Advice for Supply Chain Graduates in 2020

Advice for Supply Chain Graduates in 2020


Are you a senior graduating this spring with a supply chain degree?

At APICS Greater Detroit an important part of our mission is to serve the next generation of supply chain leaders. We’ve heard from many supply chain students looking for assistance as they graduate during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

At our Supply Chain Connect Forum this past week, several resources were shared to assist students as they begin their careers. We’ve summarized these resources and our advice below.

Graduating at this point in time is challenging for many supply chain students. The good news there are many resources available to assist with basic needs, job searching and getting hired summarized below.

Basic Needs

Handshake has provided an extensive list of free resources to assist students with basic needs during the pandemic including:

Mental or emotional support:

  • If you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or just need to talk to somebody, crisis counselors are available to you 24/7 via the confidential Crisis Text Line. Simply text HOME to 741741 for free support in the US from a trained Crisis Counselor. The Headspace app has released a collection of free materials called “Weathering the Storm,” which includes meditation, sleep, and movement exercises. Ten Percent Happier has created a collection of free guided meditations and additional resources for anyone who might need emotional support during this time.

Moving Help:

Affordable and reliable internet access:

  • Comcast Xfinity has announced a slew of offerings in response to COVID-19 concerns for students and remote workers, including free use of outdoor and public Wi-Fi hotspots and unlimited data for no additional charge. Spectrum has offered “free access to internet and WiFi for 60 days for new Pre-K to 12, college student and teacher households who don’t currently have internet or WiFi service.”



  • In support of independent restaurants and businesses during this trying time, UberEats has waived delivery fees for applicable small business orders. Many chain restaurants, such as Chipotle, Subway, and KFC, are also offering discounts and free delivery on online orders.

Job Searching

Graduating and applying for your first professional job feels especially daunting when the economy, the job market, and the world in general seem to be turned upside down. The Muse provided 6 job search tips for new grads during the pandemic summarized below.

1. Check in on Your Job Offer: You might’ve already had a job lined up, perhaps through a previous co-op or internship or via on-campus recruiting, and are likely wondering if that offer still stands. Check in first with your college career office if they were involved, and if not reach out to whoever extended the offer to you, whether that’s a recruiter, the company’s campus recruiting coordinator, or your future manager.

2. Be Flexible: “Many first-time job seekers have a vision of what they thought their first job would look like,” Williams says. That vision might still be valid but you might need to take some turns and twists to get to that end goal. You might have to consider a different role or location in the short-term.

3. Let Your Skill Set (and Demand) Be Your Guide: Instead of focusing on the job you want, Williams suggests focusing on the industries most interested in the skill set you’ve built. Think about how the skills from your college courses, past internships, summer or work-study jobs, and volunteer work can be leveraged in our current economy. Again, whatever job you get now, you can use that experience down the line to help you transition into the kind of role you originally had in mind—or you might discover another path you’re even more excited about.

4. Continue to Network: Reach out to people you already know relatively well to ask them to keep an eye out for relevant opportunities for you. Make a list of people in your network you feel comfortable approaching—such as favorite professors, internship supervisors you got along with, family members, and friends—and let them know you’re looking for a job. REACH out to APICS Greater Detroit! We are a great resource for you and can connect you to other professionals looking for talent.

Be more focused on staying connected and telling your story than on finding a job, Williams says. It may seem counterintuitive—and it may not yield job offers right away—but you’ll be getting on people’s radar and laying the groundwork to build and grow your career in the years to come.

5. Stand Out From the Crowd: “It’s easy to feel productive and send out 50 one-click applications on LinkedIn, but getting a job requires you to get clear on what you’re looking for and why you want it,” says Meghan Duffy, a career coach who graduated from college during the last recession in 2008. If you’re asking for virtual coffee chat, write a personal and well-researched email. Don’t ask to “pick someone’s brain;” pinpoint the topics you’d like to learn about, Duffy says. Being specific about what you hope to gain from these meetings and arriving prepared with thoughtful questions will help you stand out from others reaching out for advice.

6. Continue to Update Your Skills: “If you’re planning to go to graduate school in the next few years, anyway, and you can afford it, or even if you need to borrow for it, going during a recession is a good time to do it,” says Patrick Mullane, executive director of Harvard Business School Online. That’s because if you enter the workforce during a recession, your earnings could be lower for your lifetime. “You’ll likely have to start with a reduced salary, so it might be better to be in school during a down economy and enter the workforce in a better market,” he says. Even if you don’t want to invest in grad school, it’s important to keep learning and updating your skills, especially if your job search takes a bit longer.


Get Hired

The Art of Procurement shared a podcast this week on how to hire and be hired in the headwinds of the new economy. Mark Holyoake is the founder of Holyoake Search, a US East-coast based procurement recruitment firm and someone who always has his finger on the pulse of the procurement recruitment market. In this interview, Mark provides Host Philip Ideson with an honest overview of the current state of hiring, interviewing, and career building.

Marks speaks to personal branding and that job hopping is more common now and building an extended network is important. He challenges folks to consider the following questions:

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • And who is the audience?
  • What makes you you?
  • What are you long term career intentions?
  • How do you want to be perceived?

The more you share, the more you reach. Good shares that get engagement on social media should educate, inspire, provoke healthy debate . Draw on own experiences for content. Build your following, increase connections and follow industry leaders.

Additional Advice

Here some additional advice we gathered from supply chain professionals that participated in our forum this past week.

  • Get involved in a professional organization like CSCMP or APICS Greater Detroit. At APICS, we have student chapter at Eastern Michigan University and recent alum to help you during your job search. Find a mentor.
  • Keep learning! LinkedIn learning (Some are paid content, Some are offered free) including topics like logistics management, negotiation. Consider professional certifications such as APICS CPIM, CSCP or CLTD. Supply chain leaders prefer APICS certifications.

Still have questions? Fill out our contact us form.

Help us celebrate YOU! Send us your picture and a couple sentences about where you are headed in your supply chain career so we can share and celebrate with you!

Email us:

As we all are working through challenging times during the pandemic, know that APICS Greater Detroit is here to support you at every step of your career. Partnering with CSCMP in the Detroit area, we will continue to host the Supply Chain Community Connect discussion forum to share best practices and solutions to today’s top supply chain challenges. Our next call is Tuesday, May 26th. We hope you can join us as we are all in this together!

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