Some will have you think your LinkedIn profile is just an online version of your resume, or that if you have a LinkedIn profile, you don’t need a great resume anymore. Neither of these statements could be further from the truth.
In fact, there are several key differences between your resume and LinkedIn profile, and knowing these differences will help you use the two together to make a powerful first impression on recruiters and hiring managers.
1. Your resume is a tailored sales pitch for the job you want.
A great LinkedIn profile provides a lot of information, some of which overlaps with your resume, but much of the information is broad and meant to cast as wide a net as possible as you build your connections. However, an effective resume is tailored specifically to the duties and responsibilities of the position you are applying, often pulling directly from the job description itself. You should highlight your accomplishments that are most relevant, some of which may not be shown on your LinkedIn profile. Keep it concise, when you write a resume you’re writing a brief sales pitch.
Pro Tip: Pull up the actual requirements from the posting of the job you want and review each bullet point. For each requirement, try to have a corresponding accomplishment or responsibility on your resume. HR reps and hiring managers only spend a few minutes reviewing a resume so you’ll want to make sure a to catch their eye during a quick skim.
Pro Tip #2: Use a resume builder to help create, edit, and manage your multiple resumes. I just so happen to be the founder of Spry Resume, a great free resume app, it’s the only app of its kind that is truly free and unlimited.
2. You only get one LinkedIn profile.
Having more than one profile is not only confusing, it could be damaging. A recruiter will often head to your LinkedIn page after reviewing your resume and if they find more than one, it will affect your chances of getting an interview. This creates a challenge.
Building a profile that targets the type of job you want while also being broad enough to engage a wide audience and build a great network is critical. If you know what type of job you want, make sure your profile fits what recruiters want but all of your other important accomplishments as well. Your profile should be inclusive, particularly if your current job is very different from your dream job… you don’t want to tip off your boss that you’re on the job market.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of the space in your LinkedIn profile. Include all of your accomplishments you are most proud of without unnecessary fluff. Recruiters will love to see how you saved your company money with a new process, but they *(probably) won’t care about your title as captain of the company dodgeball team.
3. Your LinkedIn profile tone should be lighter and more social.
LinkedIn is a social media tool, your profile should reflect that. I’m not suggesting you include #hashtags and baby pictures, but simply using a more conversational tone can improve your profile’s readability.
Pro Tip: While it’s always best to use action-verbs to write your resume (e.g. “Developed a new social media strategy…”), consider using more personal pronouns in your LinkedIn profile to tell your story (e.g. “My experience includes developing new social strategies to…”).
4. Your resume needs to be as concise as possible, your LinkedIn profile has no such constraint.
Most experts agree a resume should be kept to one page unless you have extensive experience, say over 10 years worth. You therefore need to be able to squeeze in your best, most relevant experience and accomplishments in a relatively small space. This often results in your most recent experience getting much more attention than your older experience. Your LinkedIn profile allows you much more freedom to include as much detail as you’d like.
Pro Tip: When you write a resume, think Don Draper writing a great piece of sales copy tailored to your audience. When you create a LinkedIn profile, think G.R.R.M. and tell a great story about who you are and what you want to do.
Sometimes a recruiter finds you on LinkedIn and then asks for your resume. Other times they'll see your resume and head straight over to your LinkedIn. Either way, you need to put your best foot forward on both fronts. If you've followed the tips above, you're already in great shape. But here are a few more tips to really stand out.
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