How this 22-year-old went from bagging groceries to a Supply Chain Analyst role during COVID

When my client, Jane, sent me a message on LinkedIn inquiring about my services, I wasn't sure if I should take her on.


She had graduated with a psychology degree twelve months earlier and was working as a cashier at a grocery store. She told me she was frustrated with her inability to land any office job, even administrative roles. She wasn't interested in graduate school as psychology was a major she chose on a whim.


I knew exactly what had to be done, but in order to take on this challenge, she'd have to commit to trusting me completely and executing her part of the plan. My motivated clients are the easiest to coach, it's unmotivated few, the ones who don't follow through that keep me up at night.


Once it was clear she was in this to win, it was time to get to work.

I quickly zeroed on in Business/HR/Operations as my target industry and before long, I found a Supply Chain Analyst opening at a publicly-traded company with revenues of $14 billion+ per year.


Job Requirement: 2+ years of Supply Chain experience, Supply Chain Degree, Working knowledge of the 7-Step Sourcing Process & Microsoft Office.


Clients Experience: None.


The Challenge: making the recruiter want to interview a psychology major with no supply chain education, experience or even corporate experience & 4+ years working in fast food & grocery stores.


Solution: transform her into something resembling the candidate they're looking for, and sprinkle a lot of dedication & reliability.


Resume

Her current experience just wasn't attractive enough for this role, thus I had to give her new experience.


First, she had to learn the 7-Step Sourcing Process, whatever the heck that was. So I had her studying that on the internet.


Secondly, I found a Supply Chains Management Specialization offered by Rutgers University on Coursera and had her enroll too. She would need to complete two courses so we can have something to put on the resume. But not the whole course, just in case the plan didn't work.


Lastly, she'd have to gain Excel beginner-intermediate level skills on YouTube in time for a potential interview.


Now the top of her resume was able to look like the picture below. If she was going to be competing against candidates with actual Supply Chain degrees, then she needed the phrase "Supply Chain" in her resume as well to stand a chance.

The rest of the resume displayed her experience, where I tried my best to draw a correlation between Cashier and Supply Chain Analyst. The resume alone was not going to be enough, therefore it needed to be supplemented with a really good cover letter.


Cover Letter

I usually advocate for a first paragraph that hooks the reader, thus I made a moderate attempt at appealing to the recruiters' sense of company pride by acknowledging the products made by her company and my client's relationship to it. This created a familiarity that I believe would be beneficial to my client.

The rest of the letter reiterated her interest and then closed strongly. Read more about how to write a great cover letter here or download my template with 4 original samples here.


Interview

She got contacted for a phone interview and completed the third course, Supply Chain Planning, in time for the interview to demonstrate continued progress. She was able to talk about all the things she had learned in three courses. The interviewer must have been impressed because she was scheduled for a final interview shortly after.


Agonizingly, she was able to complete the remaining two courses and earned her Coursera specialization in time for the final interview and made sure to share that information with the interviewers. I actually had her email the certificate to her interviewers before the interview.


Offer

She got a job offer one day after her final interview.


The recruiter would eventually admit the Coursera Specialization and unusually written cover letter made the difference for the initial interview. While her continued progress with courses plus interview performance convinced them to take a chance on her. The Coursera course cost $49.


Ultimately, my client went from 12/hr to $56,000/year. Suffice it to say, we accepted the job offer with no thought to counter. :)

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