Resume Vs. LinkedIn: Either/Or?

This post is in response to Hannah Morgan’s (@CareerSherpa’s) comment over at my post, “Resume Is Your Career Heartbeat,” where she queries: “Can’t one’s LinkedIn profile be their resume? Why would an employer need to look anywhere else?”

I don’t think Hannah and I are far apart on this resume issue! The vehicles which transport the resume message continue to morph! In fact, the main ‘point’ I aspire to make is that the resume is a personal marketability document that is meant to show compelling VALUE. The resume, in and of itself, will simply never be ‘dead,’ as often is alluded to in the vacillating Internet waters.

Often, the resume value premise drowns in a sea of conversation surrounding ‘how’ a resume should be transported. Just 20 years or so ago, the only vehicle by which a resume could be driven was an electronic typewriter.

Then, a variety of word processing venues developed and led to MS Word documents being the ‘standard’ vehicle; now, a plethora of venues exist through which to push through resume bits and parts, most of them with their advantages (and limitations) in communicating the vital, naked words that MEAN something to the hiring decision-maker.

In my opinion, it’s less about the vehicle through which it is pushed (i.e. Word document, LinkedIn profile, VisualCV, etc.) than it is about the words. And those WORDS must be muscular, value-laden and thoughtful. Rather than a career archive of dates/company names and duties held, the resume is replete with stories that have been parsed based on the target reader’s needs (as well as the candidate’s most compelling nuances that set him apart!).

That said, though the LinkedIn profile often is a first point of contact when recruiters, hiring decision makers, HR pros, etc. are combing the Internet for a candidate, it currently doesn’t substitute for the Word-hosted resume. Not only does LI have its inherent limitations in story presentation and expansion, it also is not yet the industry standard in transporting a ‘resume’ — Word still is the way to go when emailing a well formatted, content- and design-pithy document. A Word resume also also necessary for downloading into corporate databases, for being keyword-scanned and simply for document filing purposes.

This resume, if done well, is intently and thoroughly thought out through a series of contemplative career exercises, including researching of target companies and personal reflection. This resume is the foundation from which all other resume snapshots and offshoots; e.g., LinkedIn profile, emanate.

Will the resume transportation vehicles continue to morph? Sure, I believe they will! Will social media venues, career messaging websites, clouds, applications, SlideShare, iPads and technology as a whole  continue to facilitate faster, nuanced and more clever ways to move those words? Absolutely!

I still think the bottom line is the linkage of the right words that knit together a resume story fabric that wraps as a cloak to fit hiring companies’ needs to weather storms, survive and thrive in a fast-moving but quality-insistent society.

13 Responses to “Resume Vs. LinkedIn: Either/Or?”

  1. Tracy says:

    The limitations on LinkedIn are that it only allows you to show a chronological resume rather than a functional resume. For people who are trying to switch industries, it could be detrimental to just view their LinkedIn profile. For now, you still need both.
    @tracysestili , SF Career Coach Examiner

  2. Jacqui, I feel like there have always been people who will advocate for one way of doing things or sound the alarm that there is a short cut to hard examinations. But let’s just talk about marketing and advertising. Are all advertisements on the IPhone or IPad? Do all advertisements look the same? Should all advertisements be piped through one platform? I hope the consensus on this issue is a resounding no. As you indicate, it may be less about the vehicle or perhaps it should be less about the vehicle. As a wordsmith purist you are exactly on track. But I would add to that. It should be about the many vehicles. Linked In is just one of those vehicles. The audience considering a resume may start with Linked In or may end with Linked In. Many executives I work with don’t prefer to be on Linked In or they still have what I would call a rather limited profile.
    For me the bottom line is this – it’s about the intended audience and what you want or would like that audience to do. So for every written piece that’s a bio, a resume, a vignette, a brief, a visual resume or whatever, the script and writing need to be excellent. The design must be outstanding. And it must focus on each audience it addresses.

    • Hi John,
      You provide great insight. In particular,
      1. Shortcuts to hard examinations (e.g., resumes and those exercises associated with job search) do not exist.
      2. All advertisements do ‘not’ look the same and are not piped through one platform. <–well put!
      3. It should be about many vehicles, and LinkedIn is just one of those vehicles.
      4. It's about the intended audience and what you want/would like that audience to do.
      5. Every piece of the script and writing need to be excellent. As well, the design must be outstanding and focused on the audience.

      Moreover, some individuals (like many executives you work with) don't prefer to be on LinkedIn or prefer a limited profile.

      I recap and # your excellent comment points because they are so vivid and valid.

      Thanks for stopping by and extending the value of this conversation (and you're right, I am a wordsmith purist – thanks for weaving that into your words 🙂


  3. I think both tools have their place and actually allow for some cross pollination. A LI link can be added to a CV, so that testimonials, blog sites, etc are visible and on LI a CV document can be uploaded. The key is flexibility and to stay open to each presenting situation.

    Although LI is very useful particularly in the early stages of the process, I have never worked on any assignment where a resume hasn’t been requested at some point – ever!

    • Dorothy,
      Cross-pollination is a descriptive term, and I agree that both tools perpetuate this!

      As well, flexibility is key and being ‘open’ to each situation as its own unique opportunity.

      Finally, you underscore a point I’ve learned — a resume ‘always’ is requested, at some point. After all, it is the ‘hub’ of a person’s career positioning documents.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Jacqui: LOVE THIS! The resume in whatever form, via whichever vehicle, is a marketing piece and it must be well crafted!

    Employers want more than skills, they want achievers and relevant, well documented stories are the key, or as you so eloquently put it “linkage of the right words that knit together a story fabric that wraps as a cloak to fit hiring companies’ needs…”

    @Dorothy, I agree “cross pollination” of LI and a resume is a super way to cover all your bases.

    • Hannah,
      Thanks so much for circling back!

      You’re right, employers want MORE than skills; ‘achievements and well-document stories ARE key’ <–well put!

      Appreciate your dialogue with me on this important subject, and I agree that the resume can take many forms, is a marketing piece and must be well crafted!


  5. Interesting dialogue. I agree that LinkedIn Profiles are a growing tool that no job seeker should ignore. I think the resume in its present form fills a different need as Jacqui described. I am still finding some job seekers very reluctant to invest in LI because they have heard stories what can happen if they are currently employed and an employer is aware of their profile.

    I think there are many strategies that can make both viable whether an individual is employed or not. But I think there is much education needed to help job seekers understand the changing facets of the job search in today’s world. For now, I offer both.

  6. Julie,
    Glad you joined the dialogue.

    Definitely, LinkedIn profiles are a ‘growing tool’ and should be added to the career communication repertoire. As you (and John) point out, some job seekers are reluctant to invest in LI, concerned about visibility to their current employers.

    Offering both (resume and LinkedIn) among other communications options, therefore, is a solid, diverse job search strategy.


  7. […] Read the full story here (by Jacqui Barrett Poindexter). […]

  8. Hey, this is my first comment on ur site. I’ve been reading it for a while in my RSS reader but haven’t commented before. 🙂 Anyways, thanks for the post.

  9. […] Resume Vs. LinkedIn: Either/Or? This post is in response to Hannah Morgan’s (@CareerSherpa’s) comment… […]

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