Marketing Yourself in Any Economy

O’Leary is the principal of Loss Prevention Recruiters a leading national Retail Loss Prevention Recruiting Solutions Provider. He is a former Loss Prevention Executive who has provided Loss Prevention Career Advice for over 20 years and can be reached at 440-210-1867 or chriso@lprecruiters.com.

Published in LP Magazine May/June 2009

There is so much information out there on the subject of marketing yourself that it probably would rival books on golfing but with a well thought out game plan you will put yourself in a better position to pursue and obtain that new career challenge.

Education is a key factor and will make a difference when competing with other candidates.  I recently conducted a study of over 1,200 executives in our industry today and found that almost 60% lacked college degrees. What that tells me is that you just increased your odds dramatically that your resume will be seriously reviewed among the hundreds and hundreds of resumes that end up being submitted online for the same position by having a degree and experience. Some companies will simply not hire you today without a degree. Certainly those without degrees feel that their experience should override the lack of one but consider where you could or might be if you had both. There will always be a great demand for quality executives in our industry and that will never change. Having a degree will make a difference and will be the standard, so don’t get left behind!

Industry specific certifications will also increase your marketability. The Loss Prevention Foundation’s LPQ and LPC certifications are leading our industry by providing relevant and challenging educational resources. Certified Forensic Interviewer or CFI represents the elite interviewers in our industry as well as the industry standard Wicklander-Zulawski Interviewing & Interrogation training programs available to you.

Your resume speaks volumes about who you are and should be limited to 2 pages. It should be more about accomplishments and less narrative pontificating. People do not have time to read resumes so make it easy to read and to the point to generate interest and more importantly an interview.

Most interviewers will ask you “so why are you looking?” Unfortunately these decisions are sometimes made for us with cuts and realignments but generally speaking, you really need to ask yourself “is this really the right career move and is it the right time for me personally to consider making a move?” Participating in a job search process to simply see what they have to offer is wasting everyone’s time and if you take this approach it is highly unlikely that you will make it through the process. Only pursue an opportunity for the right reasons and only if you are serious. If you take a dysfunctional approach to your job search then you will get dysfunctional results.

Promotional or career advancement opportunities have no time line, so when that career opportunity knocks on your door you should give it serious consideration. Every move that you make in your career is an investment and the next building block to help you reach your ultimate career goal. If it makes sense then you should investigate it further for your career and for your family.

Loyalty to your current employer is admirable and each person needs to approach this in their own way, however loyalties should not interfere with your career.  I have heard way too many “blind” loyalty stories over the years and regrets about not considering career opportunities to think otherwise. The real question is “does this opportunity truly help your career and does it make sense?” Most leaders in our industry will be happy for your success and actually see it as a compliment not only to their leadership skills, but also as a win for their organization and their department’s success at developing another executive for our industry. Success breeds success and it becomes a domino effect, as your success will create opportunity for someone else to move up and their replacement as well and so on.

When you get that call to interview prepare like it is a final exam because it is! Each step in the process could be your last so it is imperative to maintain your focus and drive throughout the entire process. Do your homework. You should know everything there is to know about the new company. Visit some of their stores and engage with their management and employees to get a sense for their LP culture or perhaps the lack there of. It is common practice to review opportunities with your peers or someone who previously worked in the company you are looking at however, are you really getting accurate information and unbiased opinions? A word of caution, the more people you involve the more you increase the odds of someone breaching the confidentiality of your search. You can make your own determination after going through the interviewing process. Remember, this is not only about whether are you right for the new company but are they right for you.

During your interview you should be prepared to talk about all of the key contributions you have made to the companies and programs you have worked in. Be specific because results are what matter the most. And finally it is critical to be yourself and to connect with the interviewer as a person, if you do not chances are that you will not be the “final” candidate.

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