Posted December 7, 2023

Transitioning into a Career in Supply Chain

Transitioning into a Career in Supply Chain
By Gigi Tino

It is entirely normal to experience the desire for a change of role or responsibilities at different points in your career. This can be driven by various factors, including personal growth, evolving interests, or a desire for new challenges. The supply chain industry is dynamic, multifaceted, and continually evolving, so it is no wonder why it appeals to many new job seekers. The supply chain industry offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth, but it's crucial for individuals to carefully consider whether it aligns with their interests, skills, and career goals. If you decide it is right for you, creating a plan for your switch is extremely important. Changing your career to the supply chain industry involves a strategic approach and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Get to Know Yourself and the Industry:

Research and gain a good understanding of the supply chain industry before you make any decisions. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the industry and all that it has to offer. The supply chain has a vast array of work environments and specialties. Do some thorough research on the types of jobs an entry-level employee in the industry can get, as well as the different career paths one can follow. Evaluate your interests within the supply chain, as there are various roles, including procurement, logistics, inventory management, and demand planning. In addition, research the daily tasks of positions you might be interested in. Can you envision yourself in one of these jobs? Do you prefer a specific work environment, such as an office or industrial facility? Taking the time to reflect on these aspects will help you make an informed decision about whether this industry is the right fit for you.

It’s also important to compare your skills to those often required for a supply chain position in order to assess your compatibility with industry jobs. Working in the supply chain industry requires a diverse set of skills to navigate the complex and dynamic nature of the field. Identify the skills you already possess that are transferable to the supply chain, such as problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills. Do you enjoy using these skills in your job, or are you looking to use your talents differently? Perhaps one area of the supply chain, such as warehouse management, piques your interest more than others. You can then assess the skills these positions require and determine what skills you already have and which you need to work on, and even more importantly, which you are excited to put to action.


Networking is a crucial aspect of building a successful career in the supply chain industry. An easy place to start is through digital platforms. Try following and connecting with professionals in the supply chain field through professional platforms and social media. Join relevant online forums and communities to stay updated on industry trends and to make connections. Platforms like Reddit and specialized industry forums can be valuable for networking and gaining insights. To form in-person connections, look for conferences, seminars, and workshops related to supply chain management. These events provide opportunities to meet professionals, learn about industry trends, and leave a personal impression on potential employers.

Professional connections can be extremely important when it comes to your application. Some hiring managers might pass over candidates with little industry experience on their resumes; if you have a connection in the company, they will be able to act as an advocate for you and your abilities. Referrals always go a long way in the hiring process! Additionally, your connections can also act as professional mentors. A mentor can help you learn and navigate the complexities of the industry, coach and develop your skills, and even help with the creation of your resume and cover letter. Changing your career path is no easy task, so take any help you can from your network.

Professional Development and Education:

A Masters degree in Supply Chain Management or a relevant speciality is a popular choice for supply chain professionals. However, there are more ways than just a college degree to learn the right skills for supply chain. Many associations offer professional development courses to further your skills, and even offer sought-after certifications that set you apart as a candidate. Two relevant certifications are Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) or Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) through the Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM). The ACSM and other industry organizations often hold professional development seminars where you can gain knowledge on current industry developments. Many online courses are also available at affordable rates and can be completed with immense schedule flexibility. These courses can be extremely useful for familiarizing yourself with common supply chain and logistics software and tools. This may include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Transportation Management Systems (TMS), and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

Be Open to Internships or Entry-Level Positions:

Any sort of relevant hands-on experience can be especially crucial if you are changing careers. Your current company might offer some supply chain-related positions where you can start the groundwork for your career switch. Seek internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer opportunities in the supply chain sector if you are unable to find opportunities to learn in your current position. This allows you to gain industry-specific experience and demonstrate your commitment to the field. However, it is important to be willing to start at the entry level, even if you have prior work experience. Supply chain is a competitive industry; get your foot in the door in any way you can!. Tailor your resume to highlight transferable skills and any relevant experiences you’ve acquired, even if they are not directly related to supply chain and logistics.

Remember that transitioning to a new industry takes time and effort. Stay persistent, be open to learning, and leverage your existing skills and experiences to make a successful shift into the supply chain industry. Most importantly, do not be afraid to get yourself out there and apply!