LinkedIn Profiles are the New Resume, So Make Yours Count

January 15, 2015

personal brand

Argentus is exclusively focused on the supply chain management field. It’s a very niche vertical that’s in high demand for employers in all industries across the globe. Companies are constantly on the hunt for top talent to make them more competitive. For example, every day we review profiles and work directly with candidates in procurement, strategic sourcing, supply chain, planning and change management.

Our recruitment specialists’ long-term goal is to match individuals with the perfect new career situation. For the short term and in a consultative capacity, we help people with their personal branding – whether it’s helping them refine resumes, prepare a better, more comprehensive LinkedIn profile, brush up on interview skills, or identify their career goals and trajectories. For us, recruitment is about investment: we are interested in following people’s careers, building networks and relationships, and improving our candidates’ branding and presentation skills. Doing so helps us and them, because it raises the quality of professionals we present to our clients.

A real pain point for recruiters, particularly when vetting professionals in procurement, is how they package themselves on LinkedIn. It is consistently a branding touchstone with a lot of room for improvement. On a daily basis, our recruiters come across profiles that look a lot like this (below left), with company information redacted to protect the innocent:

screenshot fill out your profile blog

So what’s going on here? The individual in question has gone to the effort of making a LinkedIn profile, uploading a picture, including a list of roles, etc. – but hasn’t taken the next step of actually saying what he or she has done in those roles. What categories have they worked in? What metrics do they use to quantify their career trajectory and accomplishments (spend, cost savings, etc.)? Have they directly managed anyone?

This person could be a great candidate with increasing responsibility over the course of their procurement career so far, but as recruiters, we have no way of knowing based on the information shared above. Which brings us to the next important consideration: why do you have a LinkedIn profile, anyway?

LinkedIn has been around long enough now that most people have some sense that it’s something they should have; it’s the world’s official social network for professionals. Maybe you’ve heard it’s excellent for networking, or a useful tool in the job search, or an ideal platform to brand your expertise and advance your career.

All these things are true. And all of these benefits may lead you to create a LinkedIn profile by half measures, omitting the specifics of your work experience. In our opinion, it’s better to have no LinkedIn profile at all than to have one that doesn’t really say anything about you. If you’re going to have a LinkedIn profile, which is increasingly replacing the traditional resume (and going beyond, in terms of its importance to your career), you must flesh it out. Why? Here’s one scenario: you apply for a job. The hiring manager likes what they see on your resume, and they look you up on LinkedIn and see that your profile is incomplete or, worse, presents conflicting information. Such scenarios could torpedo your candidacy for a job.

“Okay, okay,” you’re saying, “I’ll do it when I’m actively looking. What’s the point of writing a detailed LinkedIn profile if you’re happy in your current role?” However, there are tons of other common professional situations where having a detailed, up-to-date LinkedIn profile can make a difference.

linkedin superman shirt

To be clear: LinkedIn is not mandatory for every individual, in procurement or otherwise. It’s a social network among many, even if it does happen to be the one where most recruiters, hiring managers, stakeholders, and C-suite executives are active. The important takeaway is this, though: if you are going to have a LinkedIn profile, don’t just go through the motions, avoiding specifics: fill it in! And if you are working in the procurement field, consider these questions a guideline for what the kind of information your LinkedIn profile should provide:

What categories do you work in or are you looking to work in?

What other metrics do you have to show your expertise? What’s your spend?

What achievements or major initiatives can you share from your career thus far?

Do you have people management experience?

Particularly in procurement where professionals are often trying to achieve buy-in on their initiatives, internal stakeholders will be looking at your LinkedIn profile to see what kind of projects you’ve managed in the past. Vendors will want to know more about you and will look up your profile. And the C-suite could even be identifying individuals to fast-track within the organization. They’re not going to talk to human resources first; they’re going to view your profile on LinkedIn. If your profile doesn’t actually say what you do, there’s a strong chance you may even miss out on fruitful opportunities for collaboration with your colleagues in procurement as well.

It’s time to see LinkedIn not as something you hastily update before the job hunt, but instead as a resource to showcase your value to any professional connection. Filling in the gaps is a small time investment up front, but worthwhile in the long run. It’s good to include keywords to attract recruiters, but there are many other professionally relevant individuals who will be viewing your LinkedIn profile as well. So embrace the details, keep it professional, and make it your own.

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