Careers: Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Supply Chain/Logistics

The global markets that are emerging today, shortening of product lifecycle, changing compliance needs, channel consolidation, and outsourcing o operations have added to the intricacy of the supply chain. This complexity, together with pressure to increase the value of shareholder, the revenues, and slash the cost of operations are compelling organizations to reorganize the way they function and design modern solutions. It is a known fact today that it is insufficient to curb costs alone, but the growth in revenues depends on the way they manage their supply chain and thus offer a competitive perimeter. It is important to understand the mindset of customers and establish fool-proof links with suppliers, and customers to get a clear picture of supply and demand. Therefore, logistics, or the flow of material from the point of origin to its destination, focuses on the tactics, technologies, and processes needed to boost growth and profitability across the whole supply chain.

Educational Requirements

Supply Chain Management (SCM) offers a very broad range of job opportunities. Globalization of economic activities, requirement for precision of information, and volatility of the global economy have made it clear that there is no standardization in career path, in supply chain/logistics. The candidates are in control of their own destiny and are offered hundreds of career paths. Thorough knowledge of basic business skills, the process of supply chain, and work experience or internship will give the candidates aspiring to take up manufacturing, retailing, transporting, and running a third-party logistics firm or similar fields as their career. Entrants generally start as a management trainee, front-line supervisor or an analyst. As they display managerial capabilities, they can progress up in the position to shoulder greater responsibilities. There is no standardization in educational requirement. The common certificates include CPIM (Certification in Production and Inventory Management) and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM).

Income Potential

On an average, a supply chain manager can earn between $50,000 and $123,000 annually. The field is too large to stipulate any fixation in the expected salary. At the entry level, a person can probably make $32,000 to $64,000 per year, depending on the educational background, geographic region, experience, industry involved in, and other related factors. A person who demonstrates keen business acumen will surely get frequent raises and be able to be in a stronger financial position. A typical SCM position offers a whole array of extra benefits and perks.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for supply chain and logistics seems healthy, especially for those who grow with the company, rather than mid-career job seekers. The number of companies which are reorganizing themselves around supply chain management is on the rise. As with all other sectors, supply chain was hit by the downturn in the economy, yet things are beginning to look up again. The fascinating and diverse industry holds attractive opportunities for energetic, talented, and enthusiastic recruits. There is an extensive range of duties available in this industry, exposing the employees to a variety of experiences and training. Job prospects in this field are bright because of the establishment of large chain stores catering to the public demands.

Careers: IT/Software Development

IT covers a wide expanse of fields such as collecting, processing and distribution of information or perceived knowledge through any multimedia distribution mechanism. It offers businesses four categories of main services to assist in constructing and conducting their business strategies (1) automating, (2) providing information, (3) interacting with customers, and (4) providing of productivity tools. The sector dealing with IT is growing at an astonishing rate. Globalization has made the availability of the right information at the right time the key element for success of businesses, and at par with capital and human resource. The use of computers is shifting away from playing a supportive role to playing a critical role is organizations. Information technology, along with suitable software, is vital for growth and development of nations.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirement for IT and software specialists differ for the various levels of proficiency in the field. The main reason for not being able to say exactly what qualification would suffice to remain afloat in this industry is its ever changing characteristics. With the job market in this field becoming more competitive, employers are becoming more selective. They prefer to hire IT/software professionals with higher education and real world experience. There are no universal standards for this industry, although, most flourishing specialists hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in IT/software. Doctoral level of academic background is ideal. Occupations at the entry level need applicable experience or an associate’s degree in information technology and software development. Yet, we can see a great number of IT professionals with no or hardly any relevant educational background doing extremely well in computers.

Income Potential

The income potential for IT professionals and software engineers is sky-rocketing these days as an increasing number of people are coming to depend on them. The realm of computerization is continuously growing. As against the yester years, businesses are looking for newer ways to harness the powers of this technology. In such a scenario, the lower to middle level IT professionals make around $30,000 per annum. The higher level earn far more, sometimes to the tune of $80,000. The salary bracket within which a specialist falls depends his or her dedication, location, the number of years of experience, the field of expertise, the credentials, and the employer.

