How to Move Your Procurement Resume to the Yes Pile

Every job listing gets hundreds of applications. Harried recruiters and HR staff wade through a stack of procurement resumes, sorting into a Yes and No pile in the first pass.

Applying for a job is a job in itself, and it seems harder than ever. Here’s a quick look at what you’re up against with stats from Standout-CV. 

  • Recruiters review a resume in 6-8 seconds
  • 55% of Americans have lied on their resume at least once
  • 75% of resumes are rejected by ATS software and never seen by a person
  • Fewer than 10% of resumes reach the hiring manager
  • 3 in 10 resumes are rejected for having an unprofessional email address
  • A 2-page resume is preferred by 90% of recruiters
  • Only 3% of resumes sent to job applications result in a job interview, according to CareerSidekick

An exhausting list just to read! Not only are there unseen and unknown requirements within each job advert, but they will change from role to role, and each hiring manager or recruiter will have their own expectations (and potential bias) for you to get past too.

How do you make sure you are going to end up in the ‘Yes’ pile in the face of all of this? Well, if you follow these tips, your procurement resume will stand out from the crowd and give you a real fighting chance. 

Use a Standard Format

Make it easy for the reader to find pertinent information with sections for a summary, experience, and education. You may also want to break out particular technical skills, like software programs, and soft skills, like leadership and public speaking, as well as being multilingual.

Don’t get too creative on your resume template unless you’re applying for a creative job. Use a standard template for where the position is located. Many templates that come with your word processing software have excessive formatting, colours, and fonts. Keep it simple with a basic document and only a couple of fonts. Remember, it’s about what it says more than what it looks like.

In the US, a two-page template is standard for all but the most junior and senior positions. In other places, a CV with a broader scope about your education and accomplishments is more common. For some countries, a photo is expected, while in others, a photo would be a big turn-off.

There are two basic approaches to a resume: chronological and functional. For a chronological approach, list jobs starting with the current position and go back in time. In a functional resume, you can emphasise specific skills or results.

A hybrid resume blends the two styles, pairing qualifications and accomplishments that may cross multiple positions. This is a good approach if you have a work history gap and want to emphasise any key skills and achievements.

The goal is to create a baseline template that you can modify for each position.

Customise for the Job

Most likely, an applicant tracking system (ATS) will be the first stop for your resume. The automated screener will be looking for keywords that match the job description. Start with your baseline document and revise it with keywords to emphasise how your qualifications and experience fit the opening. Spell out acronyms and use industry terms to help catch the robot’s attention.

A brief summary at the beginning of the resume is a great place to focus on your qualifications and incorporate keywords. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start with the keywords, make use of the person specification and job description and pick out the key and repeated terms. These are the ones that the hiring managers are looking for.

Use Bullet Points Well

Use bullet points to help the reader scan the resume. Each position should have two to three bulleted phrases.

  • Use keywords in bullet points.
  • Use action verbs, e.g., implemented, led, developed.
  • Be specific – don’t say managed daily paperwork.
  • Quantify with numbers – say you negotiated contracts that reduced indirect spend by 30%, not that you looked for opportunities to reduce spending.
  • Your most significant achievements should be the first bullet point. Reorder them to be more applicable to the position.
  • More junior positions will require you to focus on your own achievements. Senior or managerial positions should focus more on how you have led or managed teams to successful outcomes.

Focus on Results

Don’t mention every single responsibility you had for every job. Focus on your contributions to the business – emphasise accomplishments, not processes.

Don’t waste space by saying you’re a self-starter. Provide examples of projects you proposed and managed and their impact. 

For example, “Started a new supplier strategy that lowered costs” isn’t very exciting. But by being more specific and active, for example: “Developed and implemented a procurement strategy that delivered a 12% reduction in overall procurement costs and a 22% increase in supplier performance.”, that will make people pay attention.

Ultimately, your procurement resume should highlight your efforts in developing and implementing procurement strategies that result in measurable cost reductions and improved supplier performance through negotiating contracts, conducting cost analysis, managing supplier relationships, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

Don’t forget to mention soft skills such as managing teams, building consensus, and presentation skills.

A job posting is like an RFP. The hiring company has a need and seeks the best resource to fill it. Your response should be based on the requirements in the posting, highlighting how you will meet the requirements and how you will add value above and beyond. Use these tips to help your resume pop for the robot reader, HR, and the hiring manager.

Bonus Tips

Grown-Up Email

Create a simple email address with your first and last name from a modern email provider like Gmail. Don’t use a college-era address with your hilarious nickname or one with an outdated provider like or

Send a PDF

Submit your resume as a PDF instead of any other version. The recruiter sees your resume as you intended, rather than being rearranged by different Word versions or incompatible fonts.

Happy job hunting!