Good LinkedIn profiles and resumes have a lot in common. Both should be highly targeted and keyword-rich, with concise, achievement-focused bullet points and a powerful summary section that showcases leads. Because of these similarities, copying powerful content from your resume directly into your LinkedIn profile is generally a good idea. Yet, in some situations, you will want to take a different approach to your profile content, due to the following differences between the two mediums.
A single LinkedIn profile versus multiple CV versions
You should only have one LinkedIn account and profile, to avoid confusing your network and diminishing LinkedIn’s ability to help you. On the other hand, you will want to have a different resume for each job targetthat is, every combination of job description and organization type.
If you have multiple job goals, you’ll need to decide if you want to write your LinkedIn profile more broadly to encompass them all or more narrowly. With the first approach, you’ll broaden your profile’s appeal, but you’ll also tone down your pitch for any of those individual targets. With the latter approach, you’ll create a stronger pitch for a specific target audience while limiting your appeal to just that audience.
I recommend writing your profile only for your main target (i.e. copying and pasting from your resume) if it won’t “cost” you too much. By cost, I mean either missed opportunities or puzzled looks from your boss or co-workers wondering why your profile says something very different than what you currently do. For example, a client who was a financial controller wanted to move into an IT role, so on her resume we focused on her IT background. But on her profile, it was necessary to emphasize both her experience in finance and IT so as not to alarm her current colleagues that she was in search.
Your profile has greater visibility than your CV
Far fewer people will see your CV than will see your profile. Higher visibility on LinkedIn means it’s much more likely that a current or previous employer will see your profile. If you’ve brought specific results from your resume that they might consider inappropriate to share or a breach of privacy, you can edit that content on your profile. For example, one client changed their resume achievement from “Increased revenue by $37 million” to “Increased revenue by 17%.” He could also have changed it to “Dramatically increased income”.
LinkedIn is a social media
LinkedIn’s social component allows you to optionally use personal pronouns, as in “I led my team in the making…” instead of the resume approach: “I led the team in the making… Also, depending on the nature of your job, you might want to add something more personal to the “About” section beyond what’s in the Resume Summary section. For example, one of my clients wrote “I am very proud of all that our team has accomplished around…”
What I recommend you don’t do on LinkedIn is use the third person, for example, “Robert Hellmann led his team in making…” Social media is by definition about building relationships. Using the third person is not conducive to relationship building and may indicate that you don’t understand the medium very well.
Having a LinkedIn profile does not mean that you are looking for a job.
Having a CV suggests a job search, while having a LinkedIn profile does not. So, should you indicate on your profile that you are looking for a job? With the exception of some job search parameters on LinkedIn that are not clearly visible, the answer is no.
Some LinkedIn Profile Sections Do Not Exist in Resumes
Be sure to complete as many sections as possible, including those that don’t have an equivalent on your resume. If you do, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search for interview candidates and strengthen your first impression.