Career Outlook

Today the outlook for competent information technology experts has never been better. The spread of computers based technologies has created startling demand for proficient, trained IT professionals to design, develop, and implement software and hardware systems to make the work flow simple. They must determine ways to integrate technology with the existing systems and work towards improving the quality of operations, management and the final output. The information technology is continually taking a stronger grip of the world economy. To stay ahead of their competitors, corporations depend upon cutting-edge technology. E-business has become a key service area with additional ones being custom programming, consulting, and systems designing. The scope for growth in this sector is incredible for people with the right bent of mind and the determination to succeed.

Work Life Balance: Time Management

In a culture obsessed with high tech gadgetry, cellphones, credit cards, fast cars, large houses, and job titles — it should be no surprise that most people experience stress and anxiety.  The strain of striving after material advantage and the dictates of the Almighty Dollar have made many people virtual slaves in their offices.

Even after working more than 50 hours a week… even after getting every material need and luxury that money can buy… many people still live unhappily.  The corporate success, instead of bringing fulfillment, has left many executives and employees with a feeling emptiness and disillusionment.

The over-concentration on fame and fortune have made many professionals weary and depressed. The incentives, awards, and accolades somehow could not help them get rid of stress and anxiety.

But there is still hope for the tired executive and the downtrodden worker.  Stress and anxiety need not ruin lives and careers.  To get back on track, it may be helpful to consider the following advice on how to be an achiever who lives a balanced life:

Writing It Down

What we really are lacking is balance.  A good start would be to have a career and life plan that balances your time and effort between the office and the home. If we plan carefully, we will most likely make the right action or choices. Life shouldn’t be a big enigma. Life can be made simple and enjoyable. A career or life plan must start with having a stated purpose.  Knowing what you really want helps you get rid of unnecessary fatigue brought about by things which are not really important to you.  Knowing your priorities also help you get rid of unnecessary worries and prevents you from wasting energy.

Writing it down — putting your plan on paper — is the first step on having a balanced life. Your first agenda would be knowing what you want.  Do you prefer to have  a fun personal or family life, vibrant health more than having financial success or a well-respected position?  Maybe you can have both without making any sacrifice in terms of time or quality of life? When you write it down, the process of marking your priorities would be much easier.

Recharge Yourself

Like most people, you too must be so full of stress about the daily traffic, office politics, family chaos, the endless bill payments — the foibles that sap all the energy in you. You rarely have fun at home or enjoy your work because you always feel tired and hassled. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself when was the last time you spent quality time to re-connect with your family.  Maybe it’s also time to take a look at your inner life…your spiritual bearings.  The very heart of the matter is that in order to live a life you love, you need to have a healthy body that will allow you to live it. You must take care of your physical and spiritual well-being. Take time to recharge, which is really what stress management is all about.  You can start recharging by answering these questions:

-Am I bored?
-Do I get enough exercise?
-Is my medication any help at all?
-What really makes me sick?
-Are my loved ones (or friends), or my job draining all my energy?

Fact is, our state of physical well-being has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. It impacts our work, business, and relationships. So we must take care our bodies well enough by taking vitamins, eating right, getting enough sleep and rest, and  by exercising regularly.

Are you being too self-satisfied?

To get our bearings, it is important to be constantly aware of our priorities.  A good way to start re-defining one’s priorities is by answering the following questions:

-Are you neglecting yourself physically, mentally or spiritually?
-Are you neglecting your spouse, your children, your peers?
-Are you fulfilling your commitments?
-Are you operating in your comfort zone?

When you say “mostly” yes to to those questions. Well then, its not the end of the world. Being self-important can be overcome through a conscious decision to strive to do just a bit than you used to do.  Being self-satisfied or having an air of self-importance is a detriment to creating or even maintaining a balanced life. Pride, selfishness, and conceit should always be put in check.

It’s all about balance

You might be wondering where did Time go? Your to-do list is increasing, you have countless meetings, on top of it, its your wife’s birthday, pick up junior from his baseball practice this Friday. You just have so much to do that your life is eroding away. You don’t realize it but you have to power to manage your everyday stresses and these helpful tips will ease the pressures off your back.

-Utilize Your Plan of action – Start focusing. Which ones from your to-do list is the one you really want to do? Which ones can be delegated.
-Don’t be the Lone Ranger for every crisis or situation- Even The lone ranger can used a side kick and not everything can get the job done by just being alone.
-Give yourself a pat on the back- Every once in a while. Give yourself credit. Acknowledge all the good things you have done.

