Team with a friend and start sending each other practice documents.  BTW – if your  internet service can’t handle attachments or blocks the wrong messages, you need to change services now!
bullet Evaluate your job skills at one of the on-line career learning web sites. Create an exhaustive list of skills, abilities and ways that you add value. There are some ideas in this article:     Check out the information at  or at the ISM Career Center
bullet Scan as many job postings as you can. Glean ideas from each advertisement even if you are not interested in the specific job. The sought after skills and keywords are important. Mirror the advertisements in your resume and you are more like to be found. Company resource specialists will often search through e-resumes electronically looking for key words and phrases. Fill your resume with key buzzwords and accomplishments not passive adjectives. Consider the difference between “prepared blanket orders for supplies” and “implemented e-commerce ordering process”. Other buzzwords like “advanced Power Point and Excel” “public presentations” “C.P.M.” , “contract claims”, “supply chain management” should also come to mind. Check out current literature and magazine articles for the hot topics.
bullet Get help and advice to prepare an electronic-age resume.  A clean concise and well thought out e-resume makes more difference today than a professionally prepared document on expensive parchment. Look at some of the on-line resources and samples.
bullet Subscribe to an on-line e-mail service about jobs and careers. There are several free ones.  How do you find free newsletters? [take note of the first bullet above]  Give up? Try this Google search: 
bullet Put your name and experience in front of the world. Contribute articles, post messages and make comments to magazines, newsletters, and web sites. Consider that every time your name appears on the internet is a new opportunity for a “headhunter” or potential employer to find you. 
bullet Stay current with the profession. Communication skills, e-commerce experience, cross functional work groups and a big-picture knowledge of current business issues matter more today than 20 years of buying experience.  
bullet Post your resume and start getting feedback. ISM members can post resumed online at  the ISM Career Center Members-Only site.  

A few final metaphors:

  • If you are really serious about making a change, start making it happen,  while you still have time.
  • You are steering your own ship, so pick a good course.
  • The real question isn’t “Where do want to go today?” it should be “Where are you going today?”

Good Luck!


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