LinkedIn should be an integral part of your job search and overall career management strategy. If you work in the U.S., or live elsewhere and want to join a U.S. company, having a digital footprint on LinkedIn is a must for these reasons:
- You can add the URL of your LinkedIn profile to your resume. A recruiter who has read your resume is likely click on it to learn more.
- A LinkedIn profile increases your credibility and visibility and makes you more discoverable by recruiters, who use LinkedIn as a resume database.
- Many other professionals have profiles on LinkedIn. You can connect with them and widen your profession-relevant networks to be more visible to recruiters.
The contact information on your resume should include your phone number, your e-mail address and a link to your LinkedIn profile. Unfortunately, the link assigned to you when you open your LinkedIn account is an unattractive string of numbers and letters. It looks clunky and takes up valuable space on your resume. Fortunately, LinkedIn allows you to customize a URL for your profile.
The content in both your resume and LinkedIn profile should be identical. The most common mistake people make is not double-checking dates of employment to be sure they are the same in both. Recruiters are on high alert for this red flag.
Don't try to create your LinkedIn profile until your resume is complete. Then, if you've been following my advice on how to write a resume, you'll find that your resume layout and flow is similar to your LinkedIn profile requirements, which will minimize inconsistencies. Building your LinkedIn profile then becomes a cut-and-paste job and allows you the space to add those important