Last month, my fellow Glassdoor blogger Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter wrote why job seekers and employees shouldn’t place more importance on a LinkedIn profile than a paper resume. She contended that, because LinkedIn profiles are limited (by design and character count), uniform across all profiles, and essentially owned by (and therefore, at the mercy of) a corporation, they’re generally not as valuable as a paper resume.
While these are certainly legitimate concerns, job seekers should also consider a few reasons why their online profiles can often be more valuable than a paper resume:
1. Your online profile gives a more comprehensive view of who you are. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to easily link to other sites where employers can get a broader image of who you are, like a personal Twitter, website, blog, video resume, or anything else you can hyperlink to. LinkedIn and other online profile platforms provide a space where employers can easily access more information about you in just one click.
2. Online profiles are more flexible. Although Jacqui contended that all online profiles look alike, they actually provide a better outlet for users to express their creativity than a paper resume. LinkedIn allows you to upload examples of your work, which hiring managers can click through without having to hold onto a bulky portfolio.
3. Paper resumes don’t allow you to network. The beauty of LinkedIn and online professional profiles in general is that they afford a quick and easy opportunity to connect with another individual if they like what they see. After all, paper resumes don’t have an accessible “connect” or “send message” button to click when a candidate’s resume stands out. When connecting is quick and easy, chances are you’ll be more likely to follow through cementing professional connections. Sites like LinkedIn make resumes interactive, and that can often make a world of difference when it comes to the job search.
4. Online profiles are easier to update. Paper resumes require upkeep just like a professional online profile, but it can be hard to keep up with a paper document. Sites like LinkedIn take care of formatting for you, so it’s easy to switch things around and change the wording at the very moment you see fit. Paper resumes often must be re-formatted and printed each time you want to make an edit. Although this is just a slight undertaking, it can mean the difference between having an updated resume that’s ready to go at the drop of a hat (like when a hiring manager or networking contact unexpectedly emails you) rather than holding onto an outdated document.
5. Online profiles are environmentally friendly. This is a no-brainer, but that doesn’t make it less important. Who needs to waste paper printing out a million versions of their resume and work samples? Go online with your resume and save trees. While you definitely need to be prepared to have a paper copy of your work, in the digital age this simply isn’t as urgent. Many, many companies ask for a resume to be emailed prior to offering an interview, so there’s no need to waste time printing out multiple documents until you really need them.
While paper resumes are certainly still valuable, online profiles shouldn’t be trivialized, either. Online profiles often provide a much more comprehensive view of your professional self, and allow for opportunities to connect with others. Job seekers would do well to keep this in mind for their job search.
Do you think an online profile is just as valuable as a paper resume? Why or why not? Let us know below.