Is Your LinkedIn Profile More Accurate Than Your Resume?

Virtual Resume & Letter

Today’s blog post is influenced by an article I read from the comments made by LinkedIn at the Social Recruiting Summit.  Let me further expand the argument for the case of LinkedIn.

Like many others who have learned to embrace LinkedIn, I did so when I was in transition.  I realized that I had not been digging my well before I was thirsty, and I vowed to not only build up a larger network, but also to both stay in better touch with that network as well as provide more value to those in my network.

As I mentioned in my very first blog post “15 Ways to Grow Your LinkedIn Network”, you should always be filling out your profile for every company that you have worked for.  The reason being that not only will you find all of your past colleagues, but you will also be found by others looking for you, both people you used to work with as well as recruiters potentially looking for talent from a specific company.  The same goes for your past education.  And you obviously should have a crisp Summary at the top of your profile to introduce to the world who you are.

In terms of a resume, then, you should have the same Summary, Experience, and Education in a LinkedIn Profile that you would also have in that resume that you use when applying for a job.  What makes your LinkedIn Profile more accurate then?

  1. Your Profile Reveals More About Your Personality & Passions. Your LinkedIn Profile goes well beyond a resume in terms of giving you the ability to list your interests, associations, as well as display those LinkedIn Groups that hopefully you’ve become a member of.  People interested in learning more about you can glean glimpses of you in these sections.  Furthermore, if you are utilizing the Answers section to answer questions or even taking part in LinkedIn Groups discussions boards, anything that you went out of your way to respond to or help someone on reveals a little something about what makes you tick.  Your Status Update is also revealing something about you depending on what you write, and that is why I urge you not to use it to merely tell people that you are unemployed.
  2. Your LinkedIn Profile is More Socially Credible. Come on, anyone can pay someone to draft up a great resume.  But could you pay off all those executives and former managers who are putting their reputations on the line to write you a great Recommendation?  Probably not.  And to those who say you don’t want too many Recommendations, I say the more you have the more credibility you have, so long as your Recommendations are legit.
  3. Your LinkedIn Profile is Public Domain. You have connections in your profile that can be researched.  You are advertising yourself to the world, or at least the 40+ million members on LinkedIn.  If you are lying, your trusted connections, co-workers, or friends won’t let you get away with it.  With a resume, no one is checking it except for people on the other end who know nothing about you.  And, believe me, they are checking your LinkedIn Profile to make sure it matches up with your resume!  That’s right: the accuracy of your resume is being confirmed by your LinkedIn Profile.  That in itself should tell you how accurate your LinkedIn Profile is thought of as representing the real you.

So what should all of this mean to you?  You should be utilizing LinkedIn to the fullest to show off your strengths.  If not, it may be working against you if your competitors are doing so and you are still not displaying much of anything.  After all, in this day and age, what professional isn’t on LinkedIn?  And, if you’re on, you need 3 Recommendations in order to get to 100% profile completeness, so why would you avoid getting recommended by your ex-bosses and colleagues?  And don’t you want to show the world that you are at least social media savvy by having a complete LinkedIn Profile?  I heard a true story today of someone who got a $10,000 signing bonus because they were competent in social media.  That’s right, the ability to understand and utilize social media is something that companies who don’t understand it will pay for.

Start thinking about your LinkedIn Profile more seriously.  Brand it with keywords you want to be associated with and show off your interests and passions.  It will all add to a more accurate representation of who you are, and that can only work for your benefit.

Image provided by Olivier Charvel / http://www.flickr.com/photos/oliviercharavel/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

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Comments

  1. says

    I am a small Vancouver, Canada Importer of Organic wines from around the world. I need to be able to reach out to buyers in Seattle to help me move my wine and in turn I can source more wines for the Seattle market as they are the closest market to Vancouver. The Canadian government liquor stores are a monopoly and are resisting change because the major players do not want any competition from the Organic wineries.

    All suggestions appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Patrick Harris

    • says

      Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for your comment! I suggest that you join wine-related LinkedIn Groups and post a discussion on their boards or look for people in the wine industry in Seattle and try to contact them directly. That is what Windmill Networking is all about: creating and utilizing a virtual network in order to reach your objective. Best of luck with it and tell us how you do!

      - Neal

  2. says

    I am a small Vancouver, Canada Importer of Organic wines from around the world. I need to be able to reach out to buyers in Seattle to help me move my wine and in turn I can source more wines for the Seattle market as they are the closest market to Vancouver. The Canadian government liquor stores are a monopoly and are resisting change because the major players do not want any competition from the Organic wineries.

    All suggestions appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Patrick Harris

    • says

      Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for your comment! I suggest that you join wine-related LinkedIn Groups and post a discussion on their boards or look for people in the wine industry in Seattle and try to contact them directly. That is what Windmill Networking is all about: creating and utilizing a virtual network in order to reach your objective. Best of luck with it and tell us how you do!

      - Neal

  3. says

    Back on July 4, 2009, I posted a question on Craig Fisher’s blog at http://www.fishdogs.com/2009/04/top-10-things-to-leave-off-of-your.html where he lists the “top 10 things to leave off a resume”. Craig’s readers had recommended always leaving several things off a resume, such as your photo, MENSA affilication, and anything not relevant to the position for which you’re applying. So, I’d asked about the proper relationship between a resume and a LinkedIn profile:

    “Should a LinkedIn profile be as equally focused as a resume? Obviously you can’t tailor your LinkedIn profile to each job you’re applying for, since you may have multiple jobs applications pending at any time. If you’re open to jobs in different fields (e.g. engineering, teaching, writing) you could maintain multiple LinkedIn profiles, each with their own set of connections, but that seems unwieldy and against the spirit of LinkedIn. (I can’t imagine asking someone I know to recommend me on more than one of my profiles.) Should you not have a LinkedIn photo? Should you limit the groups you belong to on LinkedIn because they are related to hobbies, religious affiliation, Mensa, etc? Comments appreciated.”

