Since its launch in 2002, millions of people around the world have used LinkedIn as a professional networking platform to grow their contacts, keep an active record of their work histories, and stay up to date with the latest news and business trends. A LinkedIn profile can be an effective way to flesh out information that won’t fit on a standard resume–but that’s not to say resumes have fallen by the wayside. Having a properly formatted, streamlined resume is still a necessity in today’s job market, as the majority of employers require candidates to submit a resume as part of the application package. So how does one decide which information to share on LinkedIn vs. on a resume, and which details should be included on both?
LinkedIn gives its users fantastic opportunities to round themselves out in a way that a standard resume can’t. For starters, LinkedIn encourages its users to upload photos, so that connections, colleagues, and potential employers can get an initial feel for personality and style. If you’re actively job-hunting, including a profile picture gives you a slight edge over the competition: according to a study from LinkedIn itself, profiles with photographs receive up to twenty-one times more views than those without. While including a headshot on a resume has become more common (and much easier to do as technology evolves), pictures on resumes are still not the standard, and you won’t earn bonus points by including one. If you feel compelled to include a photograph on your resume, make sure it’s professional!
Another useful feature on LinkedIn is the unlimited capacity to give context to your skills and experiences. LinkedIn allows as much free space as you desire to expound on your work history. Items that are not vital to a resume (such a participation in your office’s book club, or volunteer work) are easy to include on a LinkedIn profile–and can work to your advantage when giving your potential new boss a better feel for your unique qualifications. Your LinkedIn profile should still be concise and to the point, so try to add this extraneous information in a way that doesn’t deflect from the main points of interest. A resume, on the other hand, should reasonably hover around the one page mark–or no more than two if you have a diverse work history that can’t be squeezed onto a single page. Paring down your resume can be a challenge, especially if you’ve held multiple jobs over time, so if you’re running out of space, include only the most relevant information. If you’re job-hunting, an easy way to cut information is to first develop a long-form resume with all of your work experience, skills, and qualifications, then read over the job description for the position that you’re applying for, and remove details that don’t appear relevant to that specific position. Assuming your LinkedIn profile is up to date, it’s a good idea to include a link to your page with your contact information for easy access.
Testimonials are yet another huge advantage offered by LinkedIn. The testimonials portion allows former managers or colleagues to leave “reviews” of you as an employee. This is incredibly helpful for potential employers, as it demonstrates that you have references to back up any skills or qualifications mentioned in your work history. LinkedIn also offers the option to receive “endorsements” for various skills, such as customer service, Microsoft Excel, or fundraising. Here at Treehouse, we don’t pay much attention to endorsements, but we are always happy to come across a more personalized testimonial! Most people do not include testimonials or references on a resume, but it’s always good to maintain a rapport with former colleagues and supervisors who would be willing to vouch for you if a potential employer asks for a reference.
Both your LinkedIn profile and resume should be kept up-to-date and organized, especially if you’re actively seeking employment. LinkedIn offers the option to add a short headline that will appear beneath your name–this should be concise, ideally with your title and company (i.e. “John Smith, Sales Manager at Google”). The “bio” portion of LinkedIn is similar to the “objective” on a resume, where you can give a brief summary of your skills and experiences, and show what you bring to the table. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling should be checked over for clarity and concision–if you’re one of a hundred applicants vying for a job, using a word incorrectly or making a typo can be a fast track to the trash bin. We hate to be the bad guys, but we personally review hundreds of LinkedIn profiles and resumes each week, and many otherwise-viable candidates are passed over due to misspelling or grammar errors. Have a trusted friend or colleague review your language, because a fresh set of eyes might be able to suggest better phrasing or point out discrepancies you’ve missed. You probably don’t need to update your resume every year if you’re happily employed, but it’s a good idea to audit your LinkedIn site every six months or so. Make sure to include any promotions, new skills you’ve acquired, and educational or volunteer experience.
LinkedIn and resumes are similar in theory, but as we’ve outlined above, there are several features unique to each. LinkedIn profiles benefit strongly from including a profile picture and allow more space to ruminate on past experiences and qualifications, while resumes should be concise and only contain the information most pertinent to a specific position. Both platforms need to be streamlined, professional, and should give potential employers a glimpse of your individual personality. Resumes and LinkedIn pages are your chance to stand out from the crowd, so take advantage of this opportunity to shine!