I decided to do a post on this one because I get asked about it a lot – what the heck is the difference between your resume, and what you write in your LinkedIN profile? LinkedIN is the cornerstone of your online personal brand presence, and in this digital day and age, every professional should have one. There’s little question there, because regardless of how active your industry is on LinkedIN, I’m hard-pressed to find anyone to whom really excellent personal branding would be a professional detriment. Common questions answered…
But really… what’s the difference?
Both are used for branding purposes. You have a little bit more flexibility with branding yourself via your LinkedIN profile because it’s not exactly the industry standard for making hiring decisions (yet), as the resume is, and traditionally always has been. This means you speak more casually in your summary about what you do, you can write with less detail in each job description, and you can integrate functional aspects like your blog, your recommended reading list, or your portfolio, to give some context to who you are. While it’s not your traditional social network of sorts, it is considered the social network for business. But do keep it business, and not entirely personal.
Does my LinkedIN profile have to match my resume word-for-word?
No. I have seen folks that do utilize the profile’s functionality to include most of the qualifying details and job descriptions that are on their resumes, and there’s nothing wrong with this. On the flip-side, I’ve also seen folks leave their LinkedIN profile strictly with job titles and company names, and nothing else. Personally, I prefer a little more meat on the bones, if you know what I mean…
Should I put my LinkedIN profile address on my resume?
Assuming you have a well-put together profile that brands you effectively for the type of roles you’re targeting in your search, then yes. It probably won’t tell them more than what’s already on your resume, but someone who has a clean, professionally-done up LinkedIN profile comes off as someone who cares about the effort they’re putting into their search, and understands the importance of personal branding online.
Can I send people to my LinkedIN profile instead of submitting my resume?
No. See question #1.
What if I’m applying to different types of jobs and have different formats of my resume tailored to each – won’t having a LinkedIN profile limit me?
If you are applying to different areas of specializations, or even different career fields, then this is once instance where it makes sense to have minimal information listed under each job description so that you don’t brand yourself ineffectively, by stressing your experience in one field when you’re applying to something else. Instead, make your profile more about your different skill sets and your summary, and about building quality connections by networking with others. Think of it as a more functional-format resume in this case.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to branding and messaging – what is your profile (and of course your resume) communicating about you as a candidate? What message is it sending about your skills, strengths, qualifications and expertise? The message should be clear, direct and not left up to interpretation. Do me and the rest of the HR world a favor… don’t make us guess what you’re good at. Fly that flag of earned confidence high, dammit, and tell the world what-the-H you’re here to do!