There’s no argument that LinkedIn is the major online business networking platform. Because of that, maintaining and managing a LinkedIn profile is an important part of job hunting today.
But, your LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for your resume.
Job Hunting in the Past vs. Now
Back before the Internet explosion, job hunting was easy. You checked the classified ads in the local paper, pulled out a pre-printed resume, and then attacked the hardest part of the job–typing a cover letter on your expensive resume paper. Once the resume was mailed, the applicant sat back and waited to hopefully hear from the employer.
Today’s job hunter has a much easier time typing cover letters. He or she can just alter a form that is already saved on their computer. But then the job seeker has to not only check the classified ads in the paper, but also Craigslist, Monster.com and any number of other career websites.
Rather than pulling a pre-printed resume from a file that’s suitable for any company they want to apply to, today’s job hunter needs to take a general resume and edit it for the particular job. The stock cover letter also needs to be targeted and should leave no doubt in the potential employer’s mind that you actually read the ad and want the job that’s advertised (as opposed to just any old job).
>>Read more here about how to write a resume
Finally, today’s job applicant has to manage his or her online persona, including but not limited to her or her LinkedIn profile.
What is LinkedIn?
In the off chance you have yet to discover LinkedIn, it is a social networking site designed to be used for one’s professional life rather than one’s personal life. Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to connect with others that use the platform.
The people Facebook calls friends, LinkedIn calls connections. LinkedIn reviews the people who are connected to your connections and suggests that you connect with them as well.
Aside from just connecting with other people, within the LinkedIn platform you can create a profile that lists your job experience, education, and skills. Those seeking employees can search LinkedIn for those matching the qualifications they are seeking are those seeking a new employer have an online place to tout their value.
LinkedIn: Free or Paid?
LinkedIn offers both free and paid versions. The paid versions allow you to greater access to the information posted by others and allows you to see who has been viewing your data. When it comes to job hunting, LinkedIn is a tool that can be used by both job seekers and those doing the hiring. If you are actively searching for a job, an upgrade to one of the paid versions may speed up the job hunting process.
Networking on LinkedIn
As with Facebook, users can send private messages to each other or post public messages to a page where anyone can see them. The free version of LinkedIn allows you to contact your connections, that is people those who you have mutually agreed to connect with. The paid versions allow you to contact other people as well.
As many jobs or business opportunities are found via networking with people you know, LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for job hunters.
What is the difference between my LinkedIn profile and my resume?
First and foremost, a LinkedIn profile is not a resume. While there is much information in common between a LinkedIn profile and a resume, they are not interchangeable.
The LinkedIn profile is designed to help you build a network of people you know and to provide information about you to people who are searching LinkedIn. Your resume should be a targeted response to a particular job posting. You may have several versions of your resume, but you only have one LinkedIn profile.
Do I put the URL of my LinkedIn Profile on my resume?
No. Make sure the name on your LinkedIn profile matches the name on your resume. If the hiring person is interested in your LinkedIn profile, her or she will find it.
What can I put on my LinkedIn Profile?
Besides resume information, your LinkedIn profile can contain links to websites, photographs, videos, or documents. Whether you choose to include them depends on the job you are seeking and a cost/benefit analysis regarding whether they are likely to help your job hunt.
An actor may wish to include film clips of his work, and photographs or videos could be relevant for a model. If a writing sample is often requested in your field, you can post one on LinkedIn.
Though a LinkedIn profile does not take the place of a resume, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for today’s job hunters. If you’re not already using it, take some time to check it out. Learning how to to use it well can be advantageous for your job hunt or career change.