Linkedin profile tips for Supply Chain professionals

10 August 2020

There are literally hundreds or maybe thousands of Linkedin profile writing articles out there with excellent pointers for optimising your profile and building your network, however most of these articles are geared towards any kind of Linkedin user and not a specific industry vertical.

This article explores specific tips to help Supply Chain and Procurement practitioners write a really strong profile that showcases your talent and ensures your profile ranks well in searches when employers and head hunters are looking for candidates matching your ideal job.

Having worked in executive supply chain recruitment for 15 years and having built a Supply Chain & Procurement career site that ranked number 1 in Google for a variety of top search terms, I understand how important it is to develop and organise your profile to capture the attention of the people who really matter. Think of the process in terms of developing a mini website that you need to optimise to be picked up by search engines for target keywords and search terms. By following these steps you can really optimise your profile to unlock the best career opportunities in the hidden job market:

  1. Professional Headline

 

This should be the easiest part of your profile to complete and is really a few words to describe what you are e.g. Executive FMCG Supply Chain Director, Head of Procurement II MBA qualified or Supply Chain Planner. Avoid lengthy descriptions and keep in mind what your desired role title will ultimately be.

 

  1. Summary

Arguably the most important part of your profile, providing the opportunity to include a range of powerful keywords to increase your ranking within search results. Think of this section as an overview of your professional experience to date showcasing your capabilities.

Executive leaders may use this area an as opportunity to really promote the scale and breadth of responsibility of their professional experience. Let’s take headcount as an example, you could use this section to promote the size of teams, departments and operations you have led:

“Experienced FMCG logistics operations leader with a proven track record in driving change and performance improvement in sites of up to 500 employees”.

In one sentence you have provided an overview of your specific industry background, an idea of scope of responsibility and a number of powerful keywords.

Procurement practitioners may showcase the size of spend across key categories under the scope of their control:

“MBA qualified procurement leader from the banking and finance sector with experience of managing an ICT spend of up to $1billion and strategic sourcing teams of up to 20 indirect reports”.

Bullet points are a great way of listing areas of experience and responsibility whilst enhancing the presentation of your professional summary.

You can use bullet points to describe the types of industry sectors you have worked across, MRP systems you have worked with or even headline your key achievements. Procurement professionals may wish to list the spend categories they have managed.

When compiling your summary stay focussed on your next career step and bare this in mind when optimising your powerful keywords and promoting your experience to date. For instance, supply chain leaders looking to move into general management or business unit leadership should really focus on core competencies and demonstrating versatility in driving successful outcomes whilst working with a variety of stakeholder groups. This is when P&L responsibility, commercial acumen and achievements around overall business performance should really come to the fore.

Professionals looking to make their next step into a managerial role should outline project management, cross functional team leadership and supervisory experience in the summary section.

Take time to research job descriptions for your ideal next role… what are the key core competencies, technical skills and attributes they are looking for? Do you notice common keywords standing out? Make sure your profile is sprinkled with these keywords to achieve a higher ranking in search results.

Optimum Linkedin summaries are around 3-5 paragraphs in length and cover off your core competencies, unique qualifications and walk the reader through the industries you have worked in over the years.

 

  1. Listing career experience

 

How much to include in each role summary?

 

Remember to focus on scope – areas of responsibility, number of direct and indirect reports, departments under your control. For non-managerial candidates such as planners, coordinators, analysts etc. think about things such as number of products, fleet size, systems you work with etc.

An important note for professionals with current job titles that include abbreviations (e.g. S&OP/IBP) – ensure you write the full words for your job title to ensure you appear more frequently in searches. For instance, rather than writing GM SC or SC Dir, use the full job titles General Manager Supply Chain and Supply Chain Director.

 

For example: Demand Planning for the cosmetic beauty portfolio of 220 products using SAP APO.

