Do you wish there was a one-stop resume shop online? Maybe you could just type in a URL, enter a few bullets and voila, your resume would appear. Ever so often thereafter, you could pop in and add a bullet or two that touts your newest achievement. Easy peasy.
- Resumes Are Owned by LinkedIn, Ultimately. Yes, once you’ve signed up for a URL, in theory, you own it until you relinquish it. But the reality is, the LinkedIn site is owned by a corporate entity, not you. Everyone should have their own personal resume that is offline, portable, and easily accessible, and not at risk of evaporating or morphing by powers outside of your control.
- Resumes Are Confined by Character Count Rules. Each section has a certain number of characters you can use. Once you’ve populated those, your storytelling ceases. For example, the following describes several sections and their character restrictions: Professional Headline–120 characters; the Summary–2,000 characters; and each Position Description–2,000 characters. While the character counts, at a glance, seem fairly adequate, they do limit creativity and flexibility. Not every resume is alike, and fleshing out your Position Description stories may require more than the allotted number of characters. Marketing your unique value to ABC Company may require you to expand more in one section than another. One size does not fit all.
- Resumes Offer Limited Design Capabilities. For example, if you want to embed a chart or graph directly into the Summary section to promptly wow the reader, you cannot. Yes, you can create SlideShares and other visual displays, as attachments to your LinkedIn profile, but that tactic is not as seamless, flexible or visually malleable as sliding your image directly into the design. While you can add, subtract and move sections around, you cannot create unique titles or distinctively design how your sections are presented – they are pre-programmed. As well, LinkedIn resumes do not allow bold-facing or color. If you want to emphasize a few words, a headline or a phrase, you can’t press a boldfacing button, apply unique fonts or incorporate dashes of color. A LinkedIn resume pales in comparison to some of the more intrepid, nuanced and graphically designed resumes that are created in Word.
- Resumes All Look Alike. Regardless of the finessing you perform to develop a distinguishing look—even if you cleverly paste in specially designed bullets to introduce your achievements, rearrange sections, add SlideShares or Box.net files and so forth, your profile, at a glance, will visually look like the next candidate’s profile and the next, and so forth. It’s part and parcel to using a pre-programmed style.
- Sometimes Too Public. You may be more willing to divulge certain information in a privately submitted resume than you would via a publicly published LinkedIn profile. Particularly, if you are currently employed, you may opt to use your LinkedIn profile as a marketing vehicle for your current company to expand their visibility. In other words, if you are currently employed, your message may be slanted more toward selling your value to your clients, to strategic partners and such, while your offline, Word, resume can directly tout your value to a new job at a different company.
Writing and maintaining a focused and persuasive resume is essential to your career and job search movement. While the initial process can seem daunting, don’t let this derail your efforts. LinkedIn’s resume builder may seem like the easy button to job search success; it’s not. Take the time, and make the intellectual effort to first build a robust, meaningful and convincing Word resume, and then use that content to flesh out your online profiles.