10 Differences Between a Resume and a LinkedIn Profile You Should Know About

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There has been a lot of talk among the recruiting experts on whether traditional resume isn’t becoming outdated in the age of Linkedin. Without a doubt, we live in the world of social media and even the professional sphere couldn’t escape this trend.

Needless to say, LinkedIn has changed the job search as well as the hiring process. In the past, the recruiters had nothing at their disposal about the candidate than his or her resume and a cover letter.

Today, after the hiring manager reads your resume, they will go and check you on Linkedin before your other social media pages.

You might think that a LinkedIn profile is just an online version of a resume. However, there are plenty of differences between the two. Despite the fact that LinkedIn has become widely popular and almost necessary when you’re looking for a job, job seeking still hangs on a static, “offline” resume.

In order to get hired, you should make sure both your resume and your LinkedIn profile are promoting you and your skills in the best light. For that, you should know in what way are the two different.

Here are 10 key differences between a resume and a LinkedIn profile:

1. Different purpose

Quite obviously, the purpose of a resume is to get an interview and get hired. Though headhunters often use LinkedIn to hire people, it’s main goal is to keep you connected with other people from your industry and to help you stay in the loop about what’s going on in your area of expertise.

Even though both resume and LinkedIn profile summarize your professional career, LinkedIn works more like a general overview of all your knowledge, skills and experiences, while the goal of a resume is to match your competences with the job offer you’re sending your resume for.

2. Dynamics

LinkedIn offers a much richer experience to the viewer than a resume. Resume is static and contains only limited information that’s related to the requirements of the job in question. Opposite to that, LinkedIn is dynamic and ever-changing thanks to your constant online activity.

Also, while resume is a communication merely between you and the hiring manager, your LinkedIn profile is shaped by a third party as well – your connections. Other people can contribute to the dynamics of your profile: they can endorse you for your skills, write recommendations for you or share and comment on content you publish.

3. Universality vs. creativity

LinkedIn’s universality is one of the downfalls of this social network. Since every profile looks the same, standing out from the crowd is pretty hard on LinkedIn. It’s easier to distinguish yourself and be noticed with your resume’s unique design, layout, or wording.

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4. Relevance

In terms of relevance, a resume and LinkedIn vary greatly. While on your LinkedIn profile you usually include all of your previous and current career info, a resume should contain only the information relevant to the job offer you’re applying for.

Like we said earlier, LinkedIn is not a job site. It is resume’s purpose to find you a job, so each resume should be tailored to a specific job offer. This means you should highlight the most relevant skills and leave out the fluff. Only after the hiring manager reads your resume, he or she might want to check for some additional details about you on LinkedIn.

5. Length and info

Since resume should contain only details related to the job position you’re applying for, you should keep it one to two pages long. When it comes to LinkedIn, there is no limit on how long your profile should be. It can also contain plenty of extra material such as links, videos, presentations or your publications.

LinkedIn profile’s length and scope is one of the reasons why resumes still dominate the hiring process. It usually takes hiring managers less than ten seconds to examine the candidate and going over their LinkedIn profile would be a bit time-inefficient.

6. One LinkedIn vs. more resumes

Since resume serves to land you a job (and you rarely apply for just one job), you should always have more than one resume. In fact, you should write as many resumes as jobs you plan to apply for. Every resume must be specifically tailored to the job offer and designed in a way suitable to your industry. On the contrary, you always have only one LinkedIn profile that you just keep updated for new details.

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7. Photo

Not too long ago, including a photo on a resume was a usual practice. Now, it’s not favored by the hiring managers for it can lead to bias and discrimination. On the other hand, LinkedIn profile contains a photo by default. It’s optional, of course, but profiles including photos look more professional in the eyes of recruiters.

Be careful about your photo selection: it should be a professional headshot, “facebook-like” profile pictures are out of bonds. On LinkedIn, you can also add a background photo to your profile. Choose one that isn’t disturbing and goes well with the industry you work in.

8. Publicity vs. Privacy

In the online world, nothing is really private. Some people may not feel comfortable with publishing certain information for anyone to see on LinkedIn. Your resume, on the other hand, is a private communication between you and your potential employer. Since the newest trends in resume writing recommend not to disclose any personal details such as race, religious beliefs, age, marital status or address, there rarely are privacy issues with resumes.

Publicity of LinkedIn has one big advantage, though: Headhunters and recruiters often use LinkedIn to contact interesting people. Your professional overview is publicly available so you might get a great job offer even without having to send your resume anywhere.

9. Focus vs. generality

While your LinkedIn says: “Look at what I’ve done in my career so far, this is what I can do and what I know”, your resume should be saying: “My skills and previous work experiences make me an ideal candidate for you. Here’s how your company will benefit from hiring me.”

Not only should your resume be tailored specifically to each job, you should avoid being too general in your resume. It is important to choose the right wording and structure. Unlike in your LinkedIn profile, your resume should address the hiring manager directly and communicate a different message to the one who reads it.

10. Keywords

Even though headhunters use advanced search for keywords in LinkedIn profiles, you have only limited options to match your profile with any particular job. Choosing the right keywords is much easier in resumes, since every job opening contains plenty of keywords and phrases you can use.

Also, some companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that search for the keywords the right candidate should have in his or her resume.


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Author: Katka Mrvova

I am the Head Copywriter and Blogger at Kickresume – Professional Resume Builder trusted by over 400000 Job-seekers. Kickresume helps you to create an outstanding resume, cover letter or personal web in minutes. Try one of our beautiful resume designs and land your dream job!
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