Being overwhelmed or too stressed out is really your making. Remember that you always have a choice between feeling good or feeling bad about yourself and the world you live in.  It is up to you to say no to commitments you can no longer keep…it is up to you to say no to negative thoughts and yes to optimism…it is up to you to live a balanced, happy life.

Workplace Issues: Dealing with Difficult People

How do you deal with conflict in your work place? Ask yourself the question, How the following scenario:

“Last week, my boss hired a “trainee” straight out of college to work in our department. She is young and it really showed in how she behaved. The problem is, this new “co-worker” of mine started acting like a prima donna. She has become manipulative and dominant. Some of my colleagues are complaining behind her back. It was becoming a nightmare for me just being near her. It has even made me think of quitting.”

Dealing with difficult co-workers is one of the leading causes of stress and anxiety. Unresolved…it would make that person even more depressed. There are people can’t seem to get ahead in life because of relationships or situations. Our main set-backs is not all of us are taking the necessary steps to cope up with those people who make life unbearable for us at work. The following are just some of the list of behaviors that push our “buttons” in the workplace:

Criticizing your religious or political beliefs
Uncooperative
Absenteeism (with effects the team members)
Too much gossiping
Arrogant
Disrespectful to supervisors or co-workers
Unfriendly

The ability to get along with people, adapting to their different personalities takes a certain degree of maturity, patience, understanding and it is the basic factor in our  workplace survival and no amount of college education will ensure professional behavior. Workplace relationships is as crucial, it can even lead to unhappiness of that person can’t get along with everybody or that person makes life miserable for others.

Coping with a troublesome co-worker.

One of the biggest challenges of dealing with difficult co-workers is that their behavior can take many forms. If a co-worker is rude or negative it may require a different approach. Here are some general tips on how to cope with difficult co-workers:

If that co-worker’s unpleasant behavior interferes with how you do your job, you must find a way to solve it if is not directly interfering with your job the best way is just ignore it.

Give your co-worker the benefit of the doubt.

Speak up! Bring up the problem directly and privately to your co-worker. If the co-worker’s problems is that she tends to be such a whiner or gossips continually. Put an end to it by discouraging that person.

Try it out for yourself if talking to that person will solved the problem if not; that is the perfect time to talk to your manager. Managers generally expect you to work out most of the problems with people who are on your own level. Be sure you tried everything even a trusted mediator before going on a higher level.

Be also aware of your own behavior and work at changing them. Be sure to identify your strengths and weaknesses. You might not change or control the behavior or attitudes of others but you have the power to change yours.

Organize Your Job Search for Maximum Effectiveness

The job search process involves a lot of planning and attention to detail, so it’s no wonder that many people quickly feel overwhelmed and even a bit out of control.  The best way to avoid this is to organize your job search so that you have a clear strategy outline and a structured schedule to keep you moving forward.

Outline your strategy

Start by creating an outline of your job search strategy.  List the tactics you intend to use, and the amount of time you will devote to each tactic.  A typical list might include the following:

·       Network with contacts
·       Search online job sites
·       Search newspaper ads

Some employment experts say that less than 20% of all jobs are found through the newspaper or online, with the other 80% found through networking.  Knowing this, decide how much time you are going to devote to your job search, then allocate that time accordingly.

Define the steps

Next, for each tactic create a list of the steps involved.  Here is what this might look like for the “Network with contacts” tactic:

·       Call the contact
·       Ask to meet for 30 minutes to get their feedback and suggestions on your resume as well as your job search strategy
·       Confirm the date, time and location of the appointment
·       Meet with contact, taking notes on the conversation and collecting one or two referrals to other contacts you might meet with
·       Follow up meeting with a thank you note
·       Check back with contact after one to two months if you are still searching for a job

Once you have the steps listed, you will have created a checklist for yourself to help make sure you complete each step along the way.

