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How Do I Become a Procurement Officer?

A procurement officer working with a colleague.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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People who enjoy working independently, are detail-oriented, and are comfortable with numbers may want to become a procurement officer. Although procurement officers are expected to have excellent presentation skills for meetings, the most important skill in this role is good communication skills. Attention to detail, discipline, and focus are all essential.

Post-secondary training and related work experience are required in this position. A procurement officer is responsible for managing the purchasing process for a business or organization, and he or she spends the majority of the day working with internal clients and vendors. Internal clients provide purchase requisitions detailing the goods or services they require. The officer contacts and negotiates with suppliers to obtain the best possible combination of price, quality, and service.

Related work experience includes accounting, bookkeeping, buyer, sales representative, or purchasing clerk. All of these jobs provide valuable experience working with computers and people. The typical career path to become a procurement officer is to obtain a position as a buyer, which involves working in the procurement department, processing orders as required.

Many US firms recommended that anyone who wants to enter this field obtain the Certified Procurement Professional® (CPP®) designation. Available through the National Purchasing Institute® (NPI®), this designation is awarded upon completion of a combination of education, experience, and written examinations. The program is available to candidates with and without post-secondary training, although candidates with a degree have fewer courses to complete.

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When applying for a job as a procurement officer, one of the most important items to think about is your area of expertise. Procurement departments are typically divided one of two ways: by commodity or by client group. In order to qualify for a position as a commodity procurement officer, you need to have some background knowledge or training in this field. If the department is organized by client group, a firm understanding of the pressures and responsibilities of that department are instrumental in securing the position.

As part of the process, it is a good idea to build on your interpersonal and communication skills. Some people take formal classes in business communication, while others incorporate these skills into hobbies, such as participating in a drama club or public speaking group. A lifelong commitment to learning is important if you want to become a procurement officer, as this field is forecast to experience a great deal of technology-driven change.

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Discuss this Article

anon939304
Post 4

@tigers 88: I am going through the same perplexing situation. I have always been clumsy with names, numbers and making calculations, but at the same time I very strongly believe that if my colleagues help me out, I can do it, but unfortunately I don't see it happening at the moment. It has been about 10 to 12 days.

chivebasil
Post 3

There are a lot of useful skills that you can pick up before you become a procurement officer, but most of the most important things you will do you will learn on the job.

Frankly, the specific circumstances and needs of the clients you work for are such that there is no way to prepare yourself completely. Even the best and brightest face a steep learning curve when they come out of school.

I am not at all trying to bash education, I'm just letting new hires know that there will be a lot to learn in the first few weeks. You may think your education is over but it is just getting started.

Ivan83
Post 2

You know, I went through all the hoops and I got the procurement professional certifications and I don't think it has helped at all in finding a job.

I am educated, experienced and very motivated. I think I have everything a company is looking for. I even have the piece of paper saying that I meet all the highest standards. But I have been out of work for well over a year and have resorted to looking for work in other areas.

It so frustrating to think that you have done everything you are supposed to and still you can't get ahead. This is great work if you can find it but now its really hard to find.

tigers88
Post 1

Procurement officers need to be organized first and foremost. I kind of walked backward into one of these jobs once and I was very quickly overwhelmed.

This was in the early 80s so nothing was digitized and there were just mountains of paperwork everywhere. I took over for someone who had left abruptly, so abruptly that they hadn't even cleaned out their desk. When I got there the office was littered with papers and the piles got larger very quickly.

I worked out a kind of emergency filing system but I had so many headaches trying to keep things in order and find the documents people needed. I will be honest, I was not perfectly qualified for this job but I thought if I worked hard at it I could pick it up. But the stress and pressure really got to me and I moved on after just 6 months.

You have to admit when you are bad at something. If I'd stayed on it would have been bad for both me and the company.

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