What Works on the Resume Doesn’t Necessarily Work on Your LinkedIn Profile

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

What Works on the Resume Doesn’t Necessarily Work on Your LinkedIn Profile

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If you’re job searching, you’re going to need “both” the resume and LinkedIn profile ready to go. While both may cross paths on some information, it doesn’t mean what works on the resume will work on your LinkedIn profile and vice-versa. They both serve to help you attract employers, and should work independent of one another with its own unique approach to present your brand message. The resume allows you to proceed with the traditional formal approach and your LinkedIn profile may proceed with a more personable approach.

Consider what you put on the resume serves much like a legal document. It requires formality and accuracy. What you put in your LinkedIn profile can be more personable and informal, much like a personal website where you can share with employers your professional experiences as well as offer a quick snapshot on you as a professional. Your LinkedIn profile also allows you to share additional information like your professional profile picture, your professional network, recommendations, endorsements, videos and articles you post.

And, while we’re in the digital age, the resume continues to serve much like a paper document running from one page to the next page – even when it is read online. It’s unlike the LinkedIn profile where it can branch out from one area to the next without it feeling like you’re reading a 10+ page document. This is also a key reason to why content that works for your resume may not work for your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s what you need to watch for in preparing the two key tools for your job search:

Objective vs. Subjective
The resume is written with a third-person tone to come off objective and factual. Your LinkedIn profile takes on a more informal tone because employers understand it to be a personal profile, so it’s okay to use “I” in your writing. Avoid copying and pasting content from one to the next. Stay on your brand message, but offer another dimension to your information. Your LinkedIn profile is another marketing tool and an opportunity to sell to the employer.

Private vs. Public
While nothing that goes out on the Internet is 100% private, the resume is still very much considered a confidential document between you and those you chose to send it to. In this way, it allows you to customize and personalize your resume as needed to each of the employers you target in your job search. However, your LinkedIn profile has no limits and is open to the public (to a certain extent depending on your profile visibility setting). The content you choose to include to your LinkedIn profile should serve a broader target audience and consideration should be taken as to what you choose (or not choose) to include. From the employer’s perspective, your LinkedIn profile is a more accurate reflection of you as a professional – when everyone within you network can see your story there’s less chance to fib or exaggerate what’s real.

Your Headline
When it comes to the Headline for your resume and LinkedIn profile, we’re talking about what do the employers first see. Just like reading a newspaper story, what’s the captivating headline you have in place. For the resume, the captivating headline needs to come through your e-mail subject line when you send in your resume and at the top of your resume where you include your Profile Summary. On your LinkedIn Profile, what employers will first see when you hit “Apply” is your name, current job title, past job titles and other details. See how you can improve your LinkedIn headline, reading: “See Things from The Employer’s Side: What Happens When You Apply for a Job on LinkedIn.”

Ultimately, whether you only use your resume, LinkedIn profile, or both during the job search, what’s important is that the two are complementary to one another. Just as you may review a job posting and conduct additional research before applying for the job, so do employers in reviewing your resume and any additional information it can find on you before committing to a hire.

There is no set rule on how long the resume should be, but 1-3 pages is generally what is expected from employers. On the other hand, for your LinkedIn profile, you have more freedom to expand on your thoughts and information without it coming across as overwhelming to the reader. The tone is more conversational and the Summary is in many ways like a mini-biography – something you wouldn’t be able to do in as much detail on the resume.

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are key tools to the job search. While both may share similarities in purpose and content, there are also key differences. Find more tips to getting the content for your resume and LinkedIn profile ready for the job search, reading: “Resume Trends to Follow for the New Year.”