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Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

September 2012, Volume 27

Included in this issue...

Please note: To view this newletter in its graphic format access the PDF version (331 KB).

ISM's Certified in Supply Management™ Designation

Big opportunities are in store for people who want to build their careers and professional influence in supply management and procurement.

In November 2011, the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) unveiled the Certified in Supply Management™ (CSM™). This certification option allows a broad range of practitioners to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in supply management, regardless of whether they have a degree.

Candidates can Register Now for the CSM™ Exams through ISM. An Application for CSM™ Original Certification is also available.

"The debut of the CSM™ is a defining event for ISM because it furthers our mission to lead and serve supply management," says former ISM CEO Paul Novak, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., MCIPS. "Individuals and teams worldwide have expanded opportunities to build their professional stature and business credibility."

The CSM™ joins ISM's globally recognized Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) program to set a common standard of measurement for professionals to demonstrate mastery of supply management knowledge and skills. The CSM™ tests the same body of knowledge as the CPSM®. Eligibility for the CSM™ is dependent on a candidate's work experience and educational background, as well as successfully passing the required exam(s). Need more information? Visit the Certified in Supply Managment™ (CSM™) page at

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Your Certifications: Valuable Material for Your Résumé

By Janet Beckstrom, ACRW, MRW | ISM Résumé Reviewer |

As a professional in supply management, you're looking to give yourself the edge in today's challenging job search climate. Including certifications on your résumé is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself from the competition. Think about it ... if a hiring manager is considering two candidates with similar experience and education, but only one has earned the CPSM® or CSM™ credential, who do you think is mostly likely to be offered the job?

There are other advantages to showcasing your certifications in your résumé. For example, possessing one or more certifications may boost the starting salary you're offered. Also, your certification may compensate for having fewer years in the field than a more-experienced applicant.

Once you realize how important it is to include your certifications, you need to organize them. Should they be at the beginning of the resume or at the end? In reverse chronological, alphabetical or a different order? The answers to these questions: It all depends.

Consider the positions for which you will be applying and think about what's most important from a hiring manager's perspective. In most cases, your credentials will be one of your most valuable qualifications, so they should be presented prominently at the beginning of the résumé. Of course, if the certifications are not relevant to your target jobs, you should move them to the end of the résumé or consider not including them at all.

However, you also have to weigh the value of your certifications with respect to other content you will include on your résumé. Do you have significant accomplishments that are even more important? If so, move the certifications to a lower position. It's all about making judgments.

Once you've determined where to put them, how do you decide in what order your certifications should appear? In some cases, it may be most beneficial to list them in order of prestige from most to less important. In other cases, listing them in reverse chronological order may be more effective. Again, put yourself in a recruiter or hiring manager's shoes — what will be most impressive?

By the way, you never want to list your certifications in straight chronological order — oldest to newest — because everything else on your résumé is (or should be) in reverse-chronological order. Why? Your recent experiences are usually the most relevant and meaningful to employers.

When listing your credentials, be sure to include related certifications that you have earned or with which you are familiar. An example would be experience working in a plant adhering to ISO/TS/QS standards. These terms are valuable "keywords" that will be found in a résumé scan — whether by human eyes or by automated systems, so you want to include any and all that are relevant and accurately represent your experience.

Of course, your certifications and credentials are just one small part of a great résumé! Your education, experience, accomplishments, past employment record, specific areas of expertise and so much more are considered by employers when choosing candidates to interview and to hire. Through ISM you can get an in-depth résumé critique service for just US$25 and résumé writing services beginning at US$395. Let us assess your résumé and help you make the entire document more powerful, more effective and a better showcase for all that you have to offer — including your certifications and credentials.

Certifications demonstrate that you ...

