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Move from Individual Contributor to Manager by Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn matters in your search to move from individual contributor to leader. Keep reading for a complete guide to optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

You've been in your role for a few years, you have all the skills and experience that qualify you to be a manager. But how do you make the transition? How do you ensure that your profile is updated to reflect your new goals without jeopardizing your current job? In this blog post, our profile writers outline the top tips to update your LinkedIn profile to make this career move without raising any red flags with your current employer.

Why LinkedIn Matters in Your Job Search

To make the most of your profile, it is important to first understand why LinkedIn matters in your job search. In fact, most people don't realize how much LinkedIn actually matters in their job search. First, most recruiters (over 90%) use LinkedIn to find candidates for their open jobs. They do this by searching people's profiles and reaching out to people that may be a fit for their positions. A weak profile means that you won't show up in recruiter searches.

Second, most talent acquisition technology and/or hiring managers use LinkedIn. The ATS can be integrated with LinkedIn and will evaluate your profile as a fit for the positions you are pursuing. The hiring managers will also look at your profile to learn more about you in the hiring process. This review by the people and their systems becomes even more important as you move from individual contributor to manager. So, here are the tips to build a profile that stands out.

Update your headline

Your LinkedIn headline is one of the parts of your profile that goes with you everywhere on LinkedIn (including LinkedIn recruiter). So, you need to make a strong headline that prompts people to click to learn more about you.

For most people that want to move to manager, it means that you need to shift away from the system default of job title and company. Instead, you can use a pure keyword strategy or a true headline. Whatever style you pick, make sure that you use all 120 characters to make the most of your headline.

Use Keywords Strategically

In addition to updating your headline, you also want to use keywords throughout your profile so that it comes up in searches by recruiters and hiring technology.

This means using the LinkedIn drop-downs to maximize your visibility. The drop-downs matter as that is how other people are searching for you. So, if you deviate from the options, you are likely not showing up in the results.

Using keywords also matters in how you describe your experience, your about section, and your skills. All of these are smart places to include keywords that improve your visibility. But, make sure you are using the right keywords - those or a leader rather than just that of an individual contributor.

Highlight the Right Parts of Your Experience

The next step is to update your professional experience to include a complete description of each job. This explanation should be focused on your role as a leader. This could include leading teams, developing processes, or managing budgets. If you don't have direct management experience, emphasize transferable skills like communication, organization, or problem-solving.

You can't oversell yourself here as your current boss or colleagues may see your profile. However, you can be smart about how you describe your experience and focus on the things that position you for the next step in your career.

Keep Your Search on a Need-to-Know Basis

Leaders rarely land jobs by telling the world that they are looking. Instead, they are smart about how they communicate and adapt that message to their audience. Plus, many people will see the "open to work" as a desperate plea. So, avoid that inference by controlling how and when you tell people that you are looking and what you want in your next job.

You can do that and still turn on the open-to-work part of LinkedIn. Just make sure that you opt for the visibility of "Only Recruiters" when turning on this feature.

Fix Your Skills

The skills section on your LinkedIn profile is how the system knows if you are qualified for the jobs you apply to through LinkedIn. So, if a skill is not on your profile, then you will often be viewed as unqualified.

Take the time to review your skills and make sure that you have the right leadership skills present. This can mean removing some of the individual contributor skills to make room for those higher-level skills. But, the process of updating your skills regularly is important to make sure that you are passing through the technical steps in your job search.

Add Media to Your Profile

Most people miss this step, but it can be a game changer. You can upload pdfs, jpegs, or links to videos. This enables people to visualize your work and engage with your profile in a meaningful way.

You need to have permission to add the media to your profile. But, you don't have to be the creator of the content. It simply needs to be in the public domain and add value to your leadership message.

Make sure to be strategic about the types of media that you add to your profile to ensure that it stays on brand with your leadership message. And, most importantly, make sure that you add a description for the content that you include so that people know what it is and how that reflects on you as a professional.

Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

Joining relevant LinkedIn groups is a great way to connect with other professionals who are interested in management roles. This can help you expand your network and learn more about what it takes to be a successful leader. Just be sure not to join any groups that could violate your non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or put your current job at risk.

Get Recommendations

Recommendations matter to many people involved in the hiring process. These aren't endorsements for your skills, but brief testimonials of what it is like to work with or for you.

Take the time to ask for a few recommendations from your colleagues. When asking for endorsements, focus on qualities like “leadership” and “communication” that are important for managers. And don’t be afraid to return the favor—endorsing your colleagues can help build relationships and show that you are a team player.

If you're looking to move from an individual contributor role into management, updating your LinkedIn profile is a great first step. By highlighting your relevant skills and experience, using keywords strategically, joining relevant LinkedIn groups, and avoiding mention of your job change goals, you can update your profile in a way that will help you achieve your career goals without jeopardizing your current job.

Want help to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is everything that it should be? Our team of professional profile writers would love to help. Enter your information below and we'll be in touch to schedule a free consultation.