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Profile vs. Resume: Are you using them correctly?

Should my profile mirror my resume?

Yes...and No. Yes, because you do not want to present conflicting information especially when it comes to dates or work experience. And No, because the two serve two different purposes, and therefore, they should be filled with different content to support those purposes.

What is a Resume's Purpose?

A resume's purpose is to explain your full credentials. The process of writing a resume is very backwards facing. Most deeper dives taken within the resume writing process include: how to showcase value in quantifiable ways, how to fit my credentials to 1 or 2 pages, what is the best way to format my information, which keywords are required for this job posting, and so on. The end result is typically a standard one to two page document with an objective, some keywords, and a listing of experience paired with accomplishment statements. The standard resume is not intended to be overtly engaging or out-of-the-box. Many job seekers applying on job boards and via the web will want their resume as ATS (applicant tracking system) compatible as possible, which means no funny formats or catchy icons.

What is the LinkedIn Profile's Purpose?

The LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, is forward facing and is intended to not only be found in, but also to set you a part in the networking world. A LinkedIn profile's purpose is to connect you with your future market in a way that they can find you (keywords) and quickly understand both your STORY & VALUE. Deeper dives taken within the profile writing process include: What makes me different than my counterparts, how can I showcase my experience to make my profile more engaging and convincing, what are all the keywords (and how do I prioritize them) that I am interested to be known for or to network in, what more can I bring to the table to prove I am successful or knowledgeable?

Having the proper keywords in your profile is vital to growing a network that will lead you to your future career path. LinkedIn should be viewed as a place to track, increase and expand your visibility into this future market. A successful LinkedIn profile and presence can prove your worth in a more tangible way by demonstrating your network, influence, thought process, passion, and so on.

In some cases, you may have enough marketing background or the help of a good coach to craft these documents on your own. However, I find many job seekers have no clue where to start or how to proceed. Most often they draft and edit a resume until they feel comfortable with the wording and then they dump it into LinkedIn. This will fill out the bare bones of your profile and will get you to LinkedIn's completion grade of All-Star. But do not be fooled. A resume dumped profile is always obvious. It often times comes off as stale and indirect on a personal social networking platform. To increase your career networking image, consider building your resume and LinkedIn as follows.

How to build a Resume and Profile that bring success and that also work hand in hand:

Step 1: Write your Resume.

Make sure to spell out as clearly and succinctly as possible your accomplishment statements (details of what was achieved in each position). A good accomplishment statement should clearly and succinctly (emphasized again!) spell out HOW OR WHAT business value was achieved. If it is not pointing to value - remove it.

Also, review your objective. Remove the easy to write fluff words like "efficient," "team player," and "optimize." Then rewrite your objective with direct and relevant keywords. Use concrete terms that would be found in a well-written job posting. Such as, "Strategic with in-depth knowledge of Project Management models and techniques of continuous improvement and LEAN manufacturing to turnaround profits."

The key in this exercise is learning to clearly define your business value from your past.

Step 2: Meditate / Brainstorm / Evaluate

Whatever you like to do or whatever you like to call it - but - take some time to focus on your future. With thoughts more idealistic and detached from your past, figure out:

  1. Where you want to go in your career or what you want to do.

  2. What unique need you fill in your market.

  3. A rough of idea of where you need to go/ what you need to do to accomplish #1

Step 3: Create your LinkedIn Profile

Now you are prepared to bring it all together. Start with the lessons learned in step 2 by filling out your headline and summary (or About section) with your end in mind or in other words as if you were already one step ahead of where you currently are to your goal. Be direct in spelling out your objective of reaching this goal (usually in the About section but also throughout) and what qualifies you for it (passion, desire, experience, or qualifications).

One of the most common pitfalls when drafting a LinkedIn Profile is not thinking one step ahead and out to your target market. The is avoided by working hard to include the right job titles, keywords, certifications, and other things to flag your profile to be in a search set with others like you or in your future career path. Sometimes identifying as little as one proper keyword can completely change the searches your profile appears in and the ads LinkedIn creates for you to others. When you hit it right on the nail, your profile viewers will become more relevant and your quality networking will increase.

The next most common pitfall is not being clear and direct in what it is you can or want to accomplish. Nobody has time to read your disjointed phrases or skills and put them together into a career story (except your career coach). You must draw these conclusions for them and write a story that is easily and quickly understood. Present a finished product that is polished and well-refined. Your profile should pull from your experience (relevant pieces pulled from step 1 above) to tell a story that clearly leads to your career aspirations (step 2 above). Perfecting this message will bump up your networking game far more than you know both strengthening conscious and subconscious networking connections as well as speaking to the algorithm of LinkedIn to place your profile in a position to be found in your target market.

What tools do you use to write your resume or profile? Let me know in the comments below.

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