Has the LinkedIn profile replaced the resume?

As rapid as change appears to be, many things actually evolve quite slowly


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It's no secret in the career and employment fields that LinkedIn, the professional online networking media site, has become a huge game-changer over the past 10 years. What used to be thought of in the early days of the mid-2000s as the professionals’ version of Facebook, LinkedIn now sports close to 250 million users worldwide and has become the expected place for all professionals to display their work experience, qualifications and credentials.

When job-hunting, it has become typical to send recruiters, hiring managers and networked contacts a link to your LinkedIn profile, which is great as a professional landing page. This page not only presents your skill set, value proposition and work history, but also your collection of peer and client recommendations — valuable stuff when self-promoting.

Incidentally, LinkedIn can be your ongoing source of professional networking and development via the high-quality interchanges going on in the groups feature.

Given that LinkedIn is a must-use site for recruiters sourcing talent for positions they are trying to fill, to not be present on it is akin to a self-imposed exile in jobseekers' no-man's land.

Formatting limitations

If LinkedIn has become so standard and dominant, then a reasonable question to ask is: Has LinkedIn eclipsed the resume as the foundational piece of collateral all professionals need?

Well, it certainly may come to that in the not very distant future, but in my judgment it's premature to call the resume deceased. And here's why:

We are used to resumes, and so they persist. For as rapid as change appears to be in our world, including in the career development space, many things actually evolve quite slowly. People are not always so fast at ditching a tried-and-true practice or method just to latch onto the latest thing.

Adoption rates of new ways of behaving can often be quite slow. Why, for example, aren't we all webcaming now when speaking live to friends, family and clients? The technology is here. But most of us still use the telephone for most of our synchronous communication.

Sure, LinkedIn is great, but it does have formatting limitations. The user is confined to a fairly strict structure that can at times be frustrating to customize. Even though the resume has a lot of conventions that should be adhered to, it does offer more presentation flexibility. An educator's resume will typically be structured differently from an IT pro's resume, but on LinkedIn the content sections are locked in place no matter who you are.

A huge and growing practice by business in regards to processing resumes involves the use of applicant tracking systems (ATS), the scanning software that determines if resumes are to be categorized for further consideration or rejected, due to how well they fit for an open position.

Resumes have to be written and submitted with this automation in mind. And since resumes have to be keyword-tweaked for different positions in order to increase chances of being ATS-blessed, that potentially means frequent customization. You can only have one LinkedIn profile at a time, whereas you can have multiple resume versions simultaneously.

The truth is, if you want to be searchable by talent-seekers and have the requisite complement of professional pieces to show you are serious about employment availability and advancement, you need to utilize both platforms.

It's not that one is more important than the other, but rather they have both become very important. If you go through a process of preparing a great resume, then it's not a heavy lift to also rephrase that content in producing a great LinkedIn profile. Your career can be rewarded for covering the bases.

Bill Ryan, founder of Ryan Career Services LLC, Concord, can be reached at 603-724-2289 or bill@ryancareerservices.com.

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