  • Are competent in your field
  • Are committed to staying on the cutting edge of the field
  • Have completed rigorous course work and/or real-life experience
  • Have earned independent verification of your expertise

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CPSM®s Share Their Stories Of Success With the Designation

In ISM's CPSM® LinkedIn group, several supply managers recently posted their stories of success once they achieved the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®). Janell Moffat, a purchasing agent from North Carolina, had just started studying for the CPSM® and wanted some validation of her choice of credentials. She asked CPSM® group members, "I am just starting on the CPSM® path and am curious to know how getting the CPSM® has helped others in their careers?" Posted responses included being able to set new standards, becoming a resource for others and even being a factor in a new promotion. Here are some of the benefits posted in response to Moffat's question.

Deborah Gamble, CPSM — I realized several benefits from obtaining a CPSM®. The certification set a standard in my department. As a new manager, it added to my qualifications among many of my already-qualified C.P.M. peers. By possessing the certification, I was in a better position to encourage my employees to seek the same. The best part to me was the real learning that took place in studying for the exam. Despite 15 years+ of procurement experience, I still learned so much during my exam prep! My study guides are highlighted, tattered and full of sticky notes. It was such a great experience. I am now doing systems consulting, and the CPSM® certification has helped me define myself not only as a software systems expert but also as a procurement professional — one who truly can understand a purchasing department's needs. Best of luck in your preparation; it's a terrific journey.

Steve House, CPSM — I earned my CPSM® eight months ago, and it opened my eyes to the parts of supply management that I do not deal with on a daily basis and gave me many more tools in my toolbox. I have used these tools to better accomplish my job and have become a resource for others in my office. The CPSM® spoke volumes of my desire to learn all I can and be the best associate I can be for my company. It set me apart and was a factor in me being promoted at the beginning of this month to a new position. Coworkers have on many occasions spoken to me about the CPSM®, as they saw how I increased my knowledge, as well as the credibility it gives me with them and our customer base. Obtaining my CPSM® and the continued training to keep it has been a real win-win situation for me.

David Castro, CPSM, C.P.M. — I was able to utilize some of the CPSM® study materials to manage customs compliance at a new job. The CPSM® helped me land my current job. While it was not the only reason, my employer valued the certification and it was a great talking point during my interview.

These CPSM®s have proved themselves to be knowledgeable, well-rounded professionals who use up-to-date supply management practices. Not only has the certification made a difference in the careers of these CPSM®s, they have also been able to show others the benefits of getting their own credential. Are you ready to get yours?

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Veterans — CPSM® and CSM™ Exam Fees Reimbursed Under the GI Bill

Don't forget, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs reimburses for CPSM® and CSM™ Exam fees. Our exams are specifically approved for the GI Bill. The VA pays for the cost of the tests and not other fees connected with obtaining the CPSM® or CSM™ (study materials, application fees, etc.).

According to the GI Bill website, you may receive this benefit if you are eligible for:

  • The Montgomery GI Bill (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30)
  • VEAP (also called Chapter 32)
  • Dependents Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35) (DEA is a benefit for children, spouses and surviving spouses of veterans with 100 percent service-connected disability or who died in service or due to service-connected disability.)

You can receive up to US$2,000 per test (but not more than the cost of the test). There is no limit to the number of tests you can take. For more details, please visit When using the search feature, keep in mind that ISM is located in the state of Arizona.

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Which Certification Is Right for You?

With the debut of the Certified in Supply Management™ (CSM™), ISM now has several professional credentials to help you reinvent your career. How do you choose the right one for you? Here is a snapshot of ISM's three professional credentials.

