While word continues to spread about the value of LinkedIn for working professionals, there are still some individuals who seem to be under the impression resumes and LinkedIn profiles are mutually exclusive. There is a myth that states if one has an up-to-date resume, a LinkedIn profile is rendered useless, or vice versa. In reality, these two tools are equally important (and very different) for a person who is in the midst of a job search.
LinkedIn is an important resource for online recruiters, which means that it’s a great way for a job seeker to catch the eye of someone who is helping with the hiring of new personnel for a particular organization. Your LinkedIn profile should be updated and keyword-heavy, as well as completely filled out.
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What does LinkedIn offer you that a traditional resume doesn’t? A number of things, including:
- The chance to show off your work: LinkedIn includes a handy feature that allows you to link to your professional portfolio or other work online. This gives an interested person the chance to see exactly what you’ve created in the past. Take advantage of this and make it easy for a profile visitor to access samples of the pieces you’ve worked on over the course of your career.
- The chance to get recommendations: While your resume may have a “references available upon request” thrown in at the bottom (delete that—it’s implied), LinkedIn allows you to actually show off these recommendations. Ask a former employer or internship coordinator for a recommendation and see if former colleagues would be willing to write you one, too. This better displays a three-dimensional profile of who you are.
- The ability to expand upon your past: Resumes typically only go back 10 years, which can be limiting if you’ve had a long career. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s longer format and fill in the gaps. Also, many hiring managers are looking for people with specific training. Companies like Xerox and IBM are well-known for their extensive training programs, so if you’ve participated in one of these sessions, then mentioning it on your LinkedIn profile could catch a hiring manager’s eye. Even if you haven’t been with a company like Xerox for several years, make mention of whatever training you acquired. If a recruiter is doing a keyword search for it, you’ll show up.
Ideally, your LinkedIn profile and your traditional resume will complement each other. Whereas a resume is helping with outbound marketing (when you apply for a job, for example), LinkedIn is more about drawing hiring managers to you and your profile. Both should showcase your skills, past work experience and successes, but a LinkedIn page affords you the opportunity to showcase a little more depth with regard to what you can do. Keep your paper resume around and updated, but don’t brush off the importance of getting active on LinkedIn, too.
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