Resumes (in some form or other) have been around for almost as long as people have looked for jobs. Rumor has it that Leonardo da Vinci created the first professional profile in 1492. In the early days, resumes were mostly used as a letter of introduction. Fast forward to the early 1900s and resumes started to look much like today’s resumes. Before the digital age, resumes were typed and then brought to a printer. People would go to company HR offices and apply for jobs in person (or answer ads in the local paper. Resumes evolved along with the digital age, and are now typically used as attachments to emails, uploaded to websites or posted on online job search sites.
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 as a way to connect with other professionals. By 2006, LinkedIn became the “de facto” online professional profile. LinkedIn quickly became one of the most powerful job search and professional networking sites on the Internet. LinkedIn is generally the first place recruiters and HR professionals look when trying to find qualified candidates.
Has the LinkedIn profile replaced the resume? Not by a long shot. Your resume is still the single most important document you will have in your career. Simply put, your resume is your heavy duty marketing tool and LinkedIn is your job search social network and job search tool. Following is a look at the major differences and uses of these two resources.
Your resume should be generally one to two pages depending on the number of years experience you have. Your resume focuses on your job experience and your education. Your resume should be structured in a way that allows the reader to skim in a minute or two to see if there is a potential match between your work experience and the opportunity.
[related material – 5 Steps to a Great Resume]
A LinkedIn profile is meant to be researched and lingered upon; as such, there is a lot of additional information buried several clickable layers deep, providing a very dense presentation of a job seeker’s personality and accomplishments. The profile has links to colleges, companies, groups, skills, recommendations and people in a job seeker’s personal and professional network.
As a result, not only is the LinkedIn profile longer, but it is more thorough. It is so thorough that it includes a website builder so you can create a page for your resume and link to it through your profile; this suggests that the profile includes and transcends the resume. Therefore, you should not just copy and paste information from your resume to your profile. Instead, make your profile distinct. Because it is less formal and part of a social network, you can add more personality. For example, you can add a personal statement, a summary and a photo. Photographs generally are not recommended for a resume nor is there room for superfluous elements (although the vast majority of LinkedIn profiles include a picture).
LinkedIn profiles comes with an array of features that job seekers can use to make a profile more exciting. For example, job seekers can edit the profile to attach videos or PowerPoint slideshows.
Instead of just talking about where you went to college or graduate school and your G.P.A, you can use your profile to attach your dissertation or other class work (not suggested for very experienced job seekers). Furthermore, you can link to a network of alumni and coworkers. A resume doesn’t have these utilities.
While a resume can include a link to a website or email address, a LinkedIn profile has a far more sophisticated link structure. It can automatically link to any official entity mentioned in a profile. This is helpful for job seekers because if they mention an obscure employer or professional association, a recruiter can easily find out how big the entity is, where it’s located as well as the industry and business focus.
Links to references are also useful. Most resumes only have room to say that references are available on request. LinkedIn profiles permit job seekers to request recommendations for each job position and quantifies the number of recommendations received right underneath each position along with a link for a hiring manager to read them.
The extensive usability of the LinkedIn profile allows for an unprecedented level of documentation, making the hiring process more efficient for all parties.
Functioning as social media, the LinkedIn profile is also interactive– something a resume is not. Through the profile, job seekers and hiring managers can invite each other to connect, send messages, participate in group discussions or share endorsements.
Compared to LinkedIn profiles, resumes are more superficial and less verifiable. It is just your word, whereas the profile contains the endorsements of additional parties whose professional status can also be researched and verified. Because the profile shows a job seeker’s relationship to and praise from former colleagues, classmates and supervisors, it offers some proof of the associations, experience and education that an applicant claims. Many recruiters and hiring managers, use the LinkedIn profile to cross check and confirm a job seeker’s identity and claims. To recruiters, if a person is not in the database, he or she isn’t a credible job seeker. That’s how powerful the LinkedIn profile has become.
In the end, the profile is not a replacement for the resume. Every job seeker can benefit by preparing both tools and keeping them updated.
Career Tip of the Day: 5 Tips for Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile
Suggested Reading: How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… And 18 Mistakes to Avoi
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