Many job seekers make the mistake of assuming that their resume and LinkedIn profile are the same thing.

… they’re not.

Job seekers who consider their LinkedIn profile to be equivalent to their resume can miss major opportunities to differentiate themselves resulting in lost job opportunities.

You can differentiate yourself much more effectively as a superior candidate than LinkedIn is able to provide.

LinkedIn wants you to think their service can even be your online resume, providing an option to automatically convert your profile into a traditional resume format, using the information of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn also allows you to apply for jobs with many employers just by clicking an “apply with your LinkedIn profile” button. Don’t fall into either trap.

Sure these are easy options … but these options result in branding yourself as a commodity,

And there are three reasons that your resume and LinkedIn profile are not the same:

  1. Employers and recruiters view each differently: Employers and recruiters view your LinkedIn profile as a way to search for candidates who haven’t applied, but your resume as the primary way to apply for a job. LinkedIn recognizes that a resume is viewed differently – that’s why they offer an option to convert your profile to a resume and an option to attach your resume to your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Employers and recruiters use each for different parts of the hiring process: Employers/recruiters use LinkedIn profiles at the beginning of the process, as an introduction and as a passive candidate search mechanism. Human resources departments use LinkedIn as a way to provide social proof to your resume – to help screen out resume lies. Most employers and recruiters expect those who apply to provide a resume in the process – even those that provide an “Apply through LinkedIn” button will ask applicants for a resume.
  3. Customization and personalization: You can and should customize your resume for an individual reader – resume customization gives you the ability to brand yourself as the superior candidate. You can’t do the same thing with your LinkedIn profile, because when you change it, everyone sees the changes. You can’t control who sees a specific version of your LinkedIn profile, because everyone sees your changes. It’s difficult for your LinkedIn profile to brand you as a superior candidate, because you can’t individualize it like you can with a resume.

When you use your LinkedIn profile to apply for jobs, it will be easier but it won’t allow you to show that you’re the perfect candidate for that hiring manager, for that company, for that job. Sure, you might create that impression, but it will be through luck – you won’t be able to stack the odds in your favor.

Now that you see your resume and LinkedIn profile aren’t the same thing, how will you decide which one to use?

I’ll cover that in an upcoming article …