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SCM Talent Group Launches New Web Site and Blog

by Rodney Apple on Mar 13 2012 with 1 comments

My name is Rodney Apple and I’m the President of SCM Talent Group, LLC – a premiere Supply Chain Recruiting and Executive Search Firm founded in Atlanta in 2004.  We provide recruitment services across the full spectrum of the Supply Chain, supporting functional areas such as Logistics, Procurement, Inventory Planning, Manufacturing and everything in between.     

Today was a very exciting day for us as we launched our brand new web site and blog!  We're very happy with the results and hope you'll take a few moments to peruse the site in efforts gain a better understanding of our firm and how we might be able to help you in the future.

Speaking of help, I'm looking forward to utilizing our blog to share the knowledge gained from being a Supply Chain Recruiter for the bulk of my 17+ year career in Recruiting.  I'll be blogging about the following topics as they relate to Supply Chain Management:

Career Development

Interviewing Tips

Job Search Strategy

Offers and Negotiation Tips

Resumes and Cover Letters

Social Media Networking

Recruiting and Hiring Best Practices

I welcome you to comment and chime in with your expertise in hopes that we can learn something from each other. Of course we'd love to have you subscribe to our blog as well. If you wish to connect, please visit our Contact page.  


To your success!!

Rodney Apple

Categories: SCM Talent News

Top 5 Tips For Optimizing a Supply Chain Resume

by Rodney Apple on Mar 28 2012 with 15 comments

I've reviewed thousands of supply chain resumes over the course of my 20-year career in staffing, having worked as a Corporate Supply Chain Recruiter for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Cummins, Kimberly-Clark and others. 

I’d like to fill you in on a few must-have elements that you’ll want to incorporate into your supply chain resume in efforts to optimize its effectiveness. My hopes are that some of these tips will help supply chain professionals with improving their job application to interview ratio and ultimately land the job of their dreams.

1)      Quantify Results – One of the worst mistakes you can make on your resume, outside of littering it with spelling and grammatical errors, is to only state your job responsibilities. You must also list out your accomplishments AND you must quantify the results. You may not be in a position that crunches numbers day in day out, but you should definitely have a good understanding of how to utilize data to make better business decisions. In addition, you probably monitor certain KPIs and metrics in your job. Keep close track of this data, especially as it pertains to your major achievements, because we really need for you to show us the numbers! This action alone can add a very powerful impact to your resume's effectiveness.

Now, before you start peppering your resume with numbers, I need to make you aware of a pitfall that you must avoid at all times: never guestimate a figure on your resume! Trust me on this; it is NOT a pretty sight when a candidate can’t explain how they came up with a certain figure on their resume. Often times this one fumble alone can instantly disqualify you from getting the job (I've witnessed this numerous times in the past). If you can’t speak to how you calculated a certain number on your resume, leave it out. Better safe than sorry.

2)      Size Matters – Every supply chain is different, especially in size, scope and complexity. Likewise, every supply chain job is different in size, scope and complexity. As a Supply Chain Recruiter, I’m not just looking for someone that meets the basic and preferred qualifications contained within the job profile I’m recruiting against. I’m also looking for a good match in terms of size and scope.

For example, a candidate with experience managing a 20,000 sq. ft. Distribution Center with 15 employees is not going to have the level of experience needed to step into a General Manager role for a 1MM sq. ft. DC with 500 employees.  If I have a job opening that calls for someone with experience managing a 1MM sq. ft. DC, I want applicants to detail the size of the DCs they’ve managed in the past within their resumes. Failure to detail the basics when it comes to supply chain size and scope can sometimes lead to missed opportunities, as in your resume getting passed over. To play it safe, be sure to include this critical information on your resume.

3)      Top & Bottom Lines – We absolutely love to read how you’ve improved service levels while lowering costs for your employers or customers. Positively impacting the bottom line is typically a top focus for supply chain professionals. We also love to read about the things you’ve done to help improve the top line of an organization. Enabling and sustaining growth is just as important as cutting costs, and for many high-growth companies, it’s even more important.  Be sure to detail what you’ve done to improve both bottom and top line performance from a supply chain perspective, and don’t forget to quantify your results.

End-to-End Supply Chain – It’s very important these days to convey to Supply Chain Recruiters and hiring managers that you possess knowledge and/or experience that spans across multiple functions within the supply chain. This doesn’t mean that you need to physically work in a different job within each and every department of your company’s supply chain.  Whether you choose to be a specialist within one area of the supply chain, such as Transportation for example, or a generalist is totally up to you.

What we really want to see in your resume is experience participating in or leading cross-functional teams/projects that span across different areas of the supply chain. This is important because the supply chain organizations of today are focused on integration, continuous improvement, better collaboration and improved visibility across their end-to-end supply chain. You should always try to include a few projects or examples in your resume where you’ve had to work with other supply chain departments, suppliers and/or service providers. Lastly, if you’re fairly experienced and have a large project portfolio, you may want to consider highlighting the most relevant and significant projects and experience that best align with the position you're applying for.

