Where Does Your Resume End and Your LinkedIn Profile Begin?


In today’s digital world, it is easy to think platforms like LinkedIn have completely diminished the importance of traditional resumes. However, they both have their purpose.

Recruiters and hiring managers will look at both your LinkedIn profile and your resume. There will be some differences and some similarities between these two documents, but used effectively, they can be complementary and highly powerful tools.

Here is some advice on the important differences and overlap between your LinkedIn profile and your resume:

1. Summary Section

Don’t make the mistake of simply copying and pasting the text from your resume to your LinkedIn profile. A hiring manager may think you aren’t taking your job search seriously, or they may view you as lazy or uncreative, or they may assume you don’t understand the purpose of LinkedIn.

On Your Resume

Job seekers — especially executives — tend to write extensive summaries, thinking they need to include everything they’ve ever done. However, your resume summary should really be short and to the point. You want to add a little personality so it doesn’t come across as dull and generic, and you want to put just enough information in your summary to make a recruiter or potential employer curious to know more about you.

Include in your summary some quantifiable results that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. That way, the potential employer will see that your past accomplishments are transferable to this new role. Incorporate an award or recognition you’ve received to further set yourself apart from other candidates.

On LinkedIn

Here is where it gets fun. You can do a lot with your LinkedIn summary. Make it interesting and conversational, preferably written in the first person. The reader should feel like they are getting to know you as they read your summary.

Think of your LinkedIn summary as a way to pull back the curtain and give a recruiter or hiring manager a glimpse of who you are outside of your resume. It is a place to talk in more detail about your specific strengths, what you bring to the table, and your career history up to this point. You can also include an accomplishment or anything else that makes you stand out.

Keep in mind that you have 2,000 characters for your summary, and start out strong to grab people’s attention. The first two sentences are especially critical, as they will either motivate a person to keep reading or convince them to close the window and check out another profile instead. At the end of the summary, reiterate how your passion and expertise help people succeed and how your success has translated into success for your company. Making the last sentence or two impactful will make your profile summary more memorable.

2. Communication Style

Each platform has its own unique style, and as such, each document should be written differently.

On Your Resume

When you write a resume, you need to use a formal tone. Your resume should speak to business details and keep things succinct.

On LinkedIn

Recruiters and hiring managers will look at your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you as a person, so your profile should be more informal and personable than your resume. In other words, when a person reads your LinkedIn summary and then hears you speak, they should be able to easily identify you as the same person across both interactions. Of course, you don’t want to mistake an informal voice for being unprofessional. There are creative ways to make your LinkedIn profile both professional and informal.

3. Work Experience, Skills, and Accomplishments

This is one of the rare instances in which both your resume and your LinkedIn profile should follow roughly the same rules. Both documents need to highlight your skills, past jobs, projects, and accomplishments in a way that highlights your value as a professional. You also need to be sure you are incorporating the right keywords into both your resume and your profile so that you will show up in search results and pass applicant tracking system screens.

There is a fine line between your resume and your LinkedIn profile, but both documents are necessary for a successful job hunt.

Generally, a resume should focus on business details, while a LinkedIn profile should be more conversational and place more emphasis on how you accomplish things. LinkedIn also allows for a bigger picture of your previous achievements and work experiences, whereas your resume must be concise.

Ideally, your executive resume and LinkedIn profile should combine to give an employer a clear picture of who you are both professionally and personally.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.

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