LinkedIn: your digital resume?

Why do we still use resumes?

Many LinkedIn users see their LinkedIn profile as their online resume. At first glance, this seems reasonable: they both help you tell your professional story and present yourself to potential employers. Both your LinkedIn profile and your resume are intended for professional use only, and both are important tools in building your personal brand. Yet it is important not to see your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. In fact, there are a few important differences between the two. In this article I will present the five most important differences.


Difference 1: Different message

First, your resume should be more specific than your LinkedIn profile. Your resume should always be tailor-made. It should be written with one specific job in mind. Your LinkedIn profile gives a more general picture of you as a professional. Moreover, on your LinkedIn profile you have more space for information than on your resume and you can make more use of images, for example. So your LinkedIn profile is suited to more general information about you, while your resume is suited to more specific information.


Difference 2: Different audience

Second, your resume is read by fewer people than your LinkedIn profile. Basically, you only send your resume to the companies you want to apply to. So your resume is only read by specific recruiters and hiring managers. Your LinkedIn profile is accessible to everyone and it’s possible that your profile is viewed by ten recruiters in one week. That means your LinkedIn profile should appeal to a broader audience than your resume.


Difference 3: Experimentation

Third, you can’t experiment as much on your resume as you can on your LinkedIn profile. You only send your resume once to a company you want to apply to. The version you send is the final version for that application process. You can constantly update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn offers you the chance to experiment with certain wording, certain descriptions and certain photos. Your resume doesn’t give you that chance.


Difference 4: Proof

Fourth, on your resume, you are less likely to have to provide evidence for your claims than on your LinkedIn profile. What you say about yourself on your resume, is in principle taken for granted by the reader. You give the proof for your claims in a job interview, among other things. Since LinkedIn is a social medium, there is more room for e.g. recommendations and references from others. Other LinkedIn users can choose to confirm what you say about yourself on your profile. This is of course not possible on your resume.


Difference 5: Privacy

Fifth, you can put more sensitive information on your resume than on your LinkedIn profile. This goes without saying: since everyone has access to your LinkedIn profile, it is not smart to publish sensitive information online. In your resume this is possible to a certain extent. However, take legal and ethical issues into account and avoid providing information that is too personal.


The right tools at the right time

All in all it is important to make a distinction between what you write on your LinkedIn profile and what you write on your resume. Both tools are important in building your personal brand, but both play a unique role. You should keep the purpose of each tool in mind when using it.