July 20, 2018

Your LinkedIn Profile and Resume Should Not Be Identical

The previous post on this blog focused on four ways job seekers and jump-start their job search. Identifying what kind of jobs you want to search and apply for is one step followed by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. Based on my experience as an employer, many people mistakenly assume they should copy and paste the content from the former into the latter. Erica Breuer, founder of Cake Resumes, wrote an article for The Muse that presents four differences between the LinkedIn profile and resume.

1. It Should Tell a Bigger Story

Ms. Breuer says "[y]our LinkedIn profile is a place for all that additional color you cut your from your resume to make it one page. But I'm not just talking about including portfolio items, projects, more skills, and so on (although those are great things to incorporate).

"Let's take your professional experiences section, for example. You have the opportunity to give the backstory on interesting twists and turns that can't be explained on your resume. So, instead of sticking with bullets, share a bit about your work."

Similar to the resume, I recommend including milestones or measurements of success as you tell your bigger story on your LinkedIn profile.

2. It Shouldn't Be Tailored

I agree with Ms. Breuer that "[y]our profile should include a few crowd-pleaser items that will appeal to a wider audience." Regularly sharing articles that you find interesting gives people an understanding of the sources that help you make informed decisions, which is a valued-skill to many employers.

Moreover, authoring an article, which provides insights into how you synthesize information or identify a problem and formulate proposed solution(s), is another feature you can utilize to help make your LinkedIn profile standout from the crowd. Publishing an article also provides people within your network with an understanding of your written communication style, which many employers, myself included, find valuable.

Ms. Breuer's second point provides a reminder for job seekers to tailor their resume to the position they are pursuing.

3. It Should Include Back-up

"On your resume," Ms. Breur explains, "information is more or less taken at face value until it's time for your interview. But when you're making statements about your talents or work style on LinkedIn, you have the advantage of backing your claims up."

She adds: "You can say, 'I always go the extra mile' in your summary, but a dazzling recommendation from a former boss proves it. Or, instead of just including that you love to write, keep your profile's publications section up to date with new articles. Are you an expert with Salesforce? Get the skill endorsements to reflect it."

It is important to note, however, that I have endorsements for skills from people whom I have never met. Unfortunately, this diminishes the value of skill endorsements. Nevertheless, I certainly support posting recommendations from your former colleagues, clients or managers to your LinkedIn profile.

4. It Shouldn't Be Too Formal

"Robotic third-person resume language is not going to cut it here," says Ms. Breur. "A summary that reads like a bio on the back of a book is one that no one reads. Instead, draft it by writing the way you speak."

I support her suggestion of using "a conversational tone and pepper in details about your work that humanize you. Don't just talk about what you do; talk about why you love doing it. Instead of focusing on the number of years of experience you have in XYZ industry, explain how you got your start there. Weave in bits about the types of teams you've enjoyed working on, your personal philosophy, or what kinds of projects inspire you the most."

Lastly, the Muse published an article that contains a useful infographic entitled "17 LinkedIn Profile Must-Haves." Below are a few points that I see of particular value in having a strong LinkedIn profile:

Brand Your Professional Headline
"Include information designed to encourage your potential visitor to find out more about you."

Align Your Industry
"Be found by the right people by being specific about your industry(s)."

Be Active!
"Update your status on a regular basis" and "share thoughtful/insightful news within your industry."

Strut Your Stuff!
- "Add items to your profile, such as projects, test scores, courses, patents, certifications, and volunteer/causes."
- Looking for work? 42% of hiring managers surveyed say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience."

Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups
- "There are more than 200 conversations happening each minute across LinkedIn Groups."
- "Joining a Group lets other contact you using the Group messaging feature."
- "STATISTIC: 81% of users belong to at least one group."

While not mentioned in the infographic, the value in participating in a LinkedIn Group provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge with people whom may be a prospective employer or have knowledge of an available job opening.

What do you think makes for a strong LinkedIn profile?

Aaron Rose is an advisor to talented entrepreneurs and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of Solutions for a Sustainable World.

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