Top Strategies to Advance Your Product Management Career Rapidly – Part 5
Catch up on Part 4 here!
“You Never Get a Second Chance to make a great first impression” – Advertising Slogan from the 1960’s
In the first four parts of the Product Management Career Acceleration Series, we focused on providing you with strategies, tips, techniques, leadership approaches, and even sins to avoid, to be a more effective Product Manager – the kind that can advance in their career rapidly. Now that you know how to be the best Product Manager you can be, how do you prove it to everyone else when looking to advance in your career?
In this last installment of the series, we want to help you capitalize on all of your newfound skills by helping you present your capabilities and talents in the best possible way.
Building a Rocking LinkedIn Product Management Profile
These days, not only do you need to worry about your physical appearance and presence, you also need to be concerned about your “digital presence.” In the world of career development, your LinkedIn profile is a key piece of this digital presence. Below we give you a few tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile, but this is just the beginning.
Tip #1: Make Your Headline About Your Future
Most people use their current title as their headline. That’s great if you love your current title and company. If you’re in between jobs, and especially if you’re changing careers, your headline should be what you want your next title to be. Help hiring managers know what your focus is. Here are some examples:
- Product Management Leader: This heading says that even if your last position wasn’t a manager role, you’re looking for a leadership role in your next position.
- Enterprise Product Marketing: This lets me quickly identify one of your key strengths.
- Agile Change Agent: Wow, if I’m looking for someone to implement agile in my company, wouldn’t a change agent be attractive?
Tip #2: Use Your “About” to Tell Your Story
Have you ever created an elevator pitch about yourself? Now’s your chance! Don’t waste this space to recap your years of experience that you’ll just repeat in the Experience section. You’ve got 2,000 characters (about 250-300 words) to tell a hiring manager what your resume doesn’t say. Andy Foote captured some great examples of excellent LinkedIn summaries in this article: 4 Stunningly Good LinkedIn Summaries.
I want to reinforce one of Andy’s key points – your About (previously named Summary) is your chance to tell your story. It shouldn’t be a collection of key search terms or buzzwords. Those can go in your Experience and Skills sections. This is your chance to let your character, your passions, and your key accomplishments shine, so polish this section through several drafts to really reflect who you are as a whole profession.
Tip #3: Your Experience is Not Your Job Description
I see a lot of LinkedIn profiles where people take their work experience from their resume, and paste it into their Experience section. It’s not wrong, but it’s probably going to just land you the same job. Why not use this area to highlight the experiences that you want to take forward? Quite often we end up doing tasks that are outside of our role. This is particularly true in small companies and startups. What tasks do you want to highlight that your next manager wants to know for the kinds of roles you’re interested in?
As you consider what to write here, think about the earlier lessons in our series. Have you applied leadership skills to more effectively lead a cross-functional product team? Write about this as a key accomplishment, possibly with a metric of success, such as delivering a product in record time.
Tip #4: Describe Your Experiences Using Active Words
Use action words to describe your experience, and use words that demonstrate your specific contributions. Did you “work on” a product or did you “own” the product? Did you “attend” tradeshows or “present” at tradeshows? We’ve compiled a great list of Product Management Resume Action Words to help you power-up your resume.
A word of caution here: don’t go crazy with too many action words. You want to put the right emphasis on your key accomplishments with the right action words, but you don’t want to turn everything into an action. You also don’t want to overstate your accomplishments – emphasize what you’ve really done and expect that if you get a phone screen or interview, you’ll be asked to talk more about these accomplishments. Be bold and proud of your achievements but be ready to back up every claim you make.
Tip #5: Emphasize Your Leadership Experiences
This is particularly important if you’re trying to move into a manager or director role. Highlight your leadership experiences, both direct and indirect. Statements like: “Hired and managed a high-performing team of 14 engineers” and “Led cross-functional teams through three successful product release cycles” are great examples of using action words, specific examples, and leadership experience.
Putting it All Together: Talent and Presence
Hopefully, these tips will help you upgrade your LinkedIn profile to put forth your best digital presence. This profile is going to be the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager is going to look at, so it’s got to both catch their eye, and accurately represent your capabilities and career desires.
Download the Product Management Career Planning Template
Ever wonder why some Product Managers seem to just advance faster than others? It’s not that they’re smarter than you or work harder than you. It’s because they have a plan. Our Product Management Career Planning Template will help you think through what you really want out of your career and identify the steps you need to take to achieve those goals.
About the Author
Roger Snyder is a Principal Consultant/Trainer, and VP of Marketing at 280 Group.
Roger has worked in the field of Product Management for over 20 years, with experience in startups, growth companies, and various technology sectors. He specializes in improving product strategy development, implementing full product lifecycle processes, and roadmap development and evolution.
280 Group is the world’s leading Product Management training and consulting firm. We help companies and individuals do GREAT Product Management and Product Marketing using our Optimal Product Process™.