Yeah, it’s never late, but if you don’t have a mentor or mentors, definitely look for one. It shouldn’t be again, like checking the box, right? There is no formula, but this is my own formula. At least should be a level or two up. And ideally, if you are early in your career, maybe in the same organization, like for instance, supply chain, if I missed transportation, maybe I should pick someone for transportation, but if you are at the management or leadership level, definitely then look for other opportunities within the supply chain or maybe merchandising, maybe store
operations, maybe HR. And then this mentor ideally should know you, because let’s say someone asks me to mentor them. Should be someone you trust and you at least have a basic relationship.
If you are new to your company, you don’t know anyone, right? Ask your manager, ask your leader who the best person or the best people would be for yourself. I mentor people and I am still a mentee as well. When I was mentoring people, like they were my mentees, right? The relationship is mutual. So if I was having a bad day, which happens rarely, but it does, they were trying to motivate me. They were trying to engage me. So as the mentee, you can also help your mentor. People are super busy, but there are people who want to help you grow.
We usually don’t talk about it, but I want to also mention sponsors. They are different. Have sponsors as well because when the doors are closed, when you are not in the room, when there’s a promotional opportunity, the person will speak on your behalf. So try to also get some sponsors at the executive level, so that they can speak on your behalf. That is also very important.
You talked about LinkedIn. When I was teaching, some of my students didn’t have any presence on LinkedIn and I’m like, no, you definitely need to do that. So I helped them with their CVs, LinkedIn profiles, things of that nature. Things have changed drastically, so we have to be very visible on LinkedIn or other pages. If I am the hiring manager, I always look at their profiles. If they don’t have a LinkedIn presence, I’m like, Hmm. Interesting. But I also look if there are any references, I read those. If this is a candidate that I’m interested in.
Well, looking ahead, what are you seeing in terms of how careers are evolving, whether it be hard skills. What do you see in the future?
A lot is going to change. And it’s already changing in supply chain. And that definitely impacts the careers in supply chain. For instance, we talked about COVID right. That insane disruption in our lives, in the supply chain, definitely changed the way we shop. I love going to the stores and spend some time. That’s not the case anymore. I tried to order online. I expect that to be delivered to my home based on my expectations. There will be a lot of positions in supply chain and I already see them, even at Lowes being posted, like the e-commerce manager, e-commerce project manager market delivery manager. So those areas will be super hot in the near future. In addition to the core factions in supply chain, Also like automation, robotics, like analytics. It used to be called operations analysts when I was in college. Now it’s called like the data scientists.
So those positions, it’s getting better. We have a lot of unstructured data in supply chain, like end to end supply chain. So now, companies are hiring for those resources that has advanced skills in statistics, like data scientists. Well, we can consume that data and help provide actionable insights, right? So there will be a lot of technical positions and also, the typical supply chain careers because of this advancement in technology, in analytics, we’ll be expected to learn and know about those topics. So my recommendation is, if you are in college and thinking of being a supply chain professional, take those courses. I’m pretty sure most of the schools are offering them now. And get used to how can you consume the data. How can you analyze the data? If you will be in distribution, robotics, automation, even like schools offer those courses as well. So take those courses.
Also something, I’m a minority, right? I came here as an international student,
something, I think the companies need to pay more attention and things are changing in a good way is like diversity and inclusion. We have a talent pool and because I came from that talent pool, I know many people who are super knowledgeable, competent in their positions and they were given a chance, by a company in the US in terms of sponsoring them. So if you are a supply chain company, if you are not sponsoring individuals, if you are not giving them a chance, I think you are missing out on that, especially with the technical needs in supply chain. Companies need to consider that big pool of candidates because workforce is changing. The demands of the payers are changing. So those are, I think, two, three things that I am seeing in supply chain careers.