Should your LinkedIn profile be the same as your resume? I think so – but only if you have a good resume. I’m going to explain my reasoning in this post.
Brand, brand, brand
One of the most essential components of any branding effort is consistency. That’s why every Coca Cola product has the same logo. It’s a simple concept really, seeing the same thing over and over cements the image you have of that product (or here, person).
That’s why it’s important to have a picture – the same picture – on all your social networking sites (and on your business card!). The same argument applies to your resume. Your resume – Word version and LinkedIn version – will be more effective if both are the same. And in case you didn’t know it, you can actually download a PDF version of your LinkedIn profile and recommendations that’s pretty nice. I’ve written about how to extract just the recommendations (to send with a job application) here.
If you want to be found on LinkedIn, you have to have the keywords people are looking for in your profile. Hey guess what, if you want to get selected from a pile of resumes a recruiter has, you’d better have the right keywords as well. Almost all medium- to large-size companies digitize resumes today (i.e. they stuff your resume into their applicant tracking system database), and search the resume submissions by keyword.
So the goal is the same in both places.
Uploading your resume to LinkedIn
Today, somebody told me that she’d uploaded her resume to LinkedIn, but she doesn’t know where it is now. Have you seen the option to upload your resume to your LinkedIn profile? Do you know what happens to your Word file?
LinkedIn offers this upload to facilitate completing your profile. Their software “decomposes” your resume into the bits and pieces that LinkedIn needs for the different sections of your profile. Then it stuffs those bits and pieces where it thinks they should go. After that, your Word document vaporizes. I don’t know if LI actually deletes it (I suspect it does), or they keep it for further research on syntactical analysis (so they can improve how they select portions of your resume for your profile). But in either case, your resume is not available for download by you or anybody else.
So how do I post a “real” resume on LinkedIn?
The easiest way is to create a box.net account (the free account is sufficient), and upload your resume to their site. Then go to your LinkedIn home page, and find the “Applications” button, and add box.net. Any files you share will show up on your LinkedIn profile in the box.net section – so viewers can download your resume.
Who can download my resume?
Your box.net application (and any others you use) aren’t visible to people who aren’t logged into LinkedIn. I haven’t been able to find any information about whether people logged into LinkedIn – but who aren’t connected to you – can see your applications. You’d think this would be important information to provide, but LinkedIn help is generally pretty sparse, and this is no exception.
If a recruiter finds you on LinkedIn – and fully 2/3 of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary sourcing engine – then you want it to be very easy for them to get your resume into their hot little hands. And add any other documents you think would help you get that interview and job. So use box.net for your documents, and be sure to add SlideShare and upload some PowerPoint presentations that people can see from your LinkedIn account.
Remember, if a recruiter is looking at two people, and one is a blank slate, while the other has a nice juicy digital footprint, guess who’s likely to get that interview?