5)      Scanability – I'm going to start this tip off with an analogy that all supply chain practitioners will be able to relate to: a properly labeled package is to a Barcode Scanner as is a properly formatted, easy-to-scan resume is to a Supply Chain Recruiter. If a package has an improper or missing label, it may not make it to its final destination. Likewise, if a resume cannot be scanned efficiently, it too may not make it to its final destination, i.e. the hiring manager.

A recent study from The Ladders shows that most job seekers believe recruiters spend 4 to 5 minutes on average reviewing a resume. The truth is that recruiters spend about 6 seconds before they make the initial Yes / No / Maybe decision. This means prioritizing your information in an easy-to-scan layout is critical in efforts to pass the 6-second resume scan.

Always remember that the #1 goal of your resume is to land a job interview, not to describe in fine detail everything you’ve ever done for every job you’ve ever held for every employer you’ve ever worked for. If your resume is mostly stacks of lengthy paragraphs spanning multiple pages, I strongly suggest changing the format before applying to another job.

Bonus Tips - Here's my advice for making your resume easier to scan:

  • Bold and capitalize all Headings (e.g. Name, Summary, Experience, Education, Certifications, etc.) in a font size of 14 – 16. Use 11 or 12 for everything else.
  • Use Times New Roman or Arial for font style as these are the two most popular.
  • Incorporate proper spacing between each section of your resume as this makes it much easier for the human eye to efficiently and quickly scan across and down.
  • Bullets are mandatory, never write long paragraphs!
  • Each bullet point should contain a brief action-oriented sentence or two that quickly explains a) responsibility, b) accomplishment and c) quantified result. 
  • Strike a good balance between too much detail and not enough detail with the goal of providing just enough information to WOW your audience. Don't forget to detail size and scope for the areas of the supply chain you've managed or supported, as covered above in Tip #2.
  • The right supply chain keywords are critical to have on your resume. Supply Chain Recruiters and applicant tracking software both use keywords to electronically scan and filter resumes, in efforts to quickly narrow the applicant pool down to the most qualified. Make sure your primary keywords are included and flow naturally without keyword stuffing your resume.
  • Try to refrain from abbreviating and using acronyms unless they’re very common to industry e.g. SCM, TMS, WMS, etc.

Did I miss anything that you feel is critical for a supply chain resume? I would love to hear your feedback, good or bad, and especially if you think I’ve missed something that deserves to be in the Top Five. 

Lastly, if you would like to be considered for future supply chain employment opportunities that match your background, simply submit your supply chain resume to our database.

To your success!

Rodney Apple

How to Hire the Right Supply Chain Recruiting Firm

by Rodney Apple on May 1 2012 with 0 comments
Good, Better and Best Supply Chain Recruiting Firms

Selecting the right supply chain recruiting firm can be a daunting task these days as there are so many firms to choose from plus each firm is unique in terms of specialization, service offerings, markets and industries served, etc. The consequences of hiring the wrong Supply Chain Recruiter typically include significant increases to time and costs associated with getting your positions filled. Even worse, making a "bad hire" can lead to all sorts of problems with your supply chain and staff. Why take chances when it comes to your most valuable asset: your people?  

In efforts to maximize your chances of selecting the best and most appropriate firm for your hiring needs, you need to treat firms like candidates for an open job opportunity. This includes conducting research (sourcing) to identify potential firms (candidates) that meet your qualifications (requirements); evaluating (interviewing) a few firms to assess how well they match your requirements based on past performance; and conducting some due diligence (reference checking) to confirm the finalist before awarding (offering) them your business.

Here are the top five variables you should consider prior to engaging a supply chain recruiting firm. I hope this advice aids you with making the right selection the first time around allowing you to expedite the fulfillment of your hiring needs and save you time, money and headaches.

Functional Expertise – Some Supply Chain Recruiters specialize in only one functional area of the supply chain, such as procurement or logistics for example. Others cover the full end-to-end spectrum of the supply chain. When researching and evaluating firms, make sure they fit your particular requirements from a functional expertise standpoint. To validate, ask the firm to provide you with a list of supply chain positions they've filled within the last few months, if they don't maintain such a list on their website.

Geographic Markets - Some Recruiters focus on one geographic area only, such as a city or region for example, while others cover larger geographies such as a country or multiple countries around the globe. Make sure the Supply Chain Recruiter you’re considering has plenty of experience recruiting within the geographic markets where your hiring needs are located. A good Recruiter will maintain a deep and broad candidate network in the areas where you need to outsource your positions, allowing him or her to quickly tap into a qualified pool of candidates to source for your job openings. This factor is even more important if don't have a relocation budget and need to hire someone within commuting distance to the job location.

Industry Verticals – Sometimes industry experience is not a factor when evaluating a Supply Chain Recruiter because many functions and skill sets are transferable across industries, such as transportation and warehousing for example. On the contrary, some functions must have industry-related experience such as manufacturing, primarily due to the uniqueness in processing equipment and industry regulations that are typically required. For example, if you’re a Food & Beverage company seeking a General Manager for your beverage plant, it’s best to work with a Recruiter that has solid Food & Beverage industry recruitment experience. The Recruiter should have a stronger network of Food & Beverage candidates that he or she can quickly tap into for your hiring needs, compared to recruiters that focus in other industries.

