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Can LinkedIn Take the Place of Your Resume?


In just a few years, LinkedIn has become a valuable addition to any job-seekers’ toolbox. The business-oriented social networking site allows users to connect with other professionals, read recent career news, and even look for a job. The site is a useful resource for any professional, so it’s natural to wonder if it has the power to completely change how we search and apply for jobs. Could LinkedIn go so far as to take the place of traditional resumes one day?


(Photo Credit: A Name Like Shields…/Flickr)

The short answer: No. While LinkedIn provides a convenient forum for sharing your skills and expertise, there are very few hiring managers who would accept a link to your profile in place of a resume. There are many reasons for this, but one looms larger than all the others.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Your LinkedIn profile is a one-size-fits-all version of your professional accomplishments. And you should never take the universal approach to your resume. Despite what many people think, it’s a big mistake to use the same exact resume to apply for multiple jobs.

Rather, you should be tweaking the document — sometimes very slightly, sometimes dramatically — to tailor it for the specific position and company you’re interested in. This allows you to strategically use keywords and highlight specific skills that will help you stand out from other applicants.

Can LinkedIn provide that customized approach to job searching? Not a chance. But does that mean the site isn’t useful for job seekers? Not at all.

The truth is, combining a carefully crafted LinkedIn profile with a strong resume and cover letter is a great way to create an impactful, big-picture representation of both your skills and your personal brand. By balancing the two — and recognizing both of their strengths — you can guarantee a spot at the top of recruiters’ “yes” piles.

Keep your LinkedIn job descriptions simple. 

Don’t go overboard when filling out the “Experience” portion of your LinkedIn profile. This should be an easy-to-scan account of your experience, whether the person looking at your profile is a hiring manager, someone you met at a networking event, or an old high school classmate. Save the more detailed descriptions for your resume.

Be consistent with key details. 

You may be tempted to fudge a few details on your resume such as dates or specifics about your responsibilities at various positions. First of all, dishonesty is always a bad way to start off with a potential hire. Secondly, your LinkedIn profile may inadvertently reveal your fabrications. Check to make sure key details are consistent between your resume and profile.

Maintain your personal brand across the board. 

Is the persona you’ve created on LinkedIn the same one who is sending their resume and cover letter to hiring managers? Or could you potentially confuse people by presenting two different personalities? Both your traditional job-searching tools and your online presence should complement each other — not conflict. Make an effort to maintain a consistent tone no matter what format you’re using to connect with people.

Make your LinkedIn profile easy to find. 

Don’t make recruiters Google you — promote your LinkedIn profile in your email signature, your Twitter profile, and on your personal website. One place to skip the link? Your resume. For now, it’s better to stick to the basic contact information — name, address, phone number, and email address.

Tell us what you think!

What’s the difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Michelle Kruse
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