I am trying to transition into a career in print buying. Can you offer some advice?
Answered by Suzanne Morgan

I have been a press operator for ten years. I recently took a part-time position as a print consultant and have become very interested in expanding my career into print buying. Even though I’ve been interested in pursuing this for quite some time, I’m having difficulty breaking into this field full-time. I have submitted my resume for several opportunities, but have yet to get an interview. I have extensive knowledge in the printing industry which I feel would be beneficial to a company that buys printing. Can you offer some advice?

Individuals that have worked on "the other side" often make excellent print buyers. Former sales reps, CSRs, press operators, etc. often have the following:

  • have worked in an environment of constant pressure to meet and beat deadlines. Being able to work in this type of environment is very important for print buyers.

  • understand terminology, processes, and problem solving – even if it’s just from a production point of view.

  • often can offer a prospective employer options that they’ve learned from working on the other side. The experience of working with many different print buying companies can be immensely helpful to a prospective employer.

    If you feel that you can offer some of the benefits listed above, then state your case clearly and succinctly. Don’t expect a prospective employer – particularly if the person doing the hiring has not bought printing him or herself – to make the mental leap that you could be an important asset. Spell out how you can make a difference to the organization.

    Be specific about what you can do for their organization. Employers are impressed with specifics, such as how you might save money or reduce the project cycle time for their organization. If you can give examples of how you’ve done this in the past, be sure to mention this upfront.

    Let them know that you understand their pain. Briefly mention the challenges that buying organizations face today and how you might be able to help them meet those challenges.

    Offer a test run. If you are in the position to do so, offer a prospective employer a trial run of your services by working for them for say a day or a week with no obligation to hire you.

    Demonstrate your dedication to print buying. Let them know that you are a member of Print Buyers Online.com (or a print production club, etc.) and actively follow print buyer trends, challenges, and education. While being a member of Print Buyers Online.com doesn’t necessarily make you an expert, it does indicate your interest in both print buying and self-education.

    Make your case early. To increase your chances of getting an interview, be sure to include the benefits above, if they apply to you, in a cover letter with your resume.

    I hope this helps.
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