Below are a few key differences and tips I highly recommend others consider as they seek to maximize the impact of LinkedIn in building a collaborative network of changemakers (LinkedIn is about about so much more than just looking for a job).
The top differences include:
Public vs. private
A LinkedIn Profile (depending on your settings) is for the whole world to see. Your profile should provide a compelling and accessible story of who you’re professionally, what skills you have, some key metrics, your qualifications and more.
A LinkedIn profile needs to be an active and living document. If you only touch your profile once a year this isn’t the smart way to use LinkedIn.
I share this from experience. I’ve been hired in part because of having a strong profile and also being active on the platform almost every day. I also use LinkedIn all the time to recommend candidates, look for possible consultants, to reach out to potential speakers for a wide range of events, and stay up to date on news and trends in a wide range of sectors.
LinkedIn is about so much more than just landing a job. It is about building diverse and purpose driven networks, connecting and learning about common challenges/opportunities. In fact if you’re using LinkedIn only to find a job, then this can actually hurt your chances of finding a position. Although many people used to perceive LinkedIn as a boring network for office stuff, it is actually full of a tons of learning, inspiration and impact.
A strong Linkedin profile doesn’t mean providing all the details about your entire work history as then it would become too lengthy. While it may be appropriate to list your employment history, it is essential to cut out or parse experience that is not relevant. Instead focus on including list your core skills, highlight key outcomes/impacts/results of your work, etc.
The Network Effect
One of the unique powers of LinkedIn is the platform’s network effect. Imagine when one submits a resume it usually is reviewed by a few people or increasingly in initial stages by computers and algorithms in automated applicant tracking systems. When one looks for jobs or expands one network on LinkedIn it is possibly to leverage the power of connections to find opportunities, advocates for your application and opportunities.
Your network can radically amplify the reach of your personal brand and help you connect to the right people when you’re conducting a job search.
It’s about so much more than jobs
LinkedIn increasingly is a place to not only build one’s network but also to find relevant content, build skills and share certifications. There are almost 700 million users around the world on the platform (70% are from outside of the US). What most people don’t know about LinkedIn is that content posts receive 15 times more traffic than job posts. There are over 2,000,000 posts of new content on LinkedIn every day.
Increasingly organizations, user and influencers are using the platform to share original content, post relevant industry news and more. There are also over 5,000 courses to build one’s skills in a whole range of sectors including communication, coding, marketing, sales, management through LinkedIn Learning. While LinkedIn was slow to add live streaming video, in 2020 LinkedIn Live Streaming has rapidly grown. While it isn’t available for all user (for now one needs to request access), it is skyrocketing in terms of both the number of streams and levels of engagement. One of the cool things about streaming if one follows a person or organization when a stream goes live a notification shows up in one’s LinkedIn Feed.
One LinkedIn Profile vs. Multiple Resumes
One challenge with LinkedIn is a user has a single profile for all audiences, while a resume can easily be customized for job applications in different sectors. Thus you need to carefully consider the framing of your career path to date to be relevant for a broader audience. For example if you’ve been working in the private for 10 years but want to switch to the social impact sector, it is important not to limit the description of your experience so that you’re boxed into one job function or area. Too many people make this mistake of not considering adequately the broad audience that may engage with one’s profile on LinkedIn.
You’re more than your job
For both a resume and LinkedIn it is important acknowledge that you’re more than your current job. This can be done with listing relevant skills, volunteering activities and/or a hobby or two (if appropriate). I find one of the best ways to do this on LinkedIn is the headline for your profile. One can list your current job title, but in most cases this is quite boring and doesn’t attract much eyeball traffic. What I suggest instead is considering framing more the area of current or desired impact in your career. For example, you could write social entrepreneur or professor or accountant. But these are somewhat meaningless job titles. Try playing around with exploring the question
What type of the change are your seeking to facilitate in the world through your work?
Approaching one’s LinkedIn header from this frame some possibilities might include:
Leverage my strong financial skills to help changemakers build healthier administrative systems to scale their impact.
Dedicated to helping aspiring professionals build the skills and knowledge to engage in the high-impact careers to meet current global challenges.
This type of creative approach isn’t appropriate for all sectors as sometimes being “too creative” can be a negative in your job search but I do urge you to explore at least try out the idea.
Highlight of key skills/impact from one’s experience
A resume is a professional document that tells a compelling story about your overall skills, qualifications and experience. A resume will provide more detail where you may list relevant job functions you performed and equally important demonstrate the the outcomes and impacts of your work. It is also essential to show what are the transferable skills relevant to the sector where one is seeking employment.
On LinkedIn, listing your entire responsibilities or work history doesn’t work well. I recommend providing few sentences or 3–7 bullet points describing your responsibilities and focus on listing key skills and impact of your work.
Think of LinkedIn as a combination of inbound (employers coming to you) and outbound (you reaching out to employers). In most cases, a resume is usually focused on outbound opportunities (you applying to employers).
What are other differences you see between LinkedIn and a resume?