Recruitment Service Offerings – Some Supply Chain Recruiters specialize in only one type of recruitment service offering such as Retained Executive Search for example. Others offer a broad assortment of recruitment solutions such as Contingency, Retained, Temporary Staffing, etc. If you need to fill a “VP of Supply Chain” position, it’s recommended that you select a firm that has proven experience at recruiting executive-level candidates, typically on a retained basis. Likewise, if you need to hire temporary contract employees to support a project, you'll want to use a firm that offers temporary staffing and payroll services. Always verify the firm's service offerings via their website or pick up the phone to contact the firm directly to validate.

Years of Service & Client Testimonials – Having worked as a Supply Chain Recruiter for the bulk of my 17-year career, I can certainly attest that it’s a highly specialized and complex area to recruit for compared to many other industries and disciplines. In addition, the demand for top supply chain talent has increased in the last several years and is only expected to increase more in the years to come. This is why it’s very important to make sure the firm you’re evaluating has proven experience and success recruiting within the supply chain discipline. Most firms should list client testimonials on their website but it’s always a good practice to ask for a reference list and check them prior to engaging a supply chain recruiting firm. In addition, be sure to check out the Recruiter’s LinkedIn profile as he or she should have plenty of client references listed there along with other pertinent information.

Do you follow these guidelines yourself? Do you have any other recommendations for hiring the right supply chain recruiting firm?   

Chief Supply Chain Officers, How Well Do You Know Your Supply Chain Recruiter?

by Rodney Apple on Jul 31 2012 with 0 comments

As the global demand for supply chain talent continues to rise, it will become increasingly important for Chief Supply Chain Officers and other supply chain executives to invest more time and energy into their organizations talent acquisition efforts. 

As the top supply chain executive at your company, how well do you know the Recruiter tasked with the critical job of identifying and attracting supply chain talent for your organization? Do you provide your Supply Chain Recruiter with a seat at your executive staff meetings or do you prefer to delegate via your subordinates and/or HR partner?

Having worked as a Supply Chain Recruiter for several Fortune 500 corporations throughout my career, I can attest that the best hiring results are achieved when the top supply chain executive makes it a priority to get closely involved with talent acquisition matters, as opposed to delegating through the management ranks, HR, etc. 

If you haven’t taken this initiative yet, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to optimize your supply chain organization without putting in hardly any additional effort. 

Here’s a brief summary of my experiences working closely with the top supply chain executive at The Home Depot and below are the key benefits gained from our collaborative working relationship:

In 2001 I accepted a contract recruiting assignment at The Home Depot’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Home Depot was a Fortune 13 corporation at the time experiencing phenomenal growth which placed enormous stress on their supply chain network. The company knew it had to make some big changes to its supply chain in order to sustain growth so the idea to form a new strategic supply chain team was born.

Upon starting my recruiting assignment with Home Depot, I was tasked by the SVP of Global Logistics to source external talent for the new supply chain department which consisted of hiring a VP of Supply Chain, Director of Replenishment and eleven Supply Chain Managers to align with Home Depot’s eleven merchandising categories.

The SVP of Global Logistics was heavily involved with the recruitment efforts for his organization including the project I was hired to support. I had routine meetings with the SVP and other key stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of the project and it ended up being a huge success as we were able to fill all 13 of these newly created positions with high-caliber supply chain talent.  

When the project wrapped up, I was asked to stay onboard to handle national supply chain recruitment for the company. In addition, the SVP of Global Logistics insisted that I relocate my office from the remote, bottom-floor corner of the office complex where the Talent Acquisition department was housed to one of the two upper floors that housed the Global Logistics staff.

I continued to work closely with the SVP and his leadership team and had a seat at the supply chain executive table as well, meaning I was invited to participate in their weekly staff meetings. This level of partnership and collaboration drove incredible results and within the 2.5 years I served in this role, we brought in a plethora of top-notch supply chain talent that helped drive much needed improvements throughout the company’s supply chain while cutting millions from the bottom line.

Here are the key benefits gained from having a seat at the supply chain executive table along with physically sitting with the business unit:

  • Proactive vs Reactive Recruitment – Often times Recruiters are the very last to hear about a new job vacancy. This is absolutely unacceptable! Since I was able to participate in the SVP’s weekly executive staff meetings, I received the maximum lead time on all things related to hiring and recruitment such as pending promotions, demotions, terminations, reorgs, downsizings, departmental build-outs, openings of new cross-docks and warehouses, etc. This advanced lead time enabled me to proactively partner with hiring managers and HR managers in efforts to develop recruitment strategies that ultimately sped up the hiring process, improved customer service levels and reduced the overall cost per hire.


