Thursday, December 6, 2012

Direct Materials (Career) Fortunes are Made During Recession

Spend Management cycle
Spend Management cycle (Photo credit: CTSI-Global)
Even in a very dour employment market, there are always bright spots. As the saying goes…fortunes are made during recessions. So, tremendous volatility in commodity prices and a recession provide a HUGE opportunity for direct materials procurement professionals to make their career “fortunes”. The buyer’s market conditions provide obvious strategic and savings opportunities for procurement organizations. But I hadn’t really considered the career opportunities for people in the trenches until I heard a very savvy professional connected the dots at Spend Management Day in Atlanta.

In our conversation after my presentation, this individual told that after a long career in direct materials procurement, he recently made the switch to handling indirect spend. While my slides emphasizing the pronounced drop in raw materials prices didn’t change his immediate career plans, he lamented that now would actually be a GREAT time to be back in the world of direct materials. After years of being beaten up over commodity prices, the tide has turned and there are savings to be had. And I think everyone can agree…it’s a good time be able to save your company money.

This is the time when careers can be made. This market provides tremendous opportunity for sourcing and procurement professionals who can safely steer their companies through the volatility in the commodities markets.

Can you save your organization money? Can you minimize the risk of supply chain interruptions? Can you help your key suppliers weather the storm (and thus solidify your relationship)? If the answer is yes to those questions - and in this market it really should be - the opportunity to prove yourself as a savvy, critical member of the organization is tremendous. Smart employees who are instrumental to their company’s success during difficult times will reap the rewards. If you want to climb the ladder and bolster your resume, now is the time to act.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Teens Searching for Jobs

Cover of "Interviewing Skills (Essential ...
High schools are getting better at preparing teens for their first job search. I'm becoming more and more impressed with the way high schools are engaging in job and career preparation classes and seminars, which often include a few weeks of training with an actual video interview. It's great also when students are required to dress professionally and are questioned in a mock job interview.

Every high school should have not only career days, but programs that teach the value of job interviewing skills and the proper steps to finding not only that first job, but each successive job during their working careers. They should emphasize to the high school job seeker that building a network of contacts, even in high school can be critical to their future job search success.

I would encourage any teen searching for that first job to store a list of contacts, on paper in your smart phone, or on your computer. Make a note of the person's name, address and phone number and what they do or what their current role in the organization is. Keep adding to this list as you meet new people or even other kids parents. Then, when you are looking for a new job, whether it is secretary jobs or doctor jobs from, you will have your list of contacts that you can use in your job search. Be sure to ask for business cards too if they have them. Although high school aged students aren't expected to carry business cards, you can easily find templates online that you can print out and make yourself. You never know when this information may help you find your next job so keep adding to it and keep it up to date.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Best Reference Methods

Great Comet Over The Acid Hills.
Great Comet Over The Acid Hills. (Photo credit: @chris)
When doing references, it's important to have a few key tools at your disposal. Here are a few that are great to know about

Almanacs - An extensive calendar containing important dates and events. Always good to know when the next comet will come or what the weather is predicted to be.

Biographies - Quick and short descriptions of some of the most notable people in human history. Great when reading other biographies or general history text.

Calculators and Conversions - Just some basic calculations for converting between units and general math calculations. Always great when working with any sort of numbers.

Dictionary and Thesaurus - Nice when writing anything in particular or reading a book. Gives you the opportunity to expand your literature knowledge.

Maps - When uncertain about geographical information.

Citation References - A must when writing a report or paper. Different methods require different means of referencing others, and it is good to know what style is appropriate for a certain situation.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Top Reference Tools

If you're like me, then you are always looking for new tools to make your life easier. That's why I've arranged a few of my favorite tools to use as a reference.

Biographical Dictionary - Always handy when you're working on that long paper and you don't have time to look up proper methods for referencing your sources.
Calculators Online Center - Great place for finding all the tools to convert A to B.
ProProfs - Easy and free quiz maker that lets you track the scores of quiz takers and embed the quiz on a website.
WebMD - Because I like staying healthy, it's good to brush up on your medical knowledge so you can be self reliable in bad situations.

Also, many of the big tech companies are trying to find ways to consolidate all the reference tools you would ever need for free. Google extensions and the Apple App store all have handy tools that you can use for free.

Monday, April 2, 2012

defining the world

I have been a slacker at giving reference tips recently. So mea culpa, mea culpa!

Today we had a question about what was "service learning". We didn't have it any of the books we looked in. So I went to Google. Yes, I know Google is not necessarily a place for quality info, but I thought it would give me a starting place and then I'd judge the source.

So here is the drill - if you need a definition, start your search with the word define and then follow it with your word or words. It gave me several options which were listed under "Web Definitions for ...." at the very top.

In my results I got a "page moved", a link to educational terms from Murray State University and a Wikipedia entry. Now I knew more about the educational link, I could look in books on internships or education for more. PS - this time the Wikipedia wasn't off the mark. :)

So try "define" when you are stuck.

This post originally appeared here