Should You Apply to Jobs Using Your Resume or LinkedIn?

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Zipjob Team

8 min read

The LinkedIn login screen is on a laptop, and a pair of hands, one holding a mobile phone and the other holding a ceramic mug full of coffee, are in front of the laptop.

While applying for jobs online, job seekers may have come across an option to "apply with LinkedIn." This would allow you to use your LinkedIn profile instead of (or in addition to) a resume. So should you apply to a job with your LinkedIn profile or a resume?

In this article, we'll answer this question with career advice from our experts, along with some good tips when using your LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs.

Should you use LinkedIn to apply to jobs? 

LinkedIn has a job board, of course, but many other sites that list jobs will integrate with LinkedIn as well. You have likely come across a job posting that allows you to use your LinkedIn profile instead of a resume for submitting online job applications.

For example:

Applying to a job with your LinkedIn profile

Which option should you choose--apply with LinkedIn or apply now with a resume?

The answer is: you should use both your LinkedIn profile and your resume to apply for jobs!

Almost every site or posting will allow you to apply with your LinkedIn AND attach your resume. This is always the best option, since your resume is tailored for the position whereas your LinkedIn speaks to your greater professional goals.

For example, once you proceed with the Groupon application from the example above, you're given an opportunity to upload your resume.

Using your resume and LinkedIn profile to apply for a job

The same goes for jobs you find on LinkedIn. You would see an option to attach your resume when applying with your LinkedIn profile. Even with Easy Apply positions, you still have the option to attach a resume.

Adding resume to LinkedIn job application

💡ZipTip: For detailed directions on how to attach your resume, head to our post on how to upload your resume to LinkedIn. That post will also walk you through how to add your resume to your LinkedIn profile.

Why you should use both your LinkedIn profile and resume

Even if you apply for a job using your LinkedIn profile and capture the attention of the hiring manager, they're probably going to ask for your resume.

The hiring manager will also usually check your LinkedIn profile before inviting you in for an interview. It's always better to provide both if you have the opportunity to do so.

There is only one situation where you wouldn't use your LinkedIn profile: when it's not up to date. Don't apply with your LinkedIn profile if you don't have a photograph, connections or a sufficient amount of information.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using your LinkedIn profile to apply for jobs.

Best practices for using your LinkedIn to apply for jobs: 5 expert tips

1. Use keywords

This may come as a surprise to some of you--keywords are key for all online marketing. When you submit either a resume or your LinkedIn profile for an opening, it's screened by software to see if you're a good fit for the position before it gets to a hiring manager.

These systems which are utilized by most employers are called Applicant Tracking Systems. These ATS filter out approximately 75% of applicants. Many times, the person is qualified but the resume (or LinkedIn profile) isn't formatted and keyword optimized. Thus, the candidate isn't recommended and a person never reads the resume submission.

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These systems scan your resume for relevant skills, education and experience. One thing they scan for is keywords that are relevant to the position. Having the right keywords on your resume and the right keywords on LinkedIn will help you get past these filters.

Look at the job descriptions before you submit your resume in the job application process to see which keywords you can include.

Expert Tip

Read our complete guide on exactly how to use keywords on your resume.

2. Professional image 

Your image on LinkedIn needs to be professional. It's usually the first impression you have on a potential employer and many make the mistake of uploading an unprofessional image.

Check out this guide on using a good profile picture on LinkedIn

using a professional LinkedIn Image

Don't forget the supporting aspects of your professional image: your LinkedIn background photo and your overall level of professionalism. Your cover photo is the banner image that people will see whenever they visit your profile. You can opt to use colors, themes, or even stock photos that support your career goals.

Your professional image is made up of your activity on LinkedIn. All the posts you share and comments you make include your name and profile picture. Make sure you're only sharing, engaging, and contributing to content that supports your professional image.

3. Don't copy and paste your resume

Many people also make the mistake of copying and pasting their resumes into LinkedIn. Your resume is a document that is detailed and tailored to the position you're applying to. It should answer the question "Why are you a good fit for this position?"

Your LinkedIn is more of an overview of your career. This is why LinkedIn hasn't replaced the need for a resume. It's also why a hiring manager would still ask you for a resume if you apply with your LinkedIn profile.

You should be more broad in your intro, work experience, and related sections on LinkedIn. Speak to a wider audience that include hiring managers, future bosses, and recruiters as well as peers, friends, and other professionals in your industry.

4. Be active on LinkedIn

If you have 7 connections and no photo uploaded, don't use your LinkedIn profile to apply for jobs. This would do more harm than good because you don't have any credibility built up. You need to be active on LinkedIn, with a full profile and a decent amount of connections.

Making connections on LinkedIn isn't difficult. You can search for your contacts via email and browse through your recommended connections for people you know. As you gain more visibility, people will want to connect with you. Don't accept all connection requests, however; be strategic about building your LinkedIn network.

My #1 tip for using LinkedIn to land a new job is to grow your network--strategically. The goal isn't to add everyone you know, or to have over 500 connections. Instead, I aim to connect only with people who are in my industry, at my experience level, or are doing something I admire.

Caitlin Proctor on OutWit Trade

You should also join groups that are relevant to your industry or the position you're targeting. Find the thought leaders in these groups and follow them. Comment on their posts with your thoughts, and share posts with your network to add more value. With a little invested effort, you will have a rich resource of active LinkedIn connections. You can use this network to offer advice, ask for job referrals, or get recommendations for your career.

5. Get endorsements and recommendations

Having colleagues and other professionals leave endorsements and recommendations will make your profile more compelling. This ties into a common marketing tactic: social proof. People are more likely to want or desire what other people want or desire. If lots of people think you're must be true!

The best way to get these endorsements and recommendations is by giving them to others. You will be surprised to see the number of people that will return the favor!

Endorse your former classmates' top skills. Recommend your co-workers based on their soft skills and group work. Ask your supervisor to recommend you based on your top skills--ideally, before you need to be looking for a new job.

Keep in mind that people look at your LinkedIn profile can see the recommendations you've received...and the ones you've written. Check out this post on writing a good LinkedIn recommendation, and resolve to write three high-quality recommendations this week.


You should use both your resume and LinkedIn profile when applying for a job whenever possible. Most jobs still require a resume, but most prospective employers and hiring managers will also want to see a solid LinkedIn profile before they interview you.

Remember to make the most of your LinkedIn, including:

  1. Incorporate relevant keywords from your industry and the jobs you're targeting

  2. Maintain your professional image through your profile picture, cover photo, and LinkedIn activity

  3. Don't copy and paste your resume; LinkedIn is used by a wider audience

  4. Stay active on LinkedIn to add value and to learn from your network

  5. Use endorsements and recommendations to build your social proof

If you need more advice, check out our professional resume writers who will help you craft that perfect LinkedIn profile and resume to land more interviews and dream job opportunities.

Good luck with your job search!

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Written by

ZipJob Team

The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.

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