 

For procurement professionals, focus on outlining the categories under your control, size of spend and ultimately any outstanding achievements in each role. Treat your profile like your resume to outline your key responsibilities and biggest achievement in each role. Remember… numbers add credibility – be sure to include quantifiable achievements such as dollar value or percentage point cost savings,

 

How far to go back in your career?

 

Good question! The easy answer is whatever you feel is relevant, however do consider that most prospective employers will be considering your most recent experience when benchmarking you for a prospective role so whilst you may wish to list a position from 20 years ago, the benefit of writing a summary of responsibilities for that particular position is negligible and may lengthen your profile unnecessarily.  Really focus on detailing roles and responsibilities you have held for the past 10 years and then you may choose to simply list past job titles and companies prior to that. This is still an important exercise to undertake as many recruiter searches not only involve specific job titles but also target key companies and you will increase your chances of appearing high in search results.

 

Another important reason for listing all of your experience is that employers and recruiters are able to search by “Years of experience” and therefore if you only have your most recent role on your profile yet you have 15+ years professional experience then you will not appear if the search criteria is set to a minimum of 15 years.

 

What if I am currently unemployed?

 

If you are currently unemployed it is still essential for you to create a position following your most recent role with your desired job title and a description that outlines the fact that you are currently in career transition and seeking new opportunities. This is vitally important since many employers and recruiters search by Current job title and if you expire your previous role on the month that you left the company and do not have a current position listed then you will not appear in search results with the Current job title populated.

 

 

  1. Profile presentation

A great aspect of Linkedin is the ability to view how “complete” your profile is. You will receive regular notifications inviting you to complete your profile if certain elements are missing. Be sure to include a recent photo – for tips on selecting the best photo click here.

Linkedin makes it easy for users to upload media to their profile which can really enhance the overall look and feel. If you have presented at an industry event or written a presentation (that isn’t confidential!) then why not showcase your talents through adding this to your profile – embedded videos, slideshare presentations and most types of document types are generally supported.

  1. Recommendations and Skills Endorsements

 

A great way to build profile credibility is to request written recommendations from other colleagues in your network. This takes the form of a statement from the other party around your capability and persona. If you do request a recommendation, be sure to ask the other party to provide context around when they worked with you and in what capacity.

 

Another feature on Linkedin is skills endorsements, whereby you select a number of skills you feel you excel in and other members of your network endorse you for these skills. You can order the skills by order of relevance for the strengths you want to be known for. Linkedin will then prioritise endorsers for the skills you have advertised. These skills help you to rank highly in both job searches and also job applicant lists.

 

Linkedin Premium users are able to view how their listed skills meet the requirements of the role (skills are set by the advertiser in Linkedin). You can also access competitive intelligence around how you rank versus other applicants based on your Linkedin profile (Skills, Current Role, Past Experience).

 

  1. Be seen!

Once your profile is created, you should now start to think about growing your network through building connections and joining relevant industry groups. The more connections you establish and more groups you join (maximum 50 main groups), the more visible your profile becomes to the broader network.

It goes without saying that you can enhance your visibility and reputation further by sharing information with your network and contributing to group discussions.

Don’t be afraid to voice your professional opinion on hot topics or key news for your profession. Your professional brand is much more than simply your Linkedin profile and resume…. The content you share gives your audience an insight into what drives you, your passions, ethics and more importantly the person behind the profile.

  1. Linkedin Premium Features

Linkedin basic is a free service to create your profile, join groups, interact with connections, research companies and share content. The free of charge service is significantly comprehensive however by upgrading to Linkedin Career Premium you can access salary insights, job insights (number of applicants, where they are based and how you compare to the competition) and also you get access to 3 inmails per month which allows you to contact people outside of your network directly. You also get access to Linkedin Learning – a hub with on-demand video courses taught by industry experts.

A free trial is offered for Linkedin Career Premium which is a great way for you to ascertain if it is worth subscribing on a monthly basis.

To find out we can help you to build an amazing Linkedin profile book a free consultation here!