Create a schedule

Now create a schedule of daily activities so that you are doing something with your search each day.  A basic schedule might look like this:

Morning

– Call two contacts to set up networking appointments
– Write questions to ask during each appointment
– Prepare resume packet for each appointment made
– Prepare and send resumes for job found online or in the newspaper

Afternoon

– Attend networking appointment (if previously scheduled)
– Write thank you note following appointment
– Check one or two online job sites

Weekend

– Prepare for new week
– Check online job listings

Track each activity

For each tactic, track all of your activity.  You can use computer software or a plain notebook with blank pages.  The idea is to keep notes on each day’s actions, checking them against your master checklist for the tactic.

Let’s use an example.  You want to make a networking appointment with Suzy Smith, so start with a blank page and put her name at the top, along with relevant contact information.  Each time you do one of the steps defined as part of networking (make the phone call, prepare a resume packet, go to the appointment, etc.), mark it down on Suzy’s page.  Note the date, time, action taken, and any notes you may have.

Tracking your activity creates two benefits.  First, when you have multiple activities happening at the same time it is very easy to get confused or lose track of steps that still need to be taken.  Using your tracking log, it is easy to see at a glance where you are at with each activity and what next step is coming up.  The second benefit is that it keeps you focused and active in your job search.  It is easy to procrastinate and postpone looking for a job, but if you have to note daily activities in a tracking log you will feel more motivated to get moving and take action.

Action items

Finally, keep a separate list of “action items” that need attention right away.  If, for example, a contact tells you about an open position at a colleague’s company and suggests you call about it, this goes on your action item list to be handled within 24 to 48 hours.  This list is a great way to deal with emergent issues and opportunities, while still staying organized and keeping up with your regular schedule.

Conducting a Job Search

Conducting a job search is a daunting task, even for seasoned professionals. There are many pieces to the puzzle, and each piece plays its own important role in the process. Knowing the pieces of the process is a crucial element for your success.

While there is no such thing as doing too much, there is a basic guide to follow. It consists of five painless steps that will outline your work ahead. Together, they form the foundation of a job hunt that will yield exceptional results.

1. Put together a great resume.

Before your job search ever begins, you need a resume. The resume is the first contact you will have with a prospective employer. It is an extension of your life and a summary of your accomplishments. It is how a manager will pick you out of hundreds…possibly thousands of applicants. It can mean the difference between exciting job interviews and a phone that never rings, between success and failure.

This is a complex task for two pages (maximum) of paper. That’s right, two little pages to talk about your education, job experience, accomplishments and awards, special skills, training, professional experience/affiliation, and so on. Basically, you need to sum up your life, and make it interesting, in two pages.

There are numerous websites that can help with writing a bullet proof resume. Some offer free information and examples for you to follow, and some will write the resume for you (for a fee of course). Careerbuilder.com is an excellent website for writing and posting your resume.

Professional resume writing, when done by a human resource expert, can give you a significant edge over the competition. You can expect to pay $100 or more for this service, and can be well worth the money. However, before hiring someone to write it for you be sure to check their credentials.

2. Determine the locations you may want to live.

Once you have your resume polished and shiny, its time to think about where you want to live. Determining a location can have a significant impact on your income earning potential. Some jobs are concentrated in certain areas and the pay can be dramatically more than where you live. For example, the vast majority of computer programming jobs in the U.S. are in Silicon Valley, California. Jobs there can pay up to five times more than other parts of the country.

Unfortunately, pay isn’t everything. To accurately assess your situation, other factors must come into play. Cost of living, for example, can be dramatically different from one city to another. A $50,000 a year income in Mobile, Alabama is equal to over $122,350 in Manhattan, New York, a 145% increase.

Other factors, such as quality of schools, real estate, environmental quality, quality of life, and proximity to friends and family should also be evaluated. These factors are more difficult to measure than cost of living. Not having your mom to watch the kids can cost you thousands of dollars a year and must be a part of your decision. Write down pros and cons for each factor and take a look at the entire picture.

3. Put Out the Word.

Once you have a resume and decide your desired location, its time to get hustling. The most important place to start, and the most often overlooked place, is your network. Your network is the group of family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that make up your life. They are the backbone of your search and a great source of information and leads.

The big advantage of your network is that it is compiled with people who already know you. Depending on your relationship, many people in your network will feel a vested interest in your success, and will go out of their way to help. If they come in contact with a potential employer, they can vouch for your character and work ethic on the spot and help you leap to the top of the prospect pool.