  • Networking & Referrals – Referrals are typically the very best source for quality hires when compared to other sourcing channels such as advertising and job boards, for example. Since I sat with the supply chain department, the process for obtaining referrals was super easy because I knew just about every supply chain employee on a first name basis. One of my core sourcing strategies was to simply walk the halls, knock on doors and ask for referrals. Over time I knew exactly who to turn to for referrals depending on the type of opening I had. It’s not always possible for Supply Chain Recruiters to sit with the business unit so if this is the case, Chief Supply Chain Officers and their direct reports need to proactively engage the Recruiter, and vice versa, in efforts to optimize candidate referral generation.


  • Supply Chain Talent Scout – As a Chief Supply Chain Officer, wouldn’t you want your leadership team to have access to resumes of the “cream of the crop” supply chain talent, especially from your top competitors? Of course you would! When I participated in weekly supply chain staff meetings at Home Depot, I always strived to make time to share a few resumes of the best supply chain talent I had come across recently. Often times hiring managers would place calls into these candidates to establish a connection and we even hired some of them into future job vacancies.  


  • Knowledge Transfer – When Supply Chain Recruiters are properly armed with the right knowledge, their ability to sell career opportunities and close candidates on offers significantly improves. I was provided with plenty of PowerPoint decks that detailed what the company was doing from a supply chain perspective and gained even more knowledge by sitting in on weekly supply chain staff meetings. When you can confidently speak to candidates about various supply chain initiates that are going on within the company and illustrate how joining the organization would benefit their careers, it’s so much easier to sell candidates on joining the company.


  • Hiring Status Updates – At each weekly executive staff meeting, I provided both a written and verbal recruiting update to the SVP and his direct reports (several VPs plus the Finance and HR leaders within the BU). If there were any problems associated with recruiting and hiring, we brainstormed and came up with solutions right there on the spot. This also was a great time to go over staffing forecasts, headcount reports, etc. 


  • Market & Competitive Intelligence - Most Recruiters possess strong research and investigative abilities as we’re always combing the internet and working the phones in search of candidates for our job openings. By simply doing our job day in day out, we often times come across market and competitive intelligence that can be of benefit to our company. Again, by giving your Supply Chain Recruiter a seat at the table, you’re putting yourself in a better position for him or her to share data on competitors and keep your team abreast of what’s going on in the market from a real time perspective.
  •  Relationship Building – Last but not least, because the top supply chain executive made it a priority to integrate me (Talent Acquisition) into his business unit, I was able to accelerate relationship building throughout the entire supply chain organization to the point where I felt like I was a member of his team. The key takeaway here is that if you want to maximize the productivity of someone from another business unit that's critical to the success of your business unit, such as Talent Acquisition for example, simply put forth the effort to make the individual feel like he or she is a part of your team.

I’d love to receive your feedback on this topic in efforts to learn what’s working well for you and what’s not working well when it comes to supply chain recruiting. Are there any other opportunities for improvement that you can think of?

Rodney Apple to speak at the CSCMP Conference on Supply Chain Talent Development

by Rodney Apple on Sep 28 2012 with 0 comments
CSCMP Annual Global Supply Chain Conference Atlanta

I am very excited about the upcoming Annual CSCMP Global Conference that's being held in Atlanta from Sunday, September 30th through Wednesday, October 3rd. This is one of the premiere supply chain conferences on the planet and is chock-full of educational sessions that span every supply chain topic imaginable.

Yours truly will be participating on the "Supply Chain Management Talent Development" panel session on Tuesday (see details below). This session will discuss findings from a recent CSCMP research project on SCM Talent Development and will address current trends/issues that relate to the following topics:


  • Key Supply Chain Skills
  • Supply Chain Recruiting
  • Candidate Onboarding
  • Supply Chain Talent Development
  • Supply Chain Career Paths
  • Employee Retention


What sessions are you looking forward to attending at this year's CSCMP conference?  

- Rodney Apple


Track: Current Issues I

Session: CSCMP Research Project: Supply Chain Management Talent Development

Date:   10/2/2012 (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM)       
Room:  B406

Description: Headcount reduction during the Great Recession depleted the SCM talent pool in many organizations. In an effort to recover, leading companies are initiating innovative SCM talent development and team building strategies. The CSCMP SCM Talent Development research team and supply chain executives will discuss key findings and insights from the study.

Session Type: Panel Discussion  
Education Level: Intermediate
Session Keywords: Human Resources, Education/Training

Session Speakers:
Rodney Apple
President / Supply Chain Recruiter
SCM Talent Group, LLC

Brian Gibson
Wilson Family Professor of Supply Chain Management
Auburn University

Sean Goffnett
Asst Professor
Central Michigan University 

John Vogt
Vice President of Logistics

Zachary Williams
Associate Professor of Logistics
Central Michigan University 

Categories: SCM Talent News

Video Interview on Winning the Supply Chain Talent Hunt

by Rodney Apple on Nov 30 2012 with 0 comments
Rodney Apple CSCMP SupplyChain Interview Supply Chain Talent

During the Annual CSCMP Global Conference that was held in Atlanta back in October, I was asked to conduct a video interview with SupplyChainBrain on "Winning the Supply Chain Talent Hunt".

