In this video, Ross Macpherson shows how your resume and LinkedIn profile should be aligned: where they can be similar and where they should be different; what to do and what not to do.
Point #1 Names, Dates and Titles Have to Match
- Name: You think this is a no-brainer but I see it all the time and so the recruiters. If your name, job titles or dates are presented one way in your resume but then you look at your LinkedIn profile and they don't match, that's a red flag. Recruiters do compare the documents they do and when they don't lineup for you to get confused or don't know which one is telling the truth and that reflects on you. So with your name, pick one way you want it to appear everywhere and make this your brand. Don't be Jennifer Smith on your resume and Jen Smith in your LinkedIn and maybe Jen B. Smith on your business card. However you have your name on your resume or business card that's how they look for you on LinkedIn. So pick one and make it consistent.
- Job Titles: Job titles have to match exactly.
- Dates: The years have to match exactly. Now this doesn't mean that you need to include months.
Point #2 Headline: Similar, not identical
- Chances are the two headlines are going to look very similar and they should, but they shouldn't be identical. Look at the example where headline is at the top of the resume. The example is perfect, it clarifies who this person is and positions him right up front. But if you try to just cut and paste this into your LinkedIn headline, it simply wouldn't work. Either too short or too long and you want to be as close to those 120 characters that LinkedIn gives you as possible.
- Here is how the resume headline could be translated into a LinkedIn headline. The LinkedIn headline is formatted differently with 120 characters to work with. We added a few abbreviations which is fine to get a little bit more content in there (e.g. His degrees, 12 years of experience, etc.) You are also able to add his current job title (e.g. Director @ Al Ventures) So, you can see it is slightly different but still brands him in the same way as his resume does. This way the two headlines complement each other. Each appearing fresh without being identical.
Point #3 New Summary with the Same Message
- Remember your resume and LinkedIn profile are read differently. Nowhere is this more true than in your Summary. There are three significant differences with your LinkedIn Summary:
- Needs to open with a strong sentence
- Needs to be more conversational
- Needs to provide much more detail
Example: Here's a great summary from the top of a resume. it's concise, it positions and distinguishes Shay for a senior technology marketing role. And it showcases his specific expertise with Mobile, Cloud, IoT, Security and Virtualization technologies. Also highlights the strengths in Marketing Strategist, Sales Enablement, Relationship Building, Negotiations and Leadership. It's concise and impactful. But while this works on a resume, this format and approach needs to be adjusted to work well in LinkedIn. Right now it's just too short for a LinkedIn Summary. Still lacks that conversational tone that works best in LinkedIn and it's not capitalizing on the full 2000 characters LinkedIn gives you.
How you can translate that resume summary into a powerful LinkedIn Summary? In LinkedIn we get to say so much more. Since LinkedIn initially shows the viewer the first two lines of a Summary, make the opening sentence particularly strong. Draw them in and entice them to click “see more.” The tone is more conversational, with phrases like “my expertise in my current role with ABCTech . . .” and even show a little personality with phrases like “I love big ideas,” etc. Because we have a full 2000 characters, you can go into much more detail about current position, about previous accomplishments, particular approach, attributes, even key skill areas etc. And believe or not this LinkedIn Summary example is only about 1600 characters. This is only one way you can construct your summary; there are so many different ways. But you get the idea on how you need to translate a resume profile into a new and much more dynamic LinkedIn summary.
Point #4 Copy experience from your resume to your LinkedIn Profile, with minor changes
The experience section is the only place on LinkedIn where you can use the strong content that you have in your resume. You can change the tone a little bit if you want. Make it more conversational. For example, instead of opening with “directed all business activities” you could say 'I directed all business development activities' or “I was brought in to direct all business development activities” to make it more conversational. But that's entirely up to you. One situation where it might be important to be different in the experience section is if you had to cut a bullet short because of available space in your resume, you room for more detail in LinkedIn. You might even add another bullet or two, or another great accomplishment that you simply didn't have room to include in your resume.
Point #5 Make certain the skills match
The resume highlights certain skills you want to be known for, sometimes but the LinkedIn profile highlights entirely different skills. Make certain that the skills listed in your LinkedIn profile match, especially the top three that you want to be known for as those appear first. And if there are any older skills listed in your LinkedIn skills that have been there forever or that you don't necessarily need to highlight any more, feel free to get rid of them or move them to the very bottom. But the skills have to align.
Point #6 Elaborate in other relevant sections
If you have other relevant things like; Certifications, Courses, Volunteer Activities, Organizations, Awards, Projects, Patents, Publications, include them in both your resume and in your LinkedIn profile. And you may even have the opportunity to include more details on these in your LinkedIn profile. If you were limited for space on your resume and couldn't include everything or couldn't go into detail on that relevant volunteer role or project, you probably have room to add that detail on LinkedIn. Just make sure it is relevant to your career.
Point #7 Add the color your resume lacks
This point isn't exactly about where your resume and LinkedIn profile are similar but it's an important final point to make so that your resume and LinkedIn profile truly complement each other. Even at their best, resumes are black & white conservative documents. LinkedIn on the other hand, allows you to add a little bit more color to your branding and if done correctly each document showcases the same things about you, but in very distinct and fresh ways. So here's how to add a little extra spark to LinkedIn to complement your resume and create a really great overall brand presentation:
- Add more relevant content and keywords: In many places LinkedIn is longer and gives you more space and more characters to add more content and keywords, take full advantage of that.
- Add photos, videos, presentations, etc: If your resume includes something great you did, LinkedIn is where you can actually show it. Link to photos, video presentations, articles etc. to enrich your profile and back up your resume content.
- Include a background photo or graphic as a top banner: LinkedIn defaults everyone to the same background at the top. But you can change it to something quite dynamic and fitting your brand, maybe something to do with your industry. If you are in manufacturing or targeting manufacturing for example, maybe an image of manufacturing plant or something like that.
That is how you align your resume and your LinkedIn profile. It is imperative that they promote the same message about you and your value. But they need to do it in different ways. It is kind of subtle in spots, but it is really important. Yes it requires more effort and more writing. swill= get better results, more traction and more interest for the right roles.
Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Certified Online Identity Strategist, Certified Interview and Job Search Coach, and is recognized as one of the best resume writers in North America. With over 15 years experience in the career industry, he specializes in advanced strategies that help senior and executive professionals throughout the US, Canada, and internationally. His work has been featured in 18 career publications.
Ross routinely speaks to MBA programs across North America, and is known for delivering powerful and entertaining sessions that teach real-world success strategies. He has also spoken at major career events, global industry conferences, professional associations, and executive networking groups across the U.S. and Canada, and his high-energy style has consistently put him at the top of the career management speaking circuit. Contact Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org