Quick Personal Branding Tip for Procurement: Make Sure to Show Category Experience!

July 12, 2016



Personal Branding

A quick post today to highlight something that Procurement professionals should keep in mind on their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and pretty much anywhere else they represent their professional experience online: Make sure to mention your category experience!

Presenting the value that you offer in your career is, for some of us, a tough proposition. We’re more content to focus on doing our jobs well than explaining what makes us good at those jobs on a LinkedIn profile or elsewhere. I already have a good job, you might think, so why do I need to focus on building my LinkedIn presence?

There are quite a few reasons, it turns out.

As recruiters, we use LinkedIn as a sourcing and networking tool. That means we use it to communicate with people in our network (Supply Chain, Procurement, Logistics, etc.), find out what makes them tick, and find out what developments are happening. It also means that we use it to find people who aren’t yet in our network. And it’s hard to find someone if their profile isn’t filled out – if, in Procurement, their profile doesn’t mention their major accomplishments, the spend they’ve overseen, and what they’ve actually purchased.

What category have you worked in? Some Procurement professionals see the value in including this information on a LinkedIn profile, but not enough of them! Have you bought raw materials or other goods for direct manufacturing? Have you bought indirect goods and services? Information Technology?  Professional Services? Marketing Services? HR? Travel?

Here’s an example of a profile that doesn’t contain this information (anonymized to protect the innocent):


The rest of this individual’s profile comes pretty close to presenting him as a solid contributor. But this profile needs more information. It needs to say what this individual has bought. These days, it’s not enough to say that you’re good at strategic sourcing. You need to show what you’ve sourced, and what the value (including cost savings but also other strategic value) of those initiatives has been for your employer. You need to include significant projects, and concrete descriptions of the value you’ve given to companies through your Procurement activities.

“But wait!” you might say. “I’m not looking for a job right now.” The fact is, there are other professional reasons to beef up your LinkedIn profile and include this information. For one, you might be looking for a job sooner than you anticipate, and doing this work now lets you hit the ground running when that time comes. 

But more importantly, think about the message that a solid, well-considered LinkedIn profile sends to a vendor you’re in negotiations with. You want to send the message that you’re a fierce negotiator with a track record of success, rather than someone who has typed in a few keywords. Companies and vendors do check social media accounts for the Procurement people they’re dealing with in these moments. Think about the message that a solid profile sends to leadership in your company when they’re considering who to promote. You owe it to yourself to look your best online, and in Procurement, talking about category expertise is key to that. logo_icon

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