Education Requirement Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent No degree requirement Associate's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent No degree requirement Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent
Experience Requirement 3 years of full-time professional supply management experience (non-clerical, non-support) 5 years full-time professional supply management experience (non-clerical, non-support) 3 years of full-time, professional supply management experience (non-clerical, non-support) with an associate's degree 5 years professional (nonclerical, nonsupport) supplier diversity or supply management experience 3 years professional (nonclerical, non-support) supplier diversity or supply management experience
Testing Requirements Pass the three CPSM® Exams or if you are a C.P.M. in good standing, pass the Bridge Exam. Pass the three CSM™ Exams or if you are a C.P.M. in good standing, pass the Bridge Exam Pass the three CSM™ Exams or if you are a C.P.M. in good standing, pass the Bridge Exam Pass the CPSD™ Exam. Also must pass Exam 1 of the CPSM® or CSM™ (this requirement is waived if the candidate holds a current C.P.M. or CPSM®.)
Recertification Requirements Recertify every three years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) Recertify every three years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) Recertify every three years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)

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Recertification Requirements

Not sure where to start when it comes time to apply for recertification? The best place to start is with the recertification application form for your credential. Easy to follow recertification forms can be found on the ISM website, and outline the documentation needed for each ISM credential. Each form includes instructions on what type of documentation you need, the recertification fee and where to submit your application.

Recertification Checklist

  • Application Fees
    Have you included the required application fee and additional fees, if any? Did you read the ethics statement and sign the application?

  • Continuing Education
    Is a copy of a transcript included? Did you include the appropriate documentation for each program/course attended?

  • Examinations (if applicable)
    Are copies of test score reports attached?

  • Document Retention
    Did you make copies of all documents submitted? ISM will not return documents sent with applications.

For answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs), visit us online at, select Certification. Email:, Write: ISM, Attn: Professional Credentials Department, P.O. Box 22160, Tempe, AZ 85285-2160, USA

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ISM's F@stLearning Series

ISM's F@stLearning is a series of short, user-friendly, independent study courses — approximately one to two hours in length. The series is designed to enhance your knowledge in a specific area of supply chain management or business.

Simply download the course (.pdf), study and take a short test online. Each course is worth 2 CEH credits.

NOTE: All F@stLearning Series courses and tests are active for one year from the date of purchase.

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Low-Cost Ways to Earn CEHs

Need to earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)? Short on funds to pay for training? Don't despair. ISM has several low-cost options to keep your CPSM®, CSM™, CPSD™, C.P.M. or A.P.P. certification current. Some are even free.

For details on CEH qualification, visit the Professional Credentials section of the ISM website or e-mail

Did you earn a new ISM Credential? It is worth 20 CEHs

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Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities
ISM Conferences
  • ISM Sustainability and Social Responsibility Conference
    November 1-2, 2012
    Manhattan Beach, CA
    Register Now

  • The 12th Annual ISM Services Conference
    December 6-7, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    Register Now

ISM Seminars

September 2012

Legal Considerations of Software Licensing and Other Technology-Related Agreements   #4553 September 13-14, 2012 Baltimore, MD
Fundamentals of Purchasing: The Building Blocks of World-Class Professionalism  #4520 September 17-19, 2012 Charlotte, NC
Driving Down Costs Through Cost/Price Analysis  #4509 September 27-28, 2012 Las Vegas, NV
Commodity Teams: Leveraging Value Across the Entire Organization  #4442 September 27-28, 2012 Chicago, IL

October 2012

Legal Negotiations  #4276 October 1-2, 2012 San Diego, CA
Performance-Based Statements of Work (SOWs): Maximize Supplier Performance  #4569 October 11-12, 2012 Nashville, TN
Administering Contracts: From Start to Finish  #4306 October 11-12, 2012 Pittsburgh, PA
Finance for the Supply Management Professional  #4516 October 17-19, 2012 Las Vegas, NV
Legal Foundations of Supply Management (formerly Legal Aspects of Supply Management: The Basics You Need to Succeed)  #4388 October 22-24, 2012 San Diego, CA
Power Negotiations: Unlock Your Powers of Influence and Persuasion  #4580 October 22-24, 2012 Denver, CO
Contracting: What All the Ts and Cs Mean (formerly Contracting Basics: What All the Ts and Cs Mean)  #4492 October 25-26, 2012 San Diego, CA
NEW Mastering Sustainability and Social Responsibility (SSR) in the Supply Chain  #4236 October 30-31, 2012 Los Angeles, CA

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