Career Advice

The Value Of Writing A LinkedIn Profile That's Different From Your Resume

An executive job seeker recently inquired: “How important do you think it is for me to have a LinkedIn profile?”

I replied: VERY!

I explained that recruiters, hiring decision makers and other executives and board members with influence and hiring authority are sleuthing around LinkedIn daily. More than 135 million professional members subscribe to LinkedIn!

Some who are recruiting feel LinkedIn is THE best tool for locating candidates. I personally think it is a KEY site for visibility and in which to engage (via Groups, etc.) – one of only several that must not be overlooked in any professional job search.

Once you’ve embraced the idea that LinkedIn is vital to your career, the next step is creating a new, or enhancing your existing LinkedIn profile. Most profiles I view are incomplete, plain vanilla, lackluster and quite frankly, boring. The likelihood, I fear, is LOW that your current LinkedIn profile maximizes the opportunity to market your value and engage the reader.

The first question, and several follow-on questions you must know the answer to before delving into a revamp of your LinkedIn profile follow:

Question 1: Is there a difference between what’s on LinkedIn and what’s in your resume?

Answer: YES – in fact, the LinkedIn profile should not be considered a mini-me resume; you should not simply funnel your current resume into the LinkedIn walls.

Question 2: But why?

Answer: Several reasons exist why pushing your resume content into the LinkedIn profile is a no-no.

  1. If your resume is content-rich, you will run into character-count barriers. LinkedIn limits the number of characters that can be included in each section. For example, if you try to push more characters into the Summary section than allowed, your career summary will cut off midstream, creating an incomplete message.
  2. LinkedIn is a terrific resource for hiring decision makers, recruiters, executives, human resource professionals and other influencers to locate you and learn a bit more about you.

However, the likelihood is HIGH that they will request of you a Word-formatted resume once you are communicating outside of LinkedIn. To send them an exact duplicate of your LinkedIn profile is redundant.

Add value in each and every document you create for your job search, whether on or offline. This particularly holds true with the Resume versus LinkedIn debate. Though their message and content may cross over, they are distinctly different communication channels. Leverage them well, and effectively. Differentiate yourself with each message.

Question 3: HOW do I distinguish the content in my resume versus my LinkedIn profile?

Answer:  Initially, the most powerful area in which to distinguish yourself is via your LinkedIn Summary. My tack is to create a first-person narrative that weaves your personality into your concrete value proposition, spurring an emotional appeal. In other words, knit warmth and passion into your factual, and bottom-line focused message.

Depending upon your target audience, ways you may speak to that passion and trigger reader emotion could be to write about your leadership attitude and style; your committed behavior and risk-taking nature as it relates to surmounting mountainous obstacles; or your creativity in sculpting strategies for team initiatives. These are just a few examples. Brainstorm to drill down what makes YOU unique.

An example of an Operations Executive client’s LinkedIn Summary that I recently wrote follows. Note that this content complements, versus, duplicates, his Resume Summary:

In a future post, I will expand upon the other critical sections of your LinkedIn profile and my thoughts on the best practices of HOW to populate those areas, compellingly extending your value proposition!