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A Resume vs. LinkedIn: What you need to know

April 24, 2012

I was invited by Resunate to guest host their #ResuChat event this evening  #ResuChat is a Twitter chat that discusses all things related to resumes and landing your dram job.  It is scheduled on bi-weekly Tuesdays at 5 PM Pacific / 8 PM Eastern time.

A common confusion job seekers have is how to use LinkedIn as a job search tool, so I answered several questions to compare and contrast a resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Isn’t a LinkedIn profile just an online version of your resume?

No, a resume and LinkedIn profile are not the same, but have similarities.  A resume is a tool to generate interest and interviews from employers for a specific job that you apply for.  A LinkedIn profile can also generate interest from employers, but it is a networking tool primarily.  Basically, a resume is outbound career marketing, whereas LinkedIn is inbound marketing – attracting employers to you.

Why should the resume and LinkedIn profile be different?

Because they have different purposes (outbound vs. inbound), they require different approaches.  In a resume you are constrained by space, formatting, and targeting for one job at a time.  On LinkedIn, you have more fields available, and can add to your “career story.”   Both the resume and LinkedIn profile need key words to be found in searches, but LinkedIn has more sections where you can include key words – header, skills, summary, job titles, job descriptions, etc.

 How does the LinkedIn Summary compare to a Professional Profile or Value Added section on a resume?

The Value Added or Professional Profile on the resume is in lieu of the Objective that was common practice to include 20 years ago.  The Value Added section should be short and sweet – with your TOP selling points.  Think of it as your elevator pitch.  The Summary on LinkedIn is longer (up to 2,000 characters).  It’s much more akin to a cover letter.  The Summary should be written in first person, tell who you are and what you’re about, as well as with whom you’d like to connect, & why they should connect with you.

What should be different about job descriptions on a resume vs. LinkedIn?

A job description on a resume should include a 2-3 sentence high level snapshot, followed by bullets with accomplishments.  The bullets are what sell you.  They tell the story of not just what you did, but how well you did it.  It’s important to keep the snapshot short because on resume, the more jobs you have to list, the less space you have for each one and still fit onto 1 or 2 pages that is ideal for most job seekers in the US (more pages are OK in Australia and some other countries).

On LinkedIn you have the same space for each job, regardless of how many you include, so you have some additional freedom.  But just because you have the space, doesn’t mean you should max it.  Stay relevant or you’ll bore the reader.  Also keep in mind that LinkedIn is public, so use extra caution not to disclose proprietary info or violate any confidentiality agreements. You also don’t want make employers or colleagues look bad on LinkedIn, so choose achievements carefully.  Don’t say you walked into a mess to clean up in your last job if your predecessor is one of your connections, for example.

If currently employed and looking for another job, what should be on LinkedIn profile?

If you want to keep your search stealth, turn off activity broadcasts, and hide any job search groups from displaying on your profile.   But also remember that even with  broadcasts disabled and hidden groups, posts in open groups are still public, so they could be found in a search.

If currently employed, LinkedIn should include a promo of your employer.  Candidates who seem “passive” or “happily employed” can be more attractive to employers.  Even if you are looking, prospective employers would want you to promote them – so it makes you look good.  As an added benefit, employer promos often include industry key words, which will help your search visibility.

How can I connect my resume to my LinkedIn profile?

The Import Resume feature does not work well, but there are other options.  One is to add the app to profile and upload a PDF of your resume to it.  Another is to create an Infographic resume on and link it under Websites.  Create a Power Point or video resume and upload with the Slideshare app.  If you have a blog or website, put your resume on it and link under Websites.

What should I do on LinkedIn to promote my profile once it is written?

The key with LinkedIn is to remember it is an interactive, proactive networking tool, not a static document.  Follow companies you’d like to target as employers – get updates on jobs, people movements, and industry trends.  Be open to forming new connections to expand your network, like in a live room.   I recommend a Power of One strategy, which includes 1 daily update, 1 group post, 1 answer, 1 new connection, and 1 personal message to a connection every day (see my previous blog post on this strategy here)

Want to see the full recap, including the input from other participants?  Resunate will have it on their blog here.

Do you have additional questions about how to use LinkedIn effectively during a job search?  Post them below and I’d be happy to answer.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2012 6:13 PM

    Karleen, I love the post! Thanks a lot for very profound explanation of differences between resume and LinkedIn profile. I’ve always been saying that this is a big mistake to copy/paste paragraphs from the resume into LinkedIn profile.

    • April 24, 2012 6:17 PM

      Thanks Alex! You’re right they are not the same and you need to be much more thoughtful than just copy + pasting content from resume.

  2. carterarchitecture permalink
    April 24, 2012 6:13 PM

    Your comparison is very helpful, as well as your highlighted examples and tips.We’ll be delighted to share this.

  3. Kittie Walker permalink
    April 25, 2012 4:35 AM

    I am a rabid supporter of LinkedIn as a platform. It has made life so much easier in many ways. I’m glad you have taken on the challenge of pointing out how your profile should differ to your resume.

    So much valuable information in this article, thanks for sharing!

  4. April 25, 2012 11:58 PM

    Thanks, Karleen, for sharing this post with its in-depth information and pointing out the differences. And a nice reminder for me to polish up my profile!


  1. Resunate : Insights into applying to jobs » #ResuChat Wrap-Up 4-24-12:

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