In case you're not familiar with SupplyChainBrain, they are one of the world's most comprehensive supply chain management information resources. In addition to providing complete coverage of all fundamental supply chain principles, SupplyChainBrain identifies emerging trends, strategies and best practices, forward-thinking ideas, cutting-edge solutions and the latest innovations - and continues to write and report on these as they evolve and mature.

Here are some of the topics we discussed during our video interview:

  • Top mistakes companies make with their supply chain talent acquisition program.
  • Why supply chain executives need to develop a collaborative relationship with their Supply Chain Recruiters (link to one of my recent blog posts on this exact topic).
  • What's driving supply chain talent gaps and current trends within supply chain career development.
  • Best sources for recruiting top-notch supply chain candidates.
  • How to develop a robust talent acquisition strategy and program.


To view the video, please click here. Please note that if you aren't registered with SupplyChainBrain, you'll need to create a free account to view the video which only takes a minute to complete. Once you're registered, you'll have access to SupplyChainBrain's extensive catalogue of supply chain information such as video interviews, white papers, supplier directory, webinars and other useful information that would be beneficial for the supply chain professional.

After you watch the video, I would love to hear your thoughts on what I've said and any additional insights you'd like to share as it relates to Winning the Supply Chain Talent Hunt.


To your success!

Now Could be the Best Time to Launch a Supply Chain Job Search

by Rodney Apple on Dec 6 2012 with 1 comments
LinkedIn Supply Chain Job Search

Are you thinking about making a career move in 2013? I have been noticing a big spike lately with candidates reaching out to inquire about supply chain job opportunities, inviting me to connect on LinkedIn and other social media sites, seeking assistance with optimizing their resumes, etc. Likewise, many of my clients have stated that they're planning to add to their payrolls in 2013. From my vantage point, right now could be the best time to kick off your supply chain job search. Why?

For starters, we are finally past this brutal, mind-numbing election season. Companies tend to pause or slow down hiring in the year of a major election and resume hiring once elections are over. Reason being, employers want to know what potential changes could be made to the tax code, regulations, etc. that may impact their businesses before they’ll allocate money towards human capital. Granted, the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” is looming but hopefully our elected politicians will find their big boy britches soon and move us down the right path without causing any economic harm (fingers crossed!).

Secondly, most companies are either in budget and headcount planning mode now or they’ve wrapped up this effort recently. Once budgets are approved, employers tend to get a jump start on hiring as they typically have approval to start new hires in the beginning of the fiscal year. When I worked in corporate supply chain recruiting for Coke, Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark and other corporations, it wasn’t unusual to be extremely busy in November and December through the first quarter (January - March).

Thirdly, supply chain executives and hiring managers in general are typically easier to connect with over the holiday season. Since many will take off from work over the last week or two of the year, they’ll have a lot of down time to socialize, catch up with social media, etc. This is why you should immediately put more time into connecting with potential decision makers on LinkedIn, Twitter, Kinaxis (Supply Chain Expert Community), etc. Each time you connect with someone new, send them a brief thank you email for accepting your invite, reference that you're kicking off a job search campaign, and ask if they are aware of any potential opportunities that might be opening up in early 2013.

Last but not least, while the economy isn’t growing nearly as fast as we would like, there are several positive signs indicating that things are trending in the proper direction. The DOW hit a 5-year high back in October, corporate profits hit a record high in the 3rd quarter, the unemployment rate just hit a 4-year low, and the housing market is showing positive signs of improvement.  

With all of these positive factors in play, something has to give at some point. If you are considering launching a new supply chain job search campaign, my advice to you is to start planning right now as it's best to take a proactive stance especially in today’s highly competitive job market. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm!

What are your predictions for 2013's supply chain job market? 

Top 6 Supply Chain Job Search Tips

by Rodney Apple on Apr 30 2013 with 10 comments
Supply Chain Job Search

As a veteran Supply Chain Recruiter, I am often asked by job seekers for my advice on how to develop and execute an effective supply chain job search strategy. Before I respond with my suggestions, I always ask the job seeker “what does your job search strategy look like now?”

You would be surprised at the types of answers I have received. I’ve had job seekers tell me “my resume is on Monster and I'm waiting for the phone to ring” to even worse, “what job search strategy?”.  After receiving one of these responses recently, I was prompted to write this article which contains my top six supply chain job search tips.

While this is a pretty long read, I’m hopeful that you’ll discover some new techniques to incorporate into your job search strategy that will help lead you to the job of your dreams.