4. Look Online

With the advent of the internet, the first place many job seekers look for job listings is now online on the internet. There are more job search websites than you know what to do with and each one is telling you they are the best. The truth is they are.

Monster.com is another excellent job search website. They have great tips, will write your resume and cover letter for, and get you job hunting in minutes. Let’s not forget about LinkedIn where you can both network and look for your next opportunity. In fact many recruiters and human resource professionals search for candidates on this site. Lastly try job aggregators such as SimplyHired and Indeed.com these sites unlike traditional job boards pull job postings from various sources.

You can find more by going to Google.com and doing a search for “jobs”. The key to successfully using these websites is being systematic. Pick a time everyday when you can spend time working online (example: from 2pm to 6pm daily). Start a daily journal and write down what job search sites you visit and the job listings you apply to. This journal will keep you from back tracking and can save you hours of time.

5. Look Offline

Do not overlook the tried and true ways of finding a job. Get the daily newspaper and other classified periodicals to look for listings. Also, get a copy of the Sunday edition from the papers in the locations you are interested in living. Be mindful of signs and conversations everywhere you go, and let new contacts know you are on the hunt.

Cover Letters: Set Yourself Apart From the Crowd

Anything being sent to a decision-maker should sell you, not just state facts. When conducting a job search, your cover letter and resume are in a pile for the decision-maker to review, one by one, along with a vast number of other documents submitted by other hopeful individuals. The odds that YOUR document is the very first ones on the pile are about a zillion to one! This means the decision-maker has probably read X number of cover letters (and resumes) before reaching your set of documents. With that in mind, I never recommend you start the cover letter with the sentence used in so many other letters:

“Pursuant to your recent advertisement in the New York Times for the position of Staff Accountant, I am enclosing my resume for your review.”

B-O-R-I-N-G!! Plus, the decision-maker probably just read this same (or very similar) sentence about five dozen times. Remember, you want to GRAB the decision-maker’s attention and SELL yourself to them.

Since the cover letter is designed to market you to potential employers, don’t state the obvious. If the cover letter does not create a sense of excitement and entice the reader, it is a waste of your time for writing it and a waste of time for the reader reading it.

Keep track of how many times you use the words “I” and/or “my”. After you write the letter, take a pen and circle all the I’s and my’s in the letter: more than five? Time to re-write some of the sentences.

Here’s an illustration of how to do that: instead of writing “I am looking for an opportunity for advancement with a new employer. My background is in retail management and I feel well-qualified for the Store Manager position with your company” you can write, “A background in retail management and proven record of obtaining results as a Store Manager are key elements in qualifying me for consideration as part of your team.”

Remember the PURPOSE of the cover letter: to highlight your background in the right light, sell your skills, and show the potential employer you are worthy of an interview. Explaining what you WANT throughout the letter doesn’t tell the reader the BENEFIT of what you can offer, which is imperative for you to be successful.

One of the techniques I like to use in cover letters is to pull out the top 4 or 5 achievements and mention them in bullet form with the letter. It serves as a wonderful focus point for readers’ eyes and draws their attention immediately to your strengths. Here’s a brief highlight in what would naturally be a longer cover letter:

…Recognized as a top-performer and dedicated professional, my record of achievements include: · Generating a 58% increase in new business during tenure as Regional Advertising Manager · Boosting client media coverage 50% and developing partnerships with previously unsecured media contacts

There are many ways to say things but, as you can see, some words have a stronger impact on readers than others. In cover letters, e-resumes, and traditional resumes, you can change the reader’s perception in a heartbeat by substituting various words or phrases for more traditional (and outdated) verbiage. See the outline below:

NON-AGGRESSIVE VERBIAGE

Set up entire department from scratch
Worked closely with department heads
Helped produce $3 million in sales
Helped new employees
In-depth knowledge of capital markets and corporate finance
Assisted marketing department in strategies and bids
Reduced expenses by 10%

AGGRESSIVE VERBIAGE

Established department from inception through successful operation
Fostered relationships with department heads
Instrumental in generating $3 million in sales
Aided new employees
Expertise in capital markets and corporate finance
Actively participated in formulating marketing strategies
Slashed (or cut) expenses by 10%

In short, aggressive writing makes you SIZZLE, while passive writing tells your “story.” Remember your goal is to effectively market yourself, not to author your employment biography.