Your LinkedIn isn’t just a digital version of your resume — or at least, it shouldn’t be. While they’re both important tools for job searching, they have very different functions, and if all you’ve done is copied and pasted your resume into your LinkedIn profile and called it a day, you may have missed the mark.
That said, good recruiters will check your LinkedIn as well as your resume when hiring, so they shouldn’t be drastically different. The key is to vary your tone and basic approach without changing the finer details.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at which details should match between your resume and LinkedIn — and which shouldn’t.
When your LinkedIn and resume should match
Hiring managers can be picky about comparing the details on your resume and LinkedIn. To avoid raising red flags, make sure the following information is consistent:
- Dates of employment
- Job titles
- Key accomplishments
- Core details about your work history, technical skills, and educational background
- Anything that can be verified in a reference check
Basically, the most important information should be consistent between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Even small inconsistencies in things like dates or job titles can be picked up by keen-eyed recruiters and may look like you’re being dishonest or trying to hide something — which you definitely don’t want.
When your LinkedIn should be different from your resume
That doesn’t mean that your LinkedIn and resume need to be identical. Here’s when it’s totally fine to have different information on your resume vs LinkedIn profile, including:
- How far back your job history should go
- How much extra information you should include
- How to structure your summary section
It’s okay to leave older jobs off your resume
Typically, your resume should only go back 10-15 years unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise (like applying for a job that requires 20 years’ experience). In contrast, you can keep those older positions on your LinkedIn if you’re trying to create a more comprehensive picture of your professional background.
If you’re wondering how many years your resume should go back, upload it to the tool below — it can help you decide what should stay and what should go.
You can include more detail on your LinkedIn profile
The same general principle applies to other information on your LinkedIn profile. While it pays to keep your resume brief and skimmable, your LinkedIn doesn’t have the same limitations. Feel free to include extra details on your LinkedIn profile that you wouldn’t necessarily list on your resume, including education, short or online courses, qualifications, activities, presentations, publications, multimedia links, and testimonials.
Your summaries should be different
Despite the name, your LinkedIn summary has very little in common with a resume summary. Resume summaries are a brief (and optional) snapshot of your key skills and accomplishments. On the other hand, your LinkedIn summary should tell more of a story — in addition to being longer (200-300 words vs less than 100), it can be written in a more conversational tone and include a lot more detail.
LinkedIn vs resume: What’s the difference?
At their core, aren’t your resume and LinkedIn profile basically the same thing? Yes and no — here are the main differences you should keep in mind.
LinkedIn is a networking platform
LinkedIn is much more than just a job search tool. It’s fine if you only want to use it for that purpose, but you’ll be missing a lot of the benefits LinkedIn has to offer, including networking opportunities, professional development, skill building, and creating a personal brand.
Your resume is a marketing tool
In contrast, your resume has one purpose — to land you a job. That means it has its own set of rules, like keeping things short and easy to scan, making sure key information stands out, and omitting anything that isn’t directly relevant to the specific job you’re applying for.
Your LinkedIn should have a more informal tone
A resume is also a formal document with specific conventions, like not writing in complete sentences or using personal pronouns. LinkedIn is very different — as a social networking site, it’s a lot more informal, so just copying and pasting your accomplishments from your resume to your LinkedIn is going to come off a bit stiff. Recruiters who visit your LinkedIn profile want to see a bit of your personality, which means you can do things like write in first person and let your unique voice shine through.
You should have multiple versions of your resume
Another good reason not to just copy and paste your resume onto your LinkedIn? You should never have just one resume. On the other hand, you do (or should) have just one LinkedIn profile, which means it’s going to be more of a catch-all for your entire work history, educational background, accomplishments, skills, etc. — and that’s okay. What’s not okay is failing to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, which risks looking lazy to a hiring manager — if it even makes it past the initial screening process.
A quick and easy way to tailor your resume to the job you're applying for is by adding hard skills and keywords relevant to the job. Use the skills search tool below to find the right ones.
You can hide your LinkedIn profile
If you’re really worried about potential discrepancies between your resume and your LinkedIn, you can prevent recruiters from seeing your LinkedIn profile. In your profile settings, simply set your profile’s public visibility to “off.” You can also edit other privacy settings in the same way, including managing your account security, subscriptions, notifications, data privacy, and visibility preferences.