This is by far the most critical component of any effective job search campaign. Like anything else in life that you’re striving to achieve, you must create and write down your goals, develop corresponding action steps, track your results and adjust your action plan along the way. Your job search strategy should incorporate the following, at a minimum:

  • Key Goals – Write down your main goals and keep them in close sight as a constant in-your-face reminder. If your goals are “out of sight” then they’ll likely become “out of mind” which in turn prolongs “out of job”.  
  • Target Employer List – It’s critical that you take the time to research potential employers via websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Hoovers, Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Glassdoor and the like. Poll your professional network, friends and family as well to get their suggestions for great companies to work for. Once you complete your target employer list, share it with everyone you know including Supply Chain Recruiters that you come into contact with and ask if they have any contacts that work at any of the companies on your target list. If they do, then politely ask them if they could make an introduction or if they would be willing to pass along your resume. This step alone can yield tremendous results!
  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly Action Plan – Once you determine your goals and the companies you want to market yourself to, map out an action plan in efforts to achieve your goals. This should include actions steps such as attending a certain amount of supply chain networking events per month, making X amount of cold calls per day to hiring managers at your target employers, connecting with Y amount of new contacts on LinkedIn per week, taking colleagues from your supply chain network out to lunch or dinner Z times per month, etc.

I have created a Job Search Activity Tracker (Excel spreadsheet) that you can download and utilize for developing and tracking your job search activities. Similar to your goals, keep your action plan in front of you during the day especially your daily To Do List. I also recommend that you complete your daily To Do List each evening as opposed to waking up and writing them down. This can really help you increase your productivity plus you won’t lose any sleep at night wondering what you need to do the next day.

  • Track Your Progress and Results – Your target employer list and action plan will constantly evolve so it’s best to keep track of everything via a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel. This will allow you to easily keep track of your target employers, hiring manager and recruiter names, contact information, action items, results, etc. In addition, you’ll want to track a few key metrics throughout your job search such as the ratio of job applications to interviews, ratio of interviews to offers, which sources yield the best results, etc. As you discover which techniques are driving the best results, adjust your action plan accordingly.



In today’s job market, your resume and LinkedIn profile are your two most important marketing tools. This is why it’s imperative that you fully optimize both for your target audience.

  • Resume Optimization Tips - The number one goal of a resume is to generate a “positive response” from the target audience. This could be a call from a Supply Chain Recruiter to ask a few questions or it could be an invitation to interview. To be most effective, your resume should be designed to help Supply Chain Recruiters and hiring managers quickly and easily understand your most important and unique skills, experience, past performance and accomplishments. I encourage you to review my top supply chain resume tips on our website along with a blog post I wrote a while back that details my top 5 tips for optimizing a supply chain resume.
  • LinkedIn Profile Optimization Tips – In a nutshell, this basically means completing your profile in a way that maximizes the odds of Supply Chain Recruiters and hiring managers discovering you on LinkedIn. You’ll need to utilize some of the techniques Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists use to boost results for their website search engine rankings and ultimately drive more website traffic. You’ll incorporate keywords that are popular for your industry/title/background within various sections of your LinkedIn profile such as the Headline, Summary, Job Skills and for each Job you’ve held. Here are a couple of great articles that explain the steps you’ll need to take to optimize your LinkedIn profile: one from Social Media Examiner and another by TopRank Online Marketing.  By following these steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile, you should become more discoverable which in turn should lead to more job inquiries and connections on LinkedIn.

One last LinkedIn tip: please don’t make the same mistake many LinkedIn newbies make which is to complete a profile then sit back and wait for things to happen. You need to be an active participator as well. For example, you should join the most popular LinkedIn Supply Chain Groups where you can post and respond to supply chain discussion topics with peers from other companies. The more you participate on LinkedIn, the more exposure you’ll gain to potential employers and Supply Chain Recruiters while rapidly expanding your professional network.


Spending time surfing job boards can be a huge drain on your time not to mention is a mind-numbing chore. Instead of wasting valuable time checking various job boards for new job postings each day, you should enable the jobs to come to you.

Most of the big job boards allow you to set up Email Job Alerts that come into your email inbox on a daily basis, based on search criteria that you specify when you set up the job alerts. My favorite by far is With Indeed, you can create as many Email Job Alerts as you like and specify criteria such as location, job title, keywords, company name, etc. If you need advice on how to set them up, I encourage you to review Indeed’s Job Alerts Tutorial.

While Indeed captures most job postings from other career sites and job boards, it doesn’t capture everything. I also recommend setting up email alerts that are much broader in scope via Google Alerts (here is a great tutorial for setting up Job Searches in Google Alerts) and/or Talkwalker. These tools will crawl newly indexed web pages (blogs, job postings, news, etc.) in “real time” and will email you the results based on the time intervals you select (instantly, daily, weekly, etc.).

The key to setting up “accurate” email alerts is to learn how to use advanced internet search engine techniques such as Boolean logic. Here is an outstanding Googling for Jobs tutorial by Jim Stroud that explains how to utilize advanced/Boolean search logic to search the internet for jobs.

As you receive job alerts via email, be sure to document each and every position you apply to within your action plan spreadsheet. Why? You will look completely unorganized if someone from a company you applied to makes contact and you have no recollection of the position you applied to.


4)      GO THE EXTRA MILE!!!

