How to Become a Buyer

Today’s society depends on a wide variety of consumer products. Buyers are highly trained purchasing professionals that buy many different types of products and goods for their employers.

What does a buyer do?

Buyers purchase many different products such as durable and nondurable goods, farm products, and services. They strive to get the best deal for their employer, which entails the highest quality products for the lowest possible prices. They take quality, prices, reliability, availability, and technical support all into consideration when choosing products and suppliers. Buyers often examine sales records, inventory levels, and order samples of products. They also keep up with the activities of their competitors and observe general economic conditions.

What kind of training does a buyer need?

Buyers usually need at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants with a college degree and related work experience. Many buyers have a bachelor degree in business, fashion merchandising, or other related field. Some aspiring buyers complete internships or begin in entry-level positions such as assistant buyers or purchasing clerks to gain practical experience. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new buyers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Training varies in length, but can last from 1 to 5 years. New buyers typically start out with experienced employers and carry out simple tasks. As they gain skills and experience they move on to more advanced responsibilities. Buyers complete regular continuing education to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with the current trends, changes, and advancements in the field. They often participate in seminars, conferences, and workshops.

What are the prospects for a career as a buyer?

Employment of buyers is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for a variety of products will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for buyers with advanced education and extensive experience. Some job openings will result from the need to replace buyers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do buyers make?

As of March 2010, buyers with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $34,831 and $48,399. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $37,448 and $51,423 (2).

A career as a buyer is an excellent choice for people with a strong interest in conducting a variety of purchasing tasks for many different types of products. Buyers must have a solid understanding of a variety of goods and services and many different purchasing techniques. Patience, determination, perseverance, and good negotiation skills are necessary characteristics. Buyers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to build and maintain relationships with a variety of professionals, suppliers, and clients. They must also have good decision making skills and the ability to effectively work under stress and pressure.

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