So You Want to Become a Purchasing Agent: 4 Things You Need to Know
Becoming a certified purchasing agent can allow you to play an integral role in choosing the products and services an organization provides for their clients. While you might think you’ll be getting paid to shop for a living, the truth is that purchasing agent responsibilities cover a whole lot more, and to be successful, you need a highly developed skill set. Purchasing agent jobs are multi-faceted, demanding, and rewarding. But if you want to find more about what these purchasing agent jobs entail, here are four things you should know:
- You’ll have numerous duties within the companyOverall, the brief job description for purchasing agents (also known as buyers) is that they are responsible for making decisions about what types of products and services a given company uses or resells. But within that responsibility lies tons of others. They negotiate contracts, review product quality, evaluate suppliers, interview vendors, attend trade shows and conferences, analyze financial reports, and maintain purchasing records. They may also work out agreements with suppliers about when and how products are delivered. For example, you may have to work out an arrangement for a shipment to be sent via air cargo, which decreases the risk of damage and ensures higher product quality upon delivery. If your supplier pushes back and wants to send it via sea freight shipping, you’ll have to work out a viable compromise. While the chief task may be to make sound purchasing decisions, there’s a whole lot more that goes into it.
- You’ll need certain qualificationsWhile many entry-level positions do offer extended on-the-job training, you’ll likely need to meet certain requirements to be considered for a purchasing position. Some organizations will hire buyers who have only a high school diploma, but others may require you to have a bachelor’s degree and additional certifications. It varies quite a bit depending on the company in question. However, if you want a purchasing agent job, you will need to possess certain skills. These include superior mathematics ability, excellent negotiating skills, and the ability to analyze and make informed decisions. If you show real potential and a willingness to learn, employers may value that more over a more formal education.
- You’ll have to work hardBy and large, this is not a part-time position. Most purchasing agents work at least 40 hours a week, and many work overtime. And since the predicted job growth is slower than average, you’ll have to compete for coveted positions. However, purchasing agents are a necessity for business operations, so these roles will continue to be important. If you continue to develop your skills and make your résumé as appealing as possible to future employers, you’ll have a good chance of landing one of these coveted positions.
- You can work in a variety of industriesThe majority of purchasing agents work in the manufacturing industry or in the wholesale trade, but there are opportunities in retail, management, agriculture, and even within the federal government. Most work in office environments, but others travel across the country or even around the world for their jobs. Because these jobs are a necessity in almost any type of business, you’ll likely be able to find work in nearly any location or field.
To learn more about purchasing agent jobs or about how our purchasing agent service can help your company, please contact us today.