Making the move from manager to director requires a strong leadership brand. For most, this starts with an updated LinkedIn profile. Your profile should tell the story of who you are and what you bring to the table as a leader. Here are the top tips from professional profile builders on how to strengthen your LinkedIn profile to prepare for that move from manager to director.
Director-Level Profile Expectations
To understand the types of updates that need to happen to your profile, it is important to first understand the expectations that most people have when they look at executive-level LinkedIn profiles.
First, most people expect to see the focus on leadership rather than on doing. This pivot from subject matter expertise to leading the subject matter experts is key. People want to know that you can manage complexity and lead change.
Second, your profile should highlight the results achieved as a leader. Results can be operational or financial in nature. These metrics reinforce the point that you are capable of leading teams successfully and delivering results.
Third, you should have a consistent leadership brand across your profile. This means defining your value proposition and interests so that you can completely fill out your profile in a way that further defines that core message. You will also want to apply those same concepts and language across all online profiles so that people see a consistent message about who you are as a leader whenever they encounter your name.
Take Your LinkedIn Profile from Manager to Director-Level
Now that you know what people look for generally when they look at executive profiles, you can start to update your LinkedIn profile to make that move from manager to director.
Use a Professional Photo
People expect a professional-looking headshot for your profile photo. Most people underestimate the importance of this image. But, studies consistently show that people are 14x more likely to engage with your profile if you have a strong profile photo.
Moreover, people need to see that you are a real person and that you present well as an executive. This means that your profile photo must look professional if you want to make the move from manager to director. So, invest in a quality headshot that captures you well.
You don't have to break the bank to get a quality image. Simply make sure that the photo is high resolution and a clear image of you. Avoid distracting backgrounds and do not use any images where people are cropped out as that will be obvious when looking at the photo.
Write a Compelling Headline
Your headline is one of the first things people will see when they visit your profile, so it’s important to make a good impression. The headline will also follow you across the platform and is one of the pieces that people see before they click on your profile, resume, etc. So, it matters!
Move away from the system defaults of your current job title and company when trying to make the move from manager to director. Instead, opt for a slogan or keyword combination that conveys a bigger punch. You have 120 characters and that gives a lot of room to convey the important details. Make the most of them all!
Use Keywords Strategically
Throughout your profile, be sure to include relevant keywords that will help you appear in search results for the roles you’re interested in. As noted above, this means making the intentional shift away from do-er to leader.
Also, make sure that you are putting the right keywords across your profile if you want to make the move from manager to director. This means incorporating the keywords in the Headline, About, Professional Experience, and Skills sections.
Keep these keywords on brand with what you want to do as a director. That means that they should be consistent with your industry and how you will communicate about yourself in the job interviews.
Create a Strong Elevator Pitch
The summary section, or about, is an important piece of real estate on your LinkedIn profile. Most people will drop off your profile after this section. So, you need to use the section to convey a complete elevator pitch about who you are and what you do if you want to make the move from manager to director.
The summary section has room for up to 2,600 characters. That's a lot of room! But, only the first few lines are visible to everyone - unless they click the "See More" option here. Make people want to read more by telling them who you are and what you can do right away in your summary. Then, use the rest of your LinkedIn About section to convey your big highlights and capabilities. Incorporate numbers whenever possible.
Don't forget to tell people how to connect with you if that's important. This could be a matter of including your email in your LinkedIn or just tell them to send you an in-mail. Whatever it is, make sure that people know what to do if they want to start a conversation with you.
Describe Your Experiences
Making the move from manager to director also requires you to tell the story of your career progression from a relevant lens at this point in your career. Take the time to review the content under each of your entries in your professional experience section.
First, make sure that the timeline (in terms of entries) is consistent with your resume and complete. Do not leave off jobs or combine them if you progressed at a single organization. Also, make sure that you are using the drop-downs properly when selecting job titles and company names. This is really important to the visibility of your profile as people use those fields to find people just like you.
Second, complete each entry in your professional experience section with a description. Incorporate those relevant concepts and keywords to convey the story. Many people find it easier to write this content as if they were telling someone at a networking event or job interview about each of the jobs.
Finally, make sure that you incorporate details about your results in each role. You can't disclose confidential or proprietary information here. But, you can convey the results in a meaningful way to illustrate your leadership message.
Showcase your Thought Leadership
Directors are often thought leaders in their fields. This means that it is important to have a section devoted to showcasing this work. This could be in the form of blog posts you have written, webinars you have hosted, podcasts you have been featured on, and articles that you have published.
You can link these out to other sites or host them right on your LinkedIn profile if it is an original piece. Either way, make sure that you include a few sentences to contextualize the piece and clearly define your role in it.
Not everyone can add their works to their profiles as they may be done as part of a client matter or for internal purposes. In that case, look for content created by the company to add context to what they do. You can find these materials on your company's YouTube, its website, or other public-facing channels. Using this content is always the safest to ensure that you can share it as the information is already out for the public to see.
A great way to build credibility and show off your skills is by getting endorsements and recommendations from others on LinkedIn. These can come from past colleagues, clients, or even people who have never worked with you directly but are familiar with your work. The more recommendations you have, the more likely it is that potential employers will view you as a qualified candidate for the role you're seeking.
Stay on Brand
Directors and other executives know what they are good at and will stay on that message. You can make the move from manager to director if you follow suit and stay focused on your LinkedIn profile. Keep your content consistent with your leadership brand in every single field on your LinkedIn profile. This means that you should also review your interests and skills to make sure they reflect who you are as a professional now and where you are headed.
Once you have made the move from manager to director, make sure that you are keeping your profile up-to-date. Even if you don't change any of the content in your profile, take some time every 6 months or so to review it for accuracy and ensure that everything is still relevant. Adding new ideas and insights can also help keep you in the public eye and make sure that your profile stands out.
With a well-crafted LinkedIn profile, you’ll be far more likely to make the transition from manager to director. By following these simple tips, you can create a profile that will showcase your skills, accomplishments, and experience in the best possible light—and help you land the director-level position you’ve been dreaming of.
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