If you are like me, then you are a big fan of the path of least resistance. If you’re job hunting, there are only going to be so many positions you can apply to. If 80% of Product Manager positions are not posted on job boards, how can you find those positions? The answer is: you do not. You do not know what you do not know. The only option you have is to learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Approach optimizing your LinkedIn profile as you would optimizing a website that you are trying to drive traffic to. When recruiters are looking for Product Managers in your local city, do you know where you rank? Are you the first person that pops up, or are you on the second page of the search results?
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: Hiring Challenges
There are a few hiring challenges right now that you can take advantage of to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
1. The majority of resumes being filtered though company job portals are a bad fit for the role.
Most resumes that recruiters sort through every day in their inbox are pretty low quality. Post your own Product Manager position on Indeed and validate this assumption for yourself. The majority of these resumes are bad, really bad. Out of 100 resumes, there are probably less than 5 applicants that recruiters will actually want to schedule a call with. This leads us to the next challenge that you can take advantage of when learning how to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
2. Recruiters, both internal and external, are doing more headhunting and less recruiting.
The majority of Product Managers that recruiters contact through LinkedIn InMails will not respond. Why? Because these people are not looking. One of the key motivations for people joining product management in the first place is to be able to hone and develop the skills necessary for starting one’s own business. Are there not positions that you are receiving right now via LinkedIn that you do not care for? Most likely, there are positions being pitched to you in your inbox right now that you have no interest in ever applying to.
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile, Step by Step
Before you do anything else, turn off your notifications. If you are concerned with your coworkers seeing your LinkedIn activity, make sure you’re not going to be sending them notifications. With that done, the next thing you’ll want to do immediately is delete all your irrelevant skills listed on LinkedIn. Not sure what’s irrelevant and what’s not? Delete it all and start from scratch. Now let’s get started:
1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile Photo
Make sure your profile photo is of professional quality. If you have to go so far as to hire a professional photographer to have headshots you can use, that’s not too far! You’ll use these photos in the long term: it’s worth the investment. This is not an official endorsement, but we have had coaching clients use this photographer before.
If you’d prefer to get an updated photo on your own, you can download one of the many options for iOS or Android headshot or photo apps.
Pro Tip: Please do not spend too much time snapping the perfect photo. It just has to be a big smile that is front-facing and clean. Do not shift your head to the left or right.
2. Strategic Headline and Title
You want to list yourself as a Product Manager if you can. If you are unable to call yourself a Product Manager — it is not the end of the world. Pick a title that sums up your experience and your most impressive role, and make it as close to product management as you can.
Tackling how to optimize your LinkedIn profile should include optimizing your title as well as your headline. Making your title as close to product management as possible mitigates a lot of the challenges you will have later. Recruiters will seldom talk to applicants who do not have the title they want or a similar title. Here are examples of Product-Manager-adjacent titles you can use:
- Product Analyst
- Product Marketing Analyst
- Product Management Intern
- Product Associate
- Product Coordinator
- Product … (anything)
3. Optimize Your Biography
Less is definitely more in this section. Depending on your circumstances and constraints, it may be better to not write anything at all. The reason for this is that your biography can be interpreted in many different ways, which may be good or bad. For recruiters, this is a process of the elimination game for them. From the moment the hiring team reviews your resume, there are some clear lines of progression. Here are some insights to keep in mind:
- If they are looking for reasons to call you, there is always a reason to call you.
- If they have you on the phone and are looking for reasons to interview you in person, they will always find a reason to interview you in person.
- In the interview, if they are looking for reasons to hire you, there are always reasons to hire you.
They have to exercise the process of elimination. There is no other alternative for them. The game was structured this way and we have to adhere to the conditions.
4. Make Use of Boilerplates
The boilerplate section is listed directly underneath your title, under Experience. This is the area of your LinkedIn profile that may most closely resemble your resume, as you go through your work history.
For this section you have two options: Firstly, you can add exactly the same bullet points that you have on your resume.
If you want to differentiate your resume from your LinkedIn profile, then add the ‘About Us’ write-up of the company you worked for, pasting it under the relevant titles and timelines. Do this for every position you held with the company, even if you were promoted and have two or more positions listed for the same company.
Pro Tip: Recruiters love seeing your progress through the ranks.
5. Get Your Optimized Profile Reviewed by an Expert
You’ve polished your LinkedIn and strategically aligned your profile with your Product Manager resume: congratulations! But if you want to go above and beyond to impress the PM Recruiter, take some time to review and perfect your branding (this includes your LinkedIn profile) with a professional Product Manager Career Coach.
A Career Coach is the perfect test subject for your key branding materials, like your LinkedIn profile. Especially if your coach is a Product Manager who’s gone through the gruelling job hunt and landed their dream role on the other side. They’ll be able to assess your branding information from the perspective of the Recruiter and Hiring Manager, and use their experience to help you polish it.
At Product Gym, our career coaches work with our members to polish their full branding package — including their LinkedIn profile, of course — as the first step of the program. They offer insight, constructive criticism, and tips on how to make your profile stand out to Recruiters to land you more interviews.
Still Have Questions?
If you’re on the product manager job hunt, it helps to have a supportive community to keep you going strong. Product Gym is a lifetime membership program for Product Managers, PM job hunters, and product people of all sorts. Getting people jobs in product management is our bread and butter: that makes us very good at assessing where you’re at in your job hunt and equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to optimize your personal brand and kickstart your dream career in product management. And that includes keeping you up to date on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Product Manager skills and job search tactics, get in touch with us! We’re offering free career coaching sessions with our in-house team. We’d love to hear from you.