By Erica Breuer
You worked hard perfecting your resume—and you’re feeling really good about it. So naturally, the next step would be to hop online, copy-paste all that excellent content into your LinkedIn, call it your “LinkedIn resume,” and share it with the world?
Nope. Not even a little bit.
Your page may offer the same categories as a resume; but if your profile reads the exact same, consider this an intervention for how to use the platform to your benefit. Fun fact: The site is a full-bodied personal branding vehicle with its own set of rules.
This is your chance to tell your career story in an interesting way, and I don’t want you missing out on it. So, here are four key differences that you should understand before you even think about touching copy-paste.
1. It Should Tell a Bigger Story
Details. Context. Vivid pictures.
Your LinkedIn profile is a place for all that additional color you cut your from your resume to make it one page. But I’m not just talking about including portfolio items, projects, more skills, and so on (although those are great things to incorporate).
Let’s take your professional experiences section, for example. You have the opportunity to give the backstory on interesting twists and turns that can’t be explained on your resume. So, instead of sticking with bullets, share a bit about your work: Here’s a side-by-side snapshot:
“Grew sales by 25% by implementing referral program and expanding customer base…”
“I accepted a Sales role with Dropbox after meeting the company’s CEO at the 2015 SaaS Convention. My previous SaaS selling experience allowed me to usher immediate results, such as growing our customer base by…”
The second option is much more captivating, and while there’s no place for it on a resume, it’s totally appropriate for LinkedIn. Remember, the one caveat to this approach is that you should always think twice about the details you’re sharing. Sensitive or internal company information, as well as overly personal details, should never make the cut. (Here’s a trick: If you’d share something to flesh out an interview answer, go for it. If you’d hold off, leave it out.)
4. It Shouldn’t Be Too Formal
Robotic third-person resume language is not going to cut it here. A summary that reads like a bio on the back of a book is one that no one reads. Instead, draft it by writing the way you speak.
Use a conversational tone and pepper in details about your work that humanize you. Don’t just talk about what you do; talk about why you love doing it. Instead of focusing on the number of years of experience you have in XYZ industry, explain how you got your start there. Weave in bits about the types of teams you’ve enjoyed working on, your personal philosophy, or what kinds of projects inspire you the most. Here’s what it might look like:
“As an entrepreneur, sizing up situations and pulling together the best people, resources, and solutions to address business challenges isn’t just a skill—it’s my second nature. My 10-year background of success in home healthcare started with a genuine passion for addressing changes to this industry by…”
When you think it’s ready to go, send it to a friend and ask if it sounds like you and if it does a good job expressing your passion for your work.
It’s understandable that people would confuse LinkedIn and their resume. After all, they’re both places to discuss your professional achievements. But by understanding the differences and taking the time to flesh your profile out, you’ll have a helpful, complementary page where you can direct contacts to learn more about you.