Why You Need Both a Resume and a LinkedIn Profile
If you want to gain the upper hand in the job-hunting game, consider having both a traditional resume and a LinkedIn profile. Resumes are the cornerstone of any job application, and they’re not going anywhere soon—any hiring manager will want to see your resume. However, with the digital world increasingly holding sway over our personal and professional lives, the importance of a LinkedIn account keeps growing.
Each serves its purpose, and the combination of the two can increase your job opportunities and fuel your networking success. Use your resume when you are actively looking for a job, and use LinkedIn for your job search and much more, including networking, staying up to date on industry trends, and building your brand. LinkedIn is the perfect way to cultivate the resources you need to find great job opportunities in the first place.
Let's look at the similarities and differences between the two, and how you can use them to your advantage. If you need help with either one, reach out to our skilled professionals.
Difference #1: Length and flexibility
Resumes are intended to summarize your qualifications and achievements; they are concise and condense your professional history. You don’t have a lot of space, so you must cut out the fluff and keep only the core details. You can and should update your resume when necessary, but once you send it to a recruiter, the opportunity to make changes is lost.
On the other hand, you can tweak and edit your LinkedIn profile at any time. Even after you send a link to someone, you can immediately edit your profile, and they’d never even know the difference. You also have more space to expand on a topic if need be, as well as the flexibility to include other details besides the basics about your experience. For example, you can add blog posts to distinguish yourself as an expert in your field and link to relevant projects that showcase your talents. Since there’s no space limit here, you can display all the information you might want a hiring manager to get.
Difference #2: The tone
While your resume speaks in a formal tone, your LinkedIn profile can be much more relaxed. The goal of a resume is to highlight your skills, qualities, and work experience in a concise manner. It's not intended as a vehicle for showcasing your personality; in fact, you should resist the temptation to demonstrate your creativity and reveal your personality on a resume.
However, LinkedIn is a social network and you want others to get to know you, so you can let your guard down a bit and show your personal side. Since you can connect with other professionals on the platform, finding things in common allows you to take on a more casual demeanor.
Difference #3: A photo of yourself
Including a picture of yourself on your resume is a bad idea. It's unnecessary and can come across as unprofessional. Some companies may even automatically discard resumes with photos so they're not accused of discrimination.
On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile will not be complete without your picture. Make sure you use a professional photo. Dress appropriately, taking into consideration the industry you represent. For example, if you're in a bank management position, wear a suit; if you work in restaurant management, you can afford to don something more casual (but still professional). Also, never use a selfie although you can set your camera up on a tripod and use the timer function to take your own picture.
Similarity #1: Basic information about you
Now that we’ve covered the differences between a standard resume and a LinkedIn profile, let's look at what they have in common.
Both present you and your professional history, so they will obviously include the same information about your qualifications and previous jobs. You can write about them in a different manner, but the basics will mostly be identical. An important difference is the amount of space—you may not have enough room to include all your qualifications on your resume, but you can list everything you want on your LinkedIn profile.
You should also include a professional summary in both your resume and LinkedIn profile. That's a short paragraph that highlights your top qualifications and skills right off the bat.
Similarity #2: Keywords
Whether it's a resume on a digital job board or a professional profile on LinkedIn, keywords are essential for recruiters looking to fill open positions.
Many companies these days rely on an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter resumes, which means that if yours doesn’t contain the right keywords, it may be discarded before reaching the person responsible for hiring. As for LinkedIn, its algorithms use keywords to decide how to rank your profile in a search, so if you aren’t using the right ones, recruiters may never stumble across your profile. Therefore, make keywords a primary focus for both.
Similarity #3: Your value
What unique skills do you bring to the table? How can you help a company grow? Your value is what can distinguish you from other candidates. Include this information on both platforms and be specific. Share exactly how much you exceeded your targets in a past job or give an example of a time you went above and beyond for a client. Since you have more space on LinkedIn, you may be able to go into more detail, but the core information should be on both your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Bottom line: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Both a traditional resume and a LinkedIn profile provide value. Take advantage of what each one has to offer and you'll increase your chances of finding a job or networking with professionals who may advance your career. If you need assistance with crafting either your resume or LinkedIn profile, check out how we can help.