Let’s face it, many people don’t really know what LinkedIn is all about. Is it a social networking site? A place to post your resume? A place to find new jobs? All of the above? The truth is, LinkedIn has gone through quite a few changes since it was pioneered in 2002, and at least at some point it has served as all 3. Today, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for recruiters and those seeking employment, and while your profile and your resume should have many similarities, your LinkedIn profile will be much more effective if it provides strategic information that complements your resume – rather than simply serving as yet another Internet form where you can copy and paste your resume.

Your “About” section  – More Conversational than A Cover Letter or Career Profile

A common mistake that some jobseekers make is to copy their cover letter or career profiles into their LinkedIn “about” sections. While a cover letter allows you to introduce yourself in a narrative fashion and a career profile helps you establish your personal brand, your LinkedIn “About” section provides a unique opportunity to engage users and invite conversation.

Cover letters tend to follow a structure that just doesn’t work for LinkedIn: a short statement about the position you found, examples of why you are a good candidate, and an invitation to contact you about the position.

Career profiles serve more as an “elevator pitch” that allow you to highlight your unique value add before employers comb through your experience.

On the contrary, the LinkedIn about section focuses on driving engagement and getting the reader to say “yes.” The goal of the “about” section is to encourage a message or connection request. This is why many professional summaries start with a question or a positive statement, such as: “Every business needs strong employees. As a bodybuilder, I understand the importance of being strong in a professional and physical sense…”

LinkedIn’s “Experience” Section Provides Opportunity for Additional Detail & Reach Recruiters

While copying and pasting your professional experience from your resume to your LinkedIn profile seems like a great way to save time, it could end up costing you time in the long run. Why? For 3 key reasons:

  1. Most resumes aren’t formatted for the digital profile. People spend less time reading online profiles than they do resumes. And the system of bullets and paragraphs you use on your resume probably won’t translate effectively into LinkedIn. It’s better to stick with short, sweet sentences; write in first person, and use symbols or emojis instead of bullets.
  2. You won’t have room for all your experience on your resume. You won’t have room for all our experience on your LinkedIn profile, but when they work together, these two documents can do a powerful job of helping you outline your personal brand. Be strategic when crafting your documents, and allow them to complement each other.
  3. Recruiters use a LinkedIn backend tool called LinkedIn recruiter to skim LinkedIn profiles and identify potential candidates. To have the best chance of catching their eye, use keywords in your titles and job experience that recruiters will search when looking for a candidate like you!

Take Advantage of LinkedIn’s Additional Profile Sections

LinkedIn offers many optional profile sections that don’t belong on a traditional resume. Publications and projects, for example, aren’t always listed on a resume. However, including these offers an easy way to add keywords and connections to your profile.

Your best bet for LinkedIn success is to fill out everything that’s relevant. Sit down and write your profile, then use your resume to double check your work. If you would like to talk with me about how to write a strategic LinkedIn profile for your specific situation, book a free call below!