3 Essential Differences Between a Resume and a LinkedIn Profile

3 Essential Differences Between a Resume and a LinkedIn Profile was originally published on Ivy Exec.

You’ve likely heard that your resume and LinkedIn profile should mimic each other.

For instance, the position titles and years you held them should be the same on both mediums. If they don’t correspond, employers will wonder if you’re hiding something or are just careless.

But your resume and LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just be copied-and-pasted versions of each other either. Instead, three major components make your resume and LinkedIn profile different.

A LinkedIn profile gives you space to construct your personal brand.

A resume is short by design – only two to three pages. So, it has to be concise enough to discuss only how your background makes you a strong fit for a position. This short-format document doesn’t give you much extra space to discuss who you are.

Of course, the resume is an incomplete picture of why you do what you do. On the other hand, a LinkedIn profile is a holistic version of who you are as a professional. So, speak more casually about yourself and include more details than you would on your resume. This helps you build your personal brand and position you as a relatable person.

“So, your LinkedIn should fall somewhere between being professional like a resume but somewhat conversational like Facebook. Think of your LinkedIn summary as the chance to chat with your readers. Therefore, write how you’d speak!” said coach Jade Goodhue.

Your resume should be tailored to specific roles, while your LinkedIn profile should remain consistent.

Another factor that should differ in your resume vs. your LinkedIn profile is your audience.

Resumes are tailored to the specific company you’re applying to – you already know they are the document’s readers. So, figure out what appeals to them and use language from the job posting when writing your resume. A significant problem that keeps candidates from advancing in hiring pools is a generic resume that they don’t tailor specifically for each position.

The opposite is valid for a LinkedIn profile. It should be general enough that it shouldn’t need to change depending on which roles you’re applying for. So, keep your profile as general as possible to appeal to a broad audience. This imaginary LinkedIn audience should include people in your field, recruiters, hiring managers, or future colleagues.

This wide net of an audience also means you should always think that your past or current employer could see your profile. So, if you need to keep the information confidential, make sure to make it non-specific – like changing an amount specific on your resume to a more general “increased earnings” on your LinkedIn profile.

You may also want to hide that you’re searching for a new role if you haven’t been transparent about this possibility with your employer.

“For example, a client who was a financial controller wanted to move into an information technology role, so on her resume, we focused on her IT experience. But on her profile, we had to emphasize both her Finance and IT experience so as not to raise the alarm with her current colleagues that she was in a search,” said Career & Executive Coach Robert Hellmann. 

Your LinkedIn profile lets you add evidence that you’re qualified for a role in a way that your resume doesn’t.

Another factor that differs significantly between your LinkedIn profile vs. your resume is the type of evidence that you can provide.

A strong resume should use the STAR method to ensure you’re offering quantifiable proof that you were successful in your past roles.

The STAR method stands for:

  • Situation: Talk about a job you held in the past and provide relevant information that helps contextualize the situation.
  • Task: Discuss a particular incident in your past role, like a project you rolled out or a problem you solved.
  • Action: What did you do to “win” this task? What plan did you make? What role did you play?
  • Results: Finally, you want to describe what happened at the outcome. Ideally, you want your example to be quantifiable.

Here’s an example of a STAR bullet point on a resume:

Completed 5000+ Uber passenger trips during COVID-19 by adhering to health guidelines and providing hand sanitizer to ensure customers felt safe and at ease, resulting in a 5-star rating from January to December 2020

While you want to be as specific as possible about your accomplishments on your resume, you don’t have many ways to prove them. That’s where LinkedIn comes in: you can add links to your portfolio and other samples of your work, news articles, videos, and presentations to demonstrate you achieved what you said you did.

You can also add skills, endorsements and recommendations from your colleagues, proving that you have the competencies you mention on your resume.

Three Elements that Differ on Your Resume vs. Your LinkedIn Profile

While your resume and LinkedIn profile will likely include similar content, their purpose, audience, and tone should differ significantly. Your resume should convey how you would be a strong fit for a particular role at a specific company. On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile should conversationally share your brand with a broad audience. It should also include proof of your past work and effectiveness.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.