September 4, 2014
Disclaimer: I am not a retail recruiter. I am a professional resume writer for the retail industry. Therefore, this post is simply my opinion on how to market yourself on LinkedIn, and it's based on my years of experience as a retail hiring manager, job search consultant, employment advisor, retail resume analyst, and retail resume writer.
Every day I see group discussion posts or status updates like the following:
"I am a dynamic and multi-talented retail executive with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I am looking for an opportunity to use my unparalleled expertise in retail sales management to lead your company to unprecedented heights. Check out my profile and contact me today!"
Ads like this don't attract my attention, nor do they attract the attention of many recruiters, in my experience. Why? Because it doesn't say anything. There is no concrete information in there. Jeffrey Fox, author of Don't Send a Resume, calls it cotton candy and I agree.
Recruiters need to know certain things to establish whether you're a viable candidate or not. They may be able to find the answers in your profile (although many people don't even include it there!), but why make them search for it? It's like putting all the gold in your resume and stuffing your cover letter with fluff - or filling up the first page-and-a-half of your resume with hyperbole and leaving your employment history for the very end. If you bury the gold and leave a trail for it, they may not be inclined to follow the trail (especially when they have hundreds of other candidates vying for their attention).
At a minimum, retail recruiters want to know whether you have had the desired accountability in past positions. This includes things like:
- Job level: Did you oversee a store, district, region, or country?
- Job function: Store operations, visual, loss prevention, franchise development?
- Stores: Specialty, convenience, big-box, major department? How many under your control?
- Sales volume: Preferably in $ but company ranking can work as well (A++ volume)
- Commodities: Apparel, home improvement, cosmetics, automotive?
- Targeted area: Only available in your home city? Can you relocate?
Obviously I can't speak for all retail recruiters out there so some of these may not apply in some cases (and others may be more important) but these areas of accountability often serve as minimum qualifications for particular positions. In other words, you may be screened against criteria such as this before the recruiter considers you a potential candidate. So why not make it easy on them and highlight your past accountability in your posting? Here are a few examples:
"Big-box store manager with 10 years' experience managing $15M to $20M locations with a staff of 40-60. Experience in sporting goods, office products, and apparel. Seeking a new opportunity in BC or AB. Email firstname.lastname@example.org."
"District manager with 15 years' experience overseeing 10-14 ladies' fashion and accessory stores in prominent Southern California malls. Led a national chain in sales volume and key metrics for the past 3 years. Relocating to Seattle in July and seeking a new opportunity in women's apparel. Email email@example.com for more information."
"Regional loss prevention director with 20+ years' experience with junior department stores, major department stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants. Oversaw up to 55 locations in 9 states. Seeking a similar opportunity on the west coast. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or view profile for more information."
Professional Resume Writer, Retail Industry
Michael Howard is a professional resume writer working exclusively with store managers, district managers, regional managers, and other retail leaders from across North America. Visit retailresumes.ca for details or follow him on Twitter.