A number of different websites have popped up promoting the use of LinkedIn as a tool for creating resumes. Many of these sites are actually selling an outdated version of the LinkedIn resume. A well-made LinkedIn resume, we are told, can easily land you interviews with some of the most prestigious figures in business today. Unfortunately, those claims are bogus. There is no resume that will land you an interview with a CEO of McDonald’s or a General Partner at Bain.
There are some things to keep in mind when considering LinkedIn as a tool for creating a resume and when comparing the different versions of the resume from different job applications. First of all, it is important to realize that everyone’s resume is going to be different. Yours will be more personal and your approach to marketing your self may be different than someone else’s. What is clear though is that there are certain similarities between many of the top resumes on LinkedIn. That being said, here are the top five similarities for a well-written LinkedIn resume.
First, keep in mind that the design of a good LinkedIn resume really is quite similar to that of a well-made graphic or custom website. There are specific formatting guidelines that you will need to follow. For instance, if you are applying for a “top recruiter” position at PepsiCo, your resume will be laid out in much the same manner as a graphic would be laid out on an applicant’s website. Keep in mind that when you are applying for a job at LinkedIn, your resume should be laid out in the same manner as your website or blog. In fact, the only difference between a resume on LinkedIn and your website or blog is that you are allowed to use links that redirect to your LinkedIn profile, but otherwise everything is identical.
Secondly, while the design format of LinkedIn resumes is very similar to that of graphic and custom websites, the content itself is a little different. When designing resumes for a company, it is not a good idea to completely fill out the page. Instead, the entire top of the page (the “cover”) should be used to list all of your qualifications, and then you should create tabs (listing your roles in that company) that indicate the various departments and role you are responsible for in each department. Additionally, you should create tabs for any additional information about yourself (such as blogs, comments on LinkedIn, etc.)
Thirdly, if you are applying for a job at Google, it is suggested that you submit a resume in PDF format instead of HTML. Why? Simply because an HTML resume is considered by the search engines to be far too complicated. An easily readable PDF format file is far more likely to be accepted and displayed by an employer than an overwhelming and disorganized file. Also, consider the fact that many people who are new to using computers are far more likely to be comfortable viewing a resume in PDF format than they are viewing a visually daunting resume in HTML.
Fourth, when it comes to creating LinkedIn resumes, you will want to keep your profiles as consistent as possible. If you have various versions of your profile and cover letter, it is easy to confuse one resume for another or to forget that some of the information is different on each version. For this reason, we suggest that you submit your resume/cover letter in PDF format for the first profile that you submit (and remember to make sure that it is a PDF file before you copy and paste it into the specified fields on your job applications). Then, keep your other profiles consistent with the format used on the first profile. For example, keep your job applications and cover letters consistent with your LinkedIn profiles.
Finally, do not underestimate the power of social media to generate your own LinkedIn resume viral effect. The key to making this work is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile and cover letter are as consistent with the rest of your profile as possible. If possible, also consider using a photo for each profile (which we recommend using a business logo for obvious reasons). If you are applying for a job at a technology or digital media-based company, make sure that your LinkedIn resume and your cover letter reflect this type of environment.
In our final installment of this resume creation tool series, we will take a look at what to include on your LinkedIn profile page. In particular, we will discuss how to list your related and complementary profiles, as well as how to create a summary of your profile page so that employers can get an idea of who you are and what you have to offer them. In the next post, we will take a look at how to tailor your profile page to help match an appropriate job title to your profile. We will also take a look at how to optimize your profile page and your resume for search engines.