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July 25, 2016

LinkedIn Blog Series: How LinkedIn Should Differ From Your Resume

By Tom Liszka

LinkedIn-ResumeRaise your hand if you have copy and pasted your Microsoft Word resume into LinkedIn… I would guess that a majority of you raised your hand. I get it. It is very easy to do something like this when you have perfected your resume and are feeling pretty good about what you have down on paper. It’s only natural to jump to your LinkedIn profile and share it with your connections. However, as Bob Dylan sang, the times they are-a changin’.

If your LinkedIn profile is line for line the same as your paper copy resume, consider this your wake-up call for how to get the most out of the social network. LinkedIn is your opportunity to share your career history in a way that only you can do. So before you copy and paste, let’s take a look at some interesting ways to build your personal brand.

First of all, your LinkedIn profile should tell a bigger story about yourself. This is the place for all the stuff you couldn’t fit on your one-page resume. Go into detail. Provide context. Paint pictures. For example, let’s focus on the professional experience section. You have what seems like an unlimited character field to give the viewer a look into the winding roads that can’t be covered in your resume due to lack of space. Instead of using bullet points (I'm guilty), share more about your work, including your portfolio, projects, and skills.

You can see from my profile that I am very bullet point heavy, but this is an opportunity for me to change that. Here is a side-by-side comparison of what my resume says and what my LinkedIn could say…

Resume
“Increased social media engagement by 192 percent in one year.”

LinkedIn
“I accepted a social media position with the Creating IT Futures Foundation after successfully managing CompTIA’s social networks for five years. My previous experience helped me make an immediate impact, as I was able to grow our social media engagement by 192 percent by…”

The LinkedIn option is more appealing, and while there is no room for it on the physical copy of your resume, it fits perfectly for LinkedIn.

Second, your LinkedIn profile should provide back up. Your resume is generally taken at face value until it’s time to prove what you know in the interview. However, when you are talking about your skills or work on LinkedIn, you have the benefit of backing it all up.

Focus on things like a recommendation from a former colleague that proves your worth. If you’re the creative type, provide links to projects you have worked on in the past. Are you a wiz at Final Cut Pro? Move to the Skills & Endorsements section to show that!

Show-and-tell was popular in grammar school, but LinkedIn is the perfect “show-don’t-tell” outlet, so use all the available tools to reflect whatever it is you are good at.

Finally, your LinkedIn profile should not be too formal. Third-person resume speak is not the thing to do. Instead of writing a summary that reads like a biography, write it in the way you speak. LinkedIn is about opening doors that lead to conversations, so use a conversational tone and throw in details about your work. Explain how you got started in your industry or with your company. Talk about what inspires you, why you love doing what you do, and your work style. Do you have a personal philosophy? Share it!

Listen, I know people use LinkedIn as the space to have their resume online. When I first joined LinkedIn, I was as guilty as can be by copying and pasting my Word document resume. It’s easy to see the similarities since they are both places to share your professional experience. However, if you understand the differences and take the time to utilize the tools available on LinkedIn, you’ll have a complimentary profile where your connections (and potential employers) can learn more about you.

Tom Liszka is Manager, Social and Digital Media, at the Creating IT Futures Foundation.