Marketers, still treating your resume and LinkedIn profiles more or less the same? If so, you’re probably utilizing one (or both) the wrong way.
Whether you’re actively job searching or just want to put yourself in the best position to be approached by a marketing recruiter for new opportunities, it’s always a good idea to make the most of your resources. And of all the career tools that you have access to, your resume and LinkedIn account are undoubtedly among the best.
But one mistake we see with surprising frequency is professionals’ tendencies to treat their resumes and LinkedIn profile in exactly the same way. Whether it’s caused by a misunderstanding of the purpose of each, or just a bit of laziness, this can have a significant impact on your career growth potential.
Misusing LinkedIn is a problem for professionals in all industries and fields. But it’s particularly an issue for marketers.TWEET THIS: Why marketers need to stop treating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles the same
Even if they’re not involved in social media staffing, today’s marketing talent is expected to have a good general understanding of how major players like LinkedIn fit into the digital landscape. More importantly, they’re expected to be able to effectively market a product with the resources provided.
When a marketer at any level can’t differentiate and efficiently leverage LinkedIn to market themselves, it tells marketing recruiters and employers that this individual doesn’t understand a major digital channel and can’t take advantage of free, easy resources to market themselves. That doesn’t look good.
Make sure you’re approaching both your resume and LinkedIn account with different strategies to maximize your marketing career opportunities:
Understanding the Fundamental Differences
One major cause of the confusion is that people don’t fully understand the different purposes of a resume vs LinkedIn. This is especially common in individuals that aren’t heavy LinkedIn users and only log in occasionally to make the rare update or suddenly find themselves in need of a new job. They only see it as a platform for career opportunities, instead of a social network that happens to have an atmosphere and theme of professionalism.
That’s the key here: while a resume is strictly a marketing tool for your personal brand to a specific employer, your LinkedIn profile is how you represent yourself for social interaction to the entire network.
Beyond just being a tool for new jobs, it’s also a way for you to meet new people, follow up with previous contacts, interact on a casual level with others, share thoughts and interesting content, engage friends, have conversations, participate in groups, or even generate leads and sales.
You should treat the two tools appropriately. Your resume should remain efficient and professional with the sole purpose of promoting your qualification for a job. But your LinkedIn profile is a social tool. Include information and content not just about your background, but what you’re doing now and why it matters.
Length and Diversity of Content
With few exceptions, your marketing resume should be limited to a page or two until your career starts approaching executive levels. Efficiency, brevity, and proper prioritization are the name of the resume game.
Efficiency, brevity, and proper prioritization are the name of the resume game.
LinkedIn gives you much more leeway–take advantage of it. This extra space offers the freedom to talk about your professional experience and qualifications in a more eloquent, creative and detailed manner than a resume allows; don’t waste it with duplicate content.
Whether you have a strong track record of product marketing or a long history in contracted social media staffing, providing potential employers the same exact information multiple ways is a wasted opportunity. Why show marketing recruiters and interested employers the same thing twice?
Some LinkedIn Profile Guidelines
- You have the ability to use much more space describing your work and accomplishments than a resume. But that doesn’t mean you should write an essay about yourself and every job you’ve had. Be efficient with your space; 2-4 paragraphs for a self-summary and each of your recent jobs is sufficient.
- Use your LinkedIn profile as an opportunity to provide supplementary information and content that compliments and builds upon your resume, rather than replicates it.
- For most marketers with developed careers, a detailed explanation of every job you’ve held is unnecessary. In general, you only need to describe the last 10 years or so of your work history on LinkedIn. Beyond that, simply listed your position and place of employment is usually enough.
- Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to put your personality and voice on display in a professional context that’s a little looser than a traditional resume or similar document. But that doesn’t mean it’s an “anything goes” social network; be tactful with what you say and how you say it. If you’re unsure whether something is appropriate, it’s always better to err on the side of professionalism.
Customized vs. Universal
When you’re submitting marketing resumes to companies, it’s important to personalize it for the job and company. Different organizations will value different aspects of your experience and qualifications differently, and just as you customize marketing messages for different audiences, so should you make adjustments to your resume for each job application.
On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile will look more or less the same to everyone, differing only based on your privacy settings. Every visitor to your profile will get the same experience, whether they be interested marketing recruiters, old college friends, potential employers, and even complete strangers.
Treat it accordingly. Include only information you’re comfortable with everyone and anyone seeing. And frame yourself in a way that makes you look like an interesting human being; not just a qualified professional looking for work.
For marketers, success (or lack thereof) is defined by how you affect the bottom line. Ambitious, career-oriented marketers are usually happy to show how they positively impacted ROI at past and current jobs.
That’s great, but it can also get you in trouble if approached the wrong way. Marketers are increasingly expected to report their success in terms of hard numbers: revenue earned, sales driven, margins grown, leads generated. But that information is sometimes sensitive; some employers might not appreciate you publicly sharing internal reports and business information.
Knowing this, expressing your success should look differently on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
- A resume is a personal document, and you determine who sees it. So in most cases, you have more flexibility in reporting hard numbers.
- It’s usually appropriate (and often expected) that you share definitive figures related to your contributions and capabilities. In most cases, you should be able to cite statistics and numbers relating to your productivity: YoY growth, profits, costs cut, etc.
- As a public profile, it’s usually considered good taste not to publish internal business information in terms of dollars or hard figures unless specifically granted permission by that employer. This is especially true for private enterprises.
- When sharing success, be more general about your contribution. Talk in terms of comparisons and % increases. Instead of sharing that you drove $1 million in new customer sales in one year, for instance, say that you “doubled” new sales, or increased them by X% over your tenure, or exceeded your goals by Y%.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t just for websites trying to curry favor with Google. Most social networks, including LinkedIn, also have their own search engines you can use to your advantage.
Whether they’re networking, recruiting, looking for business partnerships or anything else, LinkedIn members go first to the network’s search bar to find people they’re looking for. If you want to get their attention and improve your opportunities for new career moves and valuable connections, your profile needs to contain what those people are searching for.
Take steps to ensure your profile is rife with relevant keywords (though not so much to appear spammy or inorganic). Do some research and find out what people are searching for, and get creative with ways to integrate that into your profile–especially if you have a generic job title that doesn’t filly describe what you do. For a basic introduction to keyword optimization for LinkedIn, start here.
Keyword optimization is somewhat less critical for resumes. It does have some value for standing out in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) of recruiters and HR departments, but you should be more concerned with your resume serving as a private marketing document optimized for people, not robots.
Your Cover Photo
A small, but important, distinction between a resume and almost any social profile is the photo.
In marketing, there is almost never cause to attach any sort of cover photo to your resume or include it elsewhere in your application. It can only hurt your cause, not help.
On the other hand, your LinkedIn account should almost always have a current, high-quality photo of you. After all, it can improve viewership of your profile up to 14 times. Generally you want this picture to reflect your professionalism, but you also have a little flexibility to show off your character and creativity.