If you’ve been thinking of your LinkedIn profile as a condensed version of your resume, you may be limiting your career options. A robust, up-to-date LinkedIn is essential for building your professional brand, even when you’re not actively looking.
An outdated, bare-bones LinkedIn profile may even give your current employer the impression that you aren’t interested in presenting yourself as an active professional. At the same time, an overly long resume, one that isn’t focused on your most recent and relevant experience, can cost you an opportunity as well.
Both employment elements should be crafted to appeal to recruiters and hiring managers. These two key segments of your target audience have very different perspectives—you will need to build a resume, and a profile, that can attract both simultaneously.
How to Appeal to Recruiters
Recruiters and headhunters aren’t usually experts in your profession so they will be looking for keywords that are common in job descriptions in your field. Study job descriptions in your field of expertise and make sure your LinkedIn profile contains as many of the most common keywords as apply to you.
You may even want to use Resume Assistant powered by LinkedIn to improve your resume’s effectiveness by allowing you to see how others in the field describe their work and to assess the most common keywords used by people with your expertise, as well as job listings in your field.
Recommendations from past managers and colleagues are also a good way to set yourself apart and prove that you have the skills a recruiter is looking for. The best way to bulk up your recommendations is to generously recommend former coworkers.
Using headings like “Skills” and “Key Accomplishments” will help potential recruiters and hiring managers quickly scan through your profile and focus on the aspects of your background that most interests them.
How to Appeal to Hiring Managers
Hiring managers often rely on recruiters to screen out candidates that don’t have the required skills. Hiring managers are likely to focus more on your accomplishments, looking for the unique strengths and experiences you will bring to the role and how you might benefit them.
With hiring managers in mind, list your most impressive accomplishments along with data where possible. For example, how much revenue did you generate, what costs were you able to save, what projects did you manage or launch?
Leveraging Your Profile
Even though there is no word limit on your LinkedIn, be aware that only the first 170 characters will appear in a digital view, and only the first 363 will appear on your desktop profile. If a recruiter or hiring manager wants to learn more they have to click to open your entire profile, so make sure that the first 170 and 363 characters of your profile highlight your most impressive qualities.
Your profile can be more narrative-based than your resume, using the first person to tell potential employers not just what you’ve done, but what it’s meant to you. Instead of simply listing skills and accomplishments as you would in your resume, you can communicate what the expectations of each role were as you went into it and what you were able to achieve during your tenure.
Your profile can highlight things that your resume can’t. For example, you can include a section on volunteer work or use your headline as a personal tagline to express elements of who you are as an employee, from professional titles to awards to personal achievements.
Though you should never include a photo with your resume, LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more views, so be sure you have one and make sure it is professional.
Updating your profile frequently means that you will show up more often on your network’s feeds, which will help keep you in mind among people with a similar professional background and could lead to job leads.
Include links to work samples, as well as an updated version of your resume, on your profile.
Leveraging Your Resume
Your “template” resume should include nearly everything in your LinkedIn Profile, but with slightly less detail. This can serve as your generic resume—the one you might send to a friend or former coworker who knows of a few roles in several departments you might be right for, as well as the one you may want to feature on your personal website and relevant job boards, including LinkedIn.
This should not be a resume you send to potential employers for specific openings. Instead, you’ll want to customize your resume by adding skills and accomplishments for each new job you apply for, and editing out anything from your template resume that you do not think is relevant. (If that sounds like a task you think you’ll need help with, consider putting a resume builder to use.)
Finally, make sure that the basic elements of your LinkedIn profile exactly match your resume. Different dates or titles will raise red flags for recruiters and hiring managers.
Think of your resume as a streamlined sales pitch that can entice a potential decision maker to get to know you slightly better by viewing your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn, when used to its fullest potential, has the power to serve as a personal presentation tool, with the ability to highlight almost any aspect of your professional life, including your resume.