Every time you put yourself out there in a public space, you’re engaging in a marketing opportunity. What are you saying about yourself? How is your personal brand being perceived by others? How can you up your game? The best place to start in your path for personal career branding success is to focus on relationships and knowledge.
A Resume Secret For Personal Branding
Industry blog Loss Prevention Innovations, reveals a skill demand that is often extremely difficult to communicate through a resume:
"The ability to form true and trusted relationships."
How can a loss prevention professional create a resume that conveys trustworthiness and the ability to build strong relationships? This is not a result that can be measured. There is no certificate of achievement to prove you possess these traits.
Career website, Monster, suggests honesty is the best policy to begin with. That includes telling the truth about the good, the bad and the ugly. Openness is required about all aspects of job history. For example, don't lie about a gap in work history to dodge the topic, even if the truth isn't pretty.
The key is to instead change your approach and present the information in a way that allows you to focus on the positive lessons, skills, or opportunities that the circumstance led to or provided you. Doing so creates an opportunity for a talent seeker to see your character, perseverance, determination, and what transferable skills or experience you obtained during the gap. Adjusting your mindset and having a willingness to be honest, especially about something that creates vulnerability, will say a lot about your integrity.
When it comes to possessing the ability to build true and trusted relationships, perhaps the biggest tell on a resume is a history of development and involvement. Investing time into your professional development and maintaining relationships with industry professionals when no compensation benefit comes into play, indicates a genuine interest in success and displays the ability to build healthy professional relationships.
Personal Branding Through Professional Social Media
Online social networking takes an ongoing effort. Experts at LinkedIn encourage joining groups for the benefits they offer: peer learning, guidance from industry experts, and network expansion. Relative to the topic of personal branding in particular, it helps loss prevention professionals further define themselves as a valuable resource.
Group participation shows a willingness for a professional to remain current as well as to continue to grow their professional knowledge and expertise. The top LinkedIn profiles of Loss Prevention professionals have many things in common. In particular are the groups they join and network through.
- The Loss Prevention Foundation: Managed by a foundation well known to be a global leader in the education of loss prevention professionals. By joining you will be networking with industry professionals, thought leaders, professors, and students. In addition to topics that will further professional development, this private group also includes a more personal flavor with posts.
- NRF Retail Loss Prevention Professionals: This private group is a forum that enables members to stay abreast of current trends in the industry. Discussion groups strictly limit content to exclude irrelevant material. The upside is that engagement is not a waste of time, requiring users to filter through discussions unrelated to the industry.
- Loss Prevention Professionals - McAfee Institute: This group is directly owned by Joshua McAfee, founder and CEO of McAfee Institute. The group enables contacts to directly share expertise, post job opportunities and promotional content. Many members may have cross-membership with NRF.
Career Development To Strengthen Your Brand
To exemplify a commitment to excellence, it is important to take formal education to the next level. For the loss prevention professional that means specialized industry related training with organizations like the Loss Prevention Foundation, Loss Prevention Academy, Wicklander-Zulawski Academy, or McAfee Institute among others.
Through exceptional distance-learning opportunities such as these, LP professionals can expand their knowledge and fine tune skills with the most relevant and current technology and techniques.
With online education and certification programs developed by experienced industry professionals, it has never been more convenient to strengthen the impact of your brand by continuing to grow professionally.
Sell Your Brand
An important component of personal branding is how you sell yourself in person. You, after all, are the total package. Marketing contributors to Forbes magazine offer this advice when it comes to the very serious and personal business of branding and selling yourself:
- Mind Power: If you haven't convinced yourself of your superhero status as a loss prevention professional, chances are you won't be able to convince anyone else. Do what it takes to strengthen your confidence: continue your education, develop new skills, step forward to meet new people, dress to impress, etc.
- Stand Out: Don't hide your light under a bushel. Boldly put yourself forward as a thought leader and express your career focus. This can be demonstrated by sharing your experiences, insights, and opinions on various social media and industry platforms, continuing to develop skills through learning opportunities, consistently honing talents, and remaining current on the latest industry developments.
- Be Relevant Without Being Boring: Knowledge is important but don't bore everyone with your expertise. Prepare a dynamic elevator pitch and quality of style that holds the interest of those who are listening. If you're crafting an elevator pitch to assist in landing a loss prevention job, consider the following:
1. Identify your target: Clearly identify and define the type of position you’re pursuing. When you can put your own career goals into words, it’s easier for someone else to understand and help identify opportunities to assist you.
2. Organize your thoughts: Your resume is a great tool for organizing content for your elevator pitch. If you’ve written it properly, it should capture the unique value you can bring to an organization, and highlight achievements and accomplishments which can be used as substance for your pitch. Your goal here is to organize your over-arching skills and most impactful achievements or results. If you have very little work experience in the loss prevention industry, focus on identifying transferable skills or results that were obtained in other areas such as continuing education or previous work experience.
3. Convey your unique value proposition: While it's easy to get lost in talking about ourselves and what we need or want, try to focus instead on what you can do for an employer. What problems can you solve for them? What makes you a great candidate? How would they benefit from hiring you? Speak their language and leverage your transferable skills or achievements / accomplishments to explain, but always keep the focus on how you can add value to help them.
4. Condense: Once you’ve identified the content you’re going to include in your pitch, the goal is to condense the information into a statement that takes between 15-30 seconds to deliver.
5. Go easy on industry jargon: Not every person you come into contact with during networking opportunities or the recruiting process will be familiar with the industry terms or abbreviations used. Keep your pitch easy to understand.
6. Practice makes perfect: Stand in front of the mirror and rehearse until your pitch is flawless. Delivery hiccups will ruin your momentum. Deliver it to a mentor for feedback. Practice your pitch at the next networking opportunity such as a conference or seminar, or perhaps find an opportunity to deliver it to someone at your next school or company function.
Stay honest. Keep it positive. Continuously grow in knowledge. Remain current. Expand your network. Be bold, not boring.