Job Profile: Buying


Back to Career Map home

All organisations undertake purchasing activities in some capacity. Smart purchasing can positively impact a business by reducing costs, and investment in quality products or services.

Keep reading to find out what responsibilities are typically included in purchasing roles, along with advice for your job hunt.

If you’re searching for opportunities in purchasing, make sure you search for purchasing roles available in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, or send us your CV.


Our Career Map profile for sales jobs includes:


Responsibilities typically included in a purchasing job:

  • You will be responsible for selecting new products and services, whilst also reviewing existing purchases or contracts.
  • Researching and sourcing suppliers, which would typically involve a tender process to evaluate potential suppliers.
  • Monitoring supplier performance to ensure the best value. This can involve cost reviews, forecasting future needs, budgeting, and agreeing KPIs (key performance indicators) with suppliers.
  • Price and service level negotiation, and creating detailed contract documents.


Desirable skills for purchasing roles

When recruiters search for ideal purchasing candidates, they’re looking for:

  • Analytical skills: the ability to assess data and produce reports.
  • Strong negotiators: you’ll need to be commercially astute.
  • Excellent attention to detail: able to review and write contracts.
  • Numeracy skills: candidates will need to be great at cost analysis and budgeting.


What kind of person suits a purchasing job?

  • Persuasive and tenacious.
  • Methodical and detail conscious.
  • Effective communicator.


What career development opportunities are there for purchasing professionals?

  • Purchasing functions can range from a standalone role within a small business to purchasing teams or departments in larger organisations.
  • Purchasing support staff will predominantly deal with associated administration. Progression through to analyst (for those who enjoy data crunching) or buyers potentially looking after a small number of suppliers in a specific field initially.
  • Progression into a management role would include responsibility for decision making and making recommendation to business leaders.
  • An industry specific qualification from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply could make you stand out from other candidates. The qualifications start at certificate level, through to diploma to qualification and fellowship status.


Where could you be working in a purchasing job?

Any organisation – large, small, private or public sector – and any industry employs individuals who look after purchasing or buying. In smaller businesses, these individuals may take on other tasks too, with larger businesses employing staff to manage purchasing as a full-time role.


Traditionally, purchasing is based in a businesses head office with some travel to meet suppliers or visit other site offices.


Purchasing jobs can also be titled:

  • Procurement specialist
  • Buyer
  • Materials planner
  • Sourcing manager
  • Pricing analyst
  • Contracts administrator
  • Cost controller


Three top tips for a purchasing job application:

  1. Be ready to highlight specific projects you have worked on. Were they on time and on budget? What cost saving was achieved, and how did you manage this?
  2. Demonstrate negotiating skills. Purchasing activities have a direct impact on profitability.
  3. Check and double check your application to ensure it is 100% accurate with no errors, this will reflect your strong attention to detail. Supply contracts are often long, complex documents that must be read and understood thoroughly before a supply agreement is entered into.


Our latest buying jobs