what is a buyer?

As a buyer, you might have many different responsibilities ranging from the social to the financial. Your primary duty is to purchase things, but this is a much more involved task than simply browsing catalogs and cutting checks.

If your company needs supplies, for example, you might have a fixed budget to balance against ordering policies and pre-approved vendors. You'll also need to do research to compare and contrast things like price, quality, availability, and delivery. Companies could send you to conferences or trade shows to network with vendors or stay on the cutting edge of new industry tools.

Buyers can also be responsible for purchasing products that are re-sold to consumers. If you become this kind of buyer, you'll be part of a supply chain that extends from manufacturing to marketing, and your job duties could overlap with them as well. For example, you may need to inspect products, negotiate contracts, manage inventory, or conduct market research.

Ultimately, buyers juggle a lot of different responsibilities in the workplace. It's an ideal job for people who thrive in fast-paced, ever-changing environments where no two days are alike. Another bright spot of buyer jobs is that work is available in many different industries, including retail, hospitality, agriculture, government, and manufacturing. If you become a buyer, you can utilize your skills in a variety of settings.

Would working as a buyer suit your skills in negotiation and networking? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a buyer role.

buyer jobs near you

average buyer salary

Would you like to know what a buyer earns? Where the highest salaries are paid for a buyer? Then check out this salary page and find out all about the salary of a buyer in the USA.

smiling female and male working together
smiling female and male working together

types of buyer

As a buyer, you'll work as a procurer at heart. However, you could procure for different reasons and different groups of people.

One type of buyer purchases things for their company. It might be office supplies or raw materials for construction, manufacturing, or farming. "Intangible" goods like software are often under a buyer's purview as well.

Another type of buyer purchases things as part of a supply chain that ultimately leads to customers. If you're this type of buyer, you could purchase food for a grocery store or fabrics for a warehouse that gets turned into clothing.


working as a buyer

With such varied industries and responsibilities, you want to know what it's actually like to work as a buyer on a day-to-day basis. Consider this an overview of buying jobs.


buyer skills and education

Speaking very generally, there aren't any requirements to becoming a buyer. There are no laws or regulations surrounding employment. It's possible to find buyer jobs with nothing more than a high school diploma.

In today's competitive job market, however, it helps to stand out from the crowd. You can do this by earning credentials that look great on a resume.

For starters, consider obtaining a bachelor's degree. There are many fields of study that would help you build relevant, real-world skills for buyer jobs. Here are a few good majors for buyers:

  • business
  • business administration
  • finance
  • economics
  • supply management

To boost your resume even more, consider obtaining a professional certification. You can become a Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) through the American Purchasing Society or Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) through the Next Level Purchasing Association. Other titles include Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO), and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB).

Last but not least, on-the-job training is usually provided for buyer jobs. It's very specific to the job at hand. Every company has its own budgets, standards, and policies that you'll need to learn.

skills and competencies

The core competencies of a buyer will vary between industries. A corporate buyer, for example, might need to be well-versed in office supply chains; an industrial buyer may need to know about quality control for heavy machinery.

In a more general sense, however, here are the qualities that employers look for in buyers:

  • business acumen
  • financial literacy
  • personability/social skills
  • negotiating skills
  • attention to detail
  • diligence
female working in an office
female working in an office

FAQs about working as a buyer

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about buyers.

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