If you have any experience with the job-search process in today’s marketplace, then you probably know how important LinkedIn has become. It’s a competitive market out there, and tools like LinkedIn are essential for ensuring that you stand out.
Unfortunately, many job candidates are not quite sure how to effectively manage this new platform. Too many believe that their profile should be just another version of their resume. In fact, job seekers often copy and paste content from their resume into their LinkedIn profile. That’s a mistake!
To avoid that mistake, you need to understand the difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile. That's what this article is all about.
Top 3 differences for resumes vs. LinkedIn profiles
1. Resumes are tailored for each job application; LinkedIn profiles aren't
We always advise job-seekers to tailor their resumes to the individual job. That’s always the best way to ensure that you highlight the right skills for that position. After all, two different job opportunities might require a dramatically different approach.
Now, you might assume that you should do the same thing with your LinkedIn profile – but you’d be wrong. One key difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile is that the latter does not need such tailoring.
That’s because your LinkedIn profile has a different job than your resume. Your resume provides employers with the basic information they need to see that you deserve an interview. In contrast, your LinkedIn profile is there to supplement your resume.
It does that by enhancing your brand and showcasing you as a real person. That means taking a more expansive approach in your profile. Tailoring it to individual jobs could make it less attractive to others.
This also means that you can rely on a set group of recommendations and references as well. Try to get recommendations from old co-workers, satisfied bosses, and colleagues, and fill your profile with them. You can also focus on getting skill endorsements to show just how much of an expert you really are.
For more on how LinkedIn sections differ from your resume, check out our other great article on the topic: The Difference Between a Resume and LinkedIn Summary.
2. LinkedIn profiles tell your whole professional story
Your resume is, at its core, a messaging document designed to grab an employer’s attention. Resumes tend to be relatively brief, fact-focused, and to the point. They are not a vehicle that provide much opportunity for building your personal narrative.
That’s a key difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile. With the latter, you have more room to tell your story in an informative and compelling way. You can offer more details and provide greater context for your achievements.
So, what does that mean? To begin with, you can include more detailed information--and links or other visuals--about projects that you worked on. You can better describe the challenges that you were tasked with overcoming, and how your solutions benefited past employers.
You can use more colorful and vivid language to give your story flavor. In addition, you can also include details that you might otherwise reserve for the interview. For example, instead of a dry resume description like, “Charged with overseeing development of new marketing campaign,” your LinkedIn profile can say:
“In 2016, the ABC Corp management decided to address slowing growth by creating a new campaign that would target the 18 to 25-year-old demographic. Because I had designed a similar campaign at my previous job, leadership tapped me to head up the new project. Four months later, we had grown our share of that demographic market by 32%, which had an immediate impact on the company’s bottom line.”
Example of writing resumes vs. LinkedIn profiles
Let's take a look at how your LinkedIn profile is written differently than your resume. Remember that the resume is more detailed and more tailored. Your resume should contain only information relevant to the position you're applying to. You can include some of these achievements under your LinkedIn work experience section but they should be a brief summary.
Director of Sales, Southwest Region - Millennial Media | Los Angeles, CA ---------- Aug 2015 – Present
Led a team of two account executives. Together we managed a portfolio of 50+ clients and agencies. Our client base consisted of Fortune 500 companies from a wide range industries, including Entertainment, Auto, Technology, Fashion, Technology, and Travel.
Launched the company’s first app download campaign with a re-targeting strategy resulting in a two-day $500K package.
Managed risk by partnering with clients and other stake holders for a seamless campaign launch.
Achieved sales pacing of 70% for the year a 150% year-over-year increase in annual revenue to $7.5M.
Built relationships to foster better communication between the sales and operations teams, including weekly calls to collaborate on campaigns that resulted in a 33% increase in performance.
Streamlined client communication to be more responsive and timeline management that increased staff productivity.
Now let's see how this can be summarized for LinkedIn:
Led a team that managed a 50+ client portfolio, launching the firm’s first app download campaign while partnering with stakeholders to minimize risk and streamline client communication. Increased annual revenue by 150%, and team performance by 33%.
3. Your LinkedIn profile can help personalize you
The final main difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile may be the most significant of all: use your profile to reveal a more personal side of yourself. For while your resume offers a host of facts to outline your qualifications, your LinkedIn profile includes your face, your full employment history, and your connections.
LinkedIn provides a forum for you to showcase yourself as a person. To properly leverage that benefit, though, you should keep a few things in mind:
Avoid too-formal language on your profile. While you want to be professional, you should do so using a more conversational tone.
Don’t use third-person language. That works for the resume, but LinkedIn readers want to hear your voice.
Include plenty of details that wouldn’t ordinarily make it into a resume. LinkedIn is a great place to address things like why you chose your industry, how you got your start, and your inspirations.
Remember: readers should be able to feel your passion. If you don't care, neither will they.
LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool to enhance your job search efforts...but only if you use it properly. By learning the difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile, you can more effectively leverage its potential. So, learn the differences and take advantage of all that the platform has to offer!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers and career experts located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.