Now that you’re (hopefully) receiving plenty of job leads in your inbox and have been applying online to some job postings, you’ll want to focus a good chunk of your time on following up on your job applications. While some of these tactics can be a bit intimidating, I can assure you that the job seekers that go the “extra mile” significantly increase their odds of landing a job faster than those that only employ the standard “post and pray” method.

After you apply online to a position, go to LinkedIn’s Advanced Search Page and type the Company Name into the Company field and hit the Search button. Do you see anyone that you’re connected to at that company? If yes, try to make contact and politely ask if there’s anything that he or she could do to help get your job application “noticed” such as forwarding your resume along to the hiring manager, for example. If no, consider typing in a few job-related keywords into the Title and/or Keywords field(s) in efforts to try to identify the hiring manager, the Supply Chain Recruiter or perhaps a leader within the supply chain department.

Once you identify the name and title of a potential decision maker or someone that might be able to help send you in the right direction, you need to do whatever it takes to initiate contact with this person even if it means picking up the phone and cold calling him or her. Now, before you pick up the phone to cold call someone, you better know exactly what you’re going to say as you will likely only have 30 – 60 seconds to get your point across. This is why I strongly recommend that you spend time developing your elevator pitch and rehearsing it in front of a friend or family member.

Now that you have your elevator pitch down pat, you’re ready to make follow-up calls. For each call, keep a goal in mind which could be obtaining the person’s email address so you can send him or her resume or getting the name of a referral if your contact isn’t the right decision maker. As a reminder, be sure to keep your action plan handy as you make these follow-up calls so you can document the results for each call, write down contact information for referrals you receive, etc.

Lastly, and I can’t stress this point enough, by focusing on becoming consistently persistent with your follow-up calls and baking this routine into your job search strategy, you will separate yourself from the majority of other job seekers that are applying to the same positions you’re applying to.



Not all Supply Chain Recruiters are created equal. Some specialize by geography, function and/or level which is why it’s important to conduct some research in efforts to identify Supply Chain Recruiters that match your particular needs. I also recommend asking members of your supply chain network for recruiter recommendations. Below are some links that I put together that will lead you to a plethora of Supply Chain Recruiters as well.

Google Supply Chain Recruiter Search
LinkedIn Supply Chain Recruiter Search
Twitter Supply Chain Recruiter Search
CSCMP Supply Chain Recruiter Directory

Once you identify a few Supply Chain Recruiters that focus in the areas you’re targeting, send them your resume and include a short message that summarizes your job search preferences (type of position, location, level, industry, company size, etc.). I also recommend connecting with them on their primary social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ as more and more recruiters are turning to social media these days to broadcast their job openings. You should also do a “check in” every once in a while via email or phone to see if they have any new opportunities in the works to consider you for. Remember, your goal here is to stay on their ”radar screen” so please don’t overdo it with calling and emailing as this can send out the wrong signal.



Last but definitely not least, try to commit to as many supply chain networking events as you can fit into your schedule. There are plenty of supply chain associations that you can join based on your particular specialty and many have local chapters that host networking and educational events on a monthly basis. These are excellent opportunities to network for job leads and discover more information about potential employers. Not to mention, many of the chapter meetings are educational in nature so while you’re networking you should be able to learn something new as well.

If you’re out of work and no longer have a work business card, I highly recommend that you order some business cards that have your basic information such as title, phone, email, etc. allows you to create business cards online via numerous templates and their prices are pretty good too.

In addition to networking and educational benefits, some supply chain associations have an Online Membership Directory where you can keyword search other association members by company name, title, city, etc. An excellent example is CSCMP  (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) which contains thousands of member profiles within their directory along with personal contact information for each member.  If you do reach out to someone via an Online Membership Directory, mention that you’re a fellow member of the association and are looking to network for career opportunities.

In closing, I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to provide your feedback on these six supply chain job search tips. What techniques have worked best for your job search? Do you have any other suggestions to add?

How to Write Job Descriptions That Attract Top Supply Chain Talent

by Rodney Apple on Mar 18 2014 with 0 comments

The competition for top supply chain talent is fierce these days. Unfortunately, a lot of companies treat their job descriptions as a “necessary evil” instead of a “strategic marketing tool”.

These companies have yet to learn that there’s a strong association between a company’s job postings and its brand image. In other words, posting bad job descriptions can have a negative impact on a company’s brand image and deter the best candidates from applying.

As the demand for top supply chain talent increases in coming years, it will become more important for companies to focus on optimizing their career marketing efforts. Investing time into creating standout job descriptions that compel the right candidates to apply is a great place to start.

Here are my top tips for crafting job descriptions that attract top supply chain talent.


Marketing experts claim that an attention-grabbing subject line is the key to yielding higher email opening rates and conversions. The same logic applies to job titles.

Instead of using generic or vague job titles, use your creativity and try to make the job title stand out the best you can. Sometimes all you need to do is integrate functional or departmental context into the job title.

For example, if you have a need for a Logistics Analyst on your Distribution Engineering team, instead of using “Logistics Analyst” as the job title which is rather vague, try using “Logistics Analyst – Distribution Engineering”.