    Your blog post today suggests that the value of a LinkedIn profile is that it gives a better and broader picture of you than a resume. I agree. I also want it to serve as my introduction for all sorts of work opportunities, not just software engineering. In performing my current job search and networking, I’m pointing people first to my LinkedIn profile; my business card and domain name both link to it (click on my name above this comment to view it). When applying for work as an software engineer, I supplement it with a traditional resume document that’s tightly targeted to embedded software engineering, but the header of my resume still states: “A paper resume is necessarily brief. My full profile is available on LinkedIn via: http://www.endymionsystems.com“.

    Neal, I’d like your feedback on my approach. If a potential software engineering employer sees my LinkedIn profile before or after they see my resume, will the broad nature of my LinkedIn profile obscure or detract from the capabilities I have as a software engineer? What about the idea of maintaining multiple LinkedIn profiles, each focusing on different achievements?

    • says

      Hi Wayne,

      I will cover this in more depth in my book which should be available for sale on Amazon the week of August 24 (hopefully!). Your resume is a static format that is fixed and limiting. Social media, on the other hand, is entirely in your hands…you can do with it as you please. So, when you are on LinkedIn, you need an objective and a brand, and ideally your LinkedIn Brand should strengthen what you talk about in your resume and also offer additional information (for instance, a Slideshare presentation of your work? etc.) to help sell yourself to the potential employer.

      It is because you can better show off your talent through a well-written LinkedIn profile (together with Recommendations, et. al.) that many people are telling potential employers to first go to their LinkedIn Profile. In fact, because employers will search for you first on LinkedIn anyway, I have a feeling that a resume is becoming more of a formality and the vision that people get from you comes from your profile.

      Case in point: In the past I have negotiated employment opportunities where I was found on LinkedIn and not even asked to submit a resume.

      Hope it’s all good food for thought. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Neal

  4. says

    Back on July 4, 2009, I posted a question on Craig Fisher’s blog at http://www.fishdogs.com/2009/04/top-10-things-to-leave-off-of-your.html where he lists the “top 10 things to leave off a resume”. Craig’s readers had recommended always leaving several things off a resume, such as your photo, MENSA affilication, and anything not relevant to the position for which you’re applying. So, I’d asked about the proper relationship between a resume and a LinkedIn profile:

    “Should a LinkedIn profile be as equally focused as a resume? Obviously you can’t tailor your LinkedIn profile to each job you’re applying for, since you may have multiple jobs applications pending at any time. If you’re open to jobs in different fields (e.g. engineering, teaching, writing) you could maintain multiple LinkedIn profiles, each with their own set of connections, but that seems unwieldy and against the spirit of LinkedIn. (I can’t imagine asking someone I know to recommend me on more than one of my profiles.) Should you not have a LinkedIn photo? Should you limit the groups you belong to on LinkedIn because they are related to hobbies, religious affiliation, Mensa, etc? Comments appreciated.”

    Your blog post today suggests that the value of a LinkedIn profile is that it gives a better and broader picture of you than a resume. I agree. I also want it to serve as my introduction for all sorts of work opportunities, not just software engineering. In performing my current job search and networking, I’m pointing people first to my LinkedIn profile; my business card and domain name both link to it (click on my name above this comment to view it). When applying for work as an software engineer, I supplement it with a traditional resume document that’s tightly targeted to embedded software engineering, but the header of my resume still states: “A paper resume is necessarily brief. My full profile is available on LinkedIn via: http://www.endymionsystems.com“.

    Neal, I’d like your feedback on my approach. If a potential software engineering employer sees my LinkedIn profile before or after they see my resume, will the broad nature of my LinkedIn profile obscure or detract from the capabilities I have as a software engineer? What about the idea of maintaining multiple LinkedIn profiles, each focusing on different achievements?

    • says

      Hi Wayne,

      I will cover this in more depth in my book which should be available for sale on Amazon the week of August 24 (hopefully!). Your resume is a static format that is fixed and limiting. Social media, on the other hand, is entirely in your hands…you can do with it as you please. So, when you are on LinkedIn, you need an objective and a brand, and ideally your LinkedIn Brand should strengthen what you talk about in your resume and also offer additional information (for instance, a Slideshare presentation of your work? etc.) to help sell yourself to the potential employer.

      It is because you can better show off your talent through a well-written LinkedIn profile (together with Recommendations, et. al.) that many people are telling potential employers to first go to their LinkedIn Profile. In fact, because employers will search for you first on LinkedIn anyway, I have a feeling that a resume is becoming more of a formality and the vision that people get from you comes from your profile.

      Case in point: In the past I have negotiated employment opportunities where I was found on LinkedIn and not even asked to submit a resume.

      Hope it’s all good food for thought. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Neal

  5. says

    Thanks for your comment. Of course, when you apply for a job, you still need a hard-copy resume. But the time where you may be able to be hired just on the merits of your LinkedIn profile, especially if it is in the “hidden job market”, may not be that far away…

  6. says

    Thanks for your comment. Of course, when you apply for a job, you still need a hard-copy resume. But the time where you may be able to be hired just on the merits of your LinkedIn profile, especially if it is in the “hidden job market”, may not be that far away…

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