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LinkedIn, your resume, and your personal brand

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.

Get found!

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?

box-netThe easiest way is to create a 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 Any files you share will show up on your LinkedIn profile in the section – so viewers can download your resume.

Who can download my resume?

Your 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 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?

Posted in Personal branding.

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5 Responses

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  1. Judy says

    But then how do you tweak your resume for each and every job application to reflect your relevant skills for that specific role, which is the advice I’ve seen elsewhere?

    • Walter Feigenson says

      Hi Judy. You raise a good question – but the fact is that your LinkedIn “resume” is really static anyway. So pick the version of your resume that’s the most likely to succeed and use that for LinkedIn – or alternatively, you could make your LI profile the most generic form of your resume. You can put additional keywords in other sections of your profile (interests, specialties, awards, the summary section). I’ve seen some LI profiles that have a part of the summary devoted to keywords. That’s also a good place to put alternate spellings of your name.

  2. how to write a resume says

    This also applies to other social media and I’m not quite sure that 2/3 of hiring managers use Linkedln, this figure goes to Facebook I think. Of course, this only work on online profile not in your actual application because most companies reject applications with pictures as stated by law.

    • Walter Feigenson says

      Thanks for your comment Larry. I’d like to see the basis for your assertions about LinkedIn and Facebook. One of my sources is here: (which claims 75%).

      Of the hiring managers surveyed, 75 percent said they use LinkedIn, 48 percent said they use Facebook and 26 percent said they use Twitter to research potential candidates before making a job offer. When it comes to sourcing candidates, 66 percent of hiring managers use LinkedIn, 23 percent use Facebook and 16 percent use Twitter.

      I’ve also seen other research that supports my contention. From my discussions with HR people and recruiters, Facebook isn’t as important as LinkedIn, but I’m sure that depends on the hiring manager and the job.

      And in case I misled anybody, I was not advocating that people should include a picture with their resume. While HR/recruiting people can’t really avoid your picture online, almost all will automatically trash an application that includes a picture. Thanks for pointing that out.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Tweets that mention LinkedIn, your resume, and your personal brand | Wally's Follies -- linked to this post on September 17, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shane Skillen. Shane Skillen said: LinkedIn, your resume, and your personal brand | Wally's Follies: Remember, if a recruiter is looking at two.. […]