Similar to the opening paragraph in newspaper articles and blog posts, you’ll want to write something that’s exciting and intriguing enough to compel your target audience to continue reading further. I like to think of this paragraph as the “elevator pitch” or “highlight reel” for the job description.

An effective Position Overview provides a brief, compelling description of the most important aspects of the job and should include the following elements:

  • Objective Statement –provide a “power statement” that describes the core objective of the role.

For example: “The VP of Logistics will lead strategic planning, operational execution and continuous improvement initiatives for the Transportation and Distribution departments with the goal of enabling company growth, improving customer service levels and reducing costs.” 

              • Functional Summary –provide a high-level overview of the department, how the role fits in with the organization, the most critical responsibilities, the reporting relationship, key internal and/or external groups the role interfaces with, major projects the role will support, people leadership and budgetary responsibilities (if applicable), etc.
          • Key Selling Points– Job seekers want to know “what’s in it for me?” so to close out the Position Overview, explain why the applicant should apply to your job opening and join the company. How will this role challenge an individual and benefit his or her career?



Instead of writing out a laundry list of “roles and responsibilities”, I recommend that you focus on describing the top performance objectives for the job. This is basically the work that a person needs to complete on the first year of the job to be considered successful.

Using bullet points, aim to provide 6 – 12 performance objectives in order of most important to least important. From here, if you need to add some roles and responsibilities, simply list them below the performance objectives.

Why should you take this approach?

  • For hiring managers:  this exercise drives them to force rank the most critical aspects of the job which ultimately answers the question: “What does success looks like in this role?”.
  • For job seekers:  this provides a great understanding of what the core challenges are, the primary expectations of the position, and what success looks like.
  • For supply chain recruiters: this gives them the most important criteria needed to effectively screen and qualify applicants, ensuring that they have demonstrated past performance and relevant accomplishments in their work history.



This section is used to describe the “minimum qualifications” and “preferred qualifications” for the position. A lot of companies miss the mark here by listing way too many qualifications which can deter qualified candidates from applying. The last thing you want to do is describe what recruiters call a “purple squirrel” i.e. a candidate that does not exist or rarely exists in the marketplace.  

In light of how competitive it is to recruit top supply chain talent these days, I suggest that you err on the side of “flexibility” versus “rigidness” as you describe the minimum and preferred qualifications. For example, instead of guessing the exact amount of experience a candidate should possess at a minimum, provide a range of years instead. Also, be sure to add plenty of job-specific context in efforts to avoid coming across as too vague.



You may already have a Company Overview in place which is typically found in the “About Us” section of your company's website. You’ll want to include information about products and/or services, industry expertise, annual revenue, number of employees, headquarter location, geographical footprint, etc.

This is an excellent place to add some tidbits about company culture so take the time to explain why your company is a great place to work along with the key benefits candidates can expect to receive by joining your organization.


Identify the job location for the position. If travel is included, provide the estimated travel percentage along with locations the employee would be traveling to. Be sure to state whether or not a relocation package is available for the position.


State whether the position is exempt or non-exempt, full-time or part-time, an internship, etc.


This is an obvious one but be sure to provide a link to apply online or an email address to apply via email.

What did I miss? What recommendations do you have for improving job descriptions?


To your success!

Rodney Apple 

Rodney Apple to Serve as Career Coach for APICS, Kicks Off First Webinar on May 21st

by Rodney Apple on May 15 2014 with 0 comments

I am very excited to be serving as the new Career Coach for APICS – the American Production and Inventory Control Society.

For those not familiar with APICS, it is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management and the premier provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate end-to-end supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience.

In this role, I will be responsible for developing a series of white papers and hosting corresponding webinars pertaining to career development topics. These white papers and webinars will be free of charge but can only be accessed by current APICS members.

In addition, I will be responsible for answering “Ask the Career Coach” questions that are submitted by members via the APICS Career Center website and assisting with the development of a database of interview questions and answers.

The first webinar has been scheduled for May 21st, 2014 and is titled “How to Develop and Execute a Winning Job Search Strategy”. If you can't make the webinar but would like to replay it and/or download the white paper, simply visit the APICS Career Coach website page, login to your APICS account, and you'll be able to access the materials at the bottom of the web page.

This webinar, and corresponding white paper, covers the following: 

  • Career Brainstorming & Goal Planning
  • How to Optimize Career Marketing Tools
  • How to Research and Develop a Target Company List
  • Developing And Tracking Job Search Activities (includes a link to download my Job Search Activity Tracker template)
  • How to Become a Master Networker
  • How to Make Yourself Easy to Find on the Internet 
  • Job Search Automation Tips And Tools 
  • Applying To Jobs Online And How To Go Through The Back Door 
  • Additional Job Search Tools, Hacks And Tips

Again, I am looking forward to my partnership with APICS and providing their members with valuable career development advice and job search enhancement tips. If you are not a member of APICS and have interest in learning more about membership benefits and how to join, please click here for more information.

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