With the National Retail Federation (NRF) reporting that retail inventory shrinkage increased to more than $45 billion in 2015, an increase of more than $1 billion from 2014, it is no wonder that loss prevention professionals are in high demand. To stand out in your field in today's fiercely competitive job market, there is no better online tool than LinkedIn. Here are some DIY tips for a powerful LinkedIn profile to elevate your professional status and stand out from the crowd.
Put Special Tools To Use
Networking means growing a large group of contacts who all have their own personal details. Remembering everyone's name and why they matter can be problematic. These are people you want to impress by staying in touch at the right times and for the right reasons. LinkedIn makes it easy to appear as if you are that one amazing person who always has it together. Use the Relationship feature to catalog all those little details like when you connected with someone and how you met them. You can set reminders for when you should reach out with a word of encouragement or congratulations, extend an invitation to meet for coffee or offer special occasion greetings.
Don't forget to search engine optimize all the keyed in data for your profile. Wherever possible, include language people will use in their searches as they look for professionals like you.
One other tool that is proven effective is customizing your public profile URL. Not only does it make it easier to find you but it also communicates that you pay attention to detail and are familiar with the latest technological tools. It is easy to do:
- Select "Edit Profile" at top of homepage.
- Select "Settings" icon by URL link under profile picture.
- Select "Edit" icon next to URL.
- Enter into text box custom URL ending. NOTE: It is first come, first serve. You may need a few options prepared if your first choice is unavailable.
- Click "Save"
If you prefer to include your LinkedIn URL on your resume, a more concise, memorable, and professional URL presents better than a long series of characters.
If your goal is to elevate your professional visibility online, consider sharing your expertise and experience.
Your profile is the perfect place to publish articles or thoughts on the industry. This is a tool for publicly flexing your muscles on what you know. It is an opportunity to introduce innovative ideas for solving current problems. Take the lead as a skilled problem solver and LP professional who understands the challenges of today by posting an interesting article, thought, or solution.
Attention Grabbing Headline
Don't just use your job title. This is the first opportunity to grab the attention of talent seekers who are browsing profiles or professional peers in order to grow their network. Keep it concise (120 characters) yet intriguing. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow:
- Avoid juvenile style descriptors. Example: John Doe, Super Sleuth LP Investigator.
- Embrace clarity but expand on your job title. Example: John Doe, Regional LP Manager, Pacific NW, Specialty Retail.
- If you've got it, flaunt it. If you have an impressive degree, certification or business affiliation, flaunt it. Example: John Doe, LPC, Director LP Investigations - XYZ Company.
- Highlight achievement only. Do not include any job seeking intent which could diminish the impact of an initial power statement of your accomplishments.
Your headline is the introduction and first impression. It serves four basic purposes:
- What: Introduces what you are.
- Who: Explains who you help.
- How: Describes how you improve a workplace.
- Proves: Sharing credentials proves your capabilities.
Who Are You?
LinkedIn provides professionals with the perfect opportunity to define themselves. This is a chance to display your qualifications and also include pertinent personal details that will set you apart from everyone else. A short, descriptive Summary increases network opportunities with other business professionals by nearly 70%. Some tips:
- Focus on how you can help an organization - the value you can provide.
- Capture attention with a strong intro, then tell your story and weave in achievements.
- Make it readable with good use of white space, bullet points, and design elements. Break up your paragraphs so they are easy to read.
- Bring your accomplishments, skills, certifications, and memberships "above the fold" and include them in your Summary section to increase visibility.
Sharing credentials, education, work history and experience is relatively straightforward. Including pertinent personal information can be tricky. There is a fine line between remaining professional and seeming inappropriate. The key is to keep it relevant to your profession such as a personal experience that inspired you to pursue your career field.
A note on your Summary section: Use the first sentence in your summary to state your "value proposition." A concise statement that captures the unique benefits you bring to the table that will help an organization better than anyone else. This statement engages the reader and encourages them to continue to learn more about you. Also, the mobile version of LinkedIn displays the first sentence or so of text just under your photo and headline. Make it powerful.
Skip the selfie and choose a professional photo. Statistics reflect that the right profile picture can generate the following benefits:
- 40% InMail response rate.
- 11 times more likely to be viewed.
Background Photos Matter
To enjoy the same InMail response rate benefit as a professional picture, add a background photo. The best LinkedIn background photos are related to the corresponding industry. For a loss prevention professional, images related to the LP industry or a graphic featuring inspirational language or a motivational quote are completely appropriate. Or, use that real estate to create a custom graphic that highlights your credentials, memberships, or value proposition statement.
The LinkedIn Advantage
Once an incredible profile has been created and you are familiar with all the tools that enhance the benefits of this service, be active. Every day about 40% of LinkedIn users are active. It takes consistency to reach them. On average it takes 20 posts monthly to reach 60% of your personal LinkedIn audience. LinkedIn is just one more tool a loss prevention professional can use to elevate their influence, impress hiring managers, and grow in professional stature within their industry.
For more information on how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile, click here.