A common mistake people make with their LinkedIn profile is simply copying everything from the resume and pasting it on LinkedIn.
The main problem with this logic is that your LinkedIn profile is not “just a resume”. In fact, resumes and LinkedIn profiles are quite different. For one thing, they are seen by many more people each day than your resume.
More so, people are viewing your LinkedIn profile on a “screen”, not paper, so the presentation has to change quite a bit. LinkedIn profiles are also part of a much bigger story that involves technology. However, below are the main differences you should be thinking about as you apply for jobs.
LinkedIn is the whole story | Resumes are tailored
LinkedIn profiles are a bit more fun because this is the place where you get to show every single job you had ever held in your life. You may even find a LinkedIn profile or two that shows a CEO started out flipping burgers at McDonald’s. The great thing about a LinkedIn profile is that it is a form of “media”, so you get to show off everything you have ever done.
Now, when it comes to your resume, each resume only needs to contain relevant information for the job to which you are applying. All of the small irrelevant jobs mean very little to companies by the time you get to executive level positions.
LinkedIn profiles can be informal | Resumes are typically formal
The fun part of LinkedIn profiles is that you get to add media you had created in the past and be a little looser about your experience. As mentioned before, you may see a CEO poke fun at himself for once winning “Employee of the Month” at a fast-food chain. What you are essentially doing is showing a bit of your personality with your LinkedIn profile. And that requires being a bit informal.
Resumes are still formal. When you submit for job applications you still have to be considered with applicant tracking systems and short attention spans of people reading resumes. Resumes are all about “business” and getting too informal on a resume will come across as awkward and out of place.
LinkedIn profiles require proof | Resumes are taken at face value
Have you ever looked at a LinkedIn profile and immediately thought, “This is spam”? This happens because as people, we are socially aware of when a person is being truthful or not. We are also socially aware of the behaviors of people within our industry.
So, if a LinkedIn profile is missing a picture and has a very strange attempt at a career description, you can assume it is just spam. Sometimes, the LinkedIn profile photo looks really old or taken from a Google search. There is just something “off” about the profile. It seems too staged. There is no “proof” the profile is owned by a real person.
Yet, oddly, we have become so aware that lying on a resume is inevitably a waste of time that resumes are often taken at face value. In today’s business world, it is easier to find out when a resume contains false information, and LinkedIn is one of the many tools to help fact check. More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to screen candidates.
Resumes do not (typically) include things like links to media, recommendations, or profile pictures. Yet, when such things appear on LinkedIn it adds a form of proof that a person is real, the work is legitimate, and they are viewed as someone who is great to work with. Such information is usually discovered during job interviews and a phone screening.
LinkedIn profiles requires social etiquette | Resumes require business etiquette
It is fairly easy to find a person who will help you write your resume. Business etiquette does not nearly change as much as LinkedIn has over the last 15 years. So, advice on resumes given five years ago may still hold some truth today.
However, LinkedIn is a social media platform first. This requires an understanding of how it works, what messages are being communicated and proper ways to network. It requires a form of “social business etiquette”.
Many people who do not pay attention to "social media" still focus on LinkedIn. The reason is that it is the most powerful online tool for business networking and job searching. And your resume, by itself, only reaches people when you send it too.
People who mean business tend to pay more attention to LinkedIn. Through all its design and technology changes over the years, LinkedIn has always been the best social media platform for people in search of work. And at some point, in all of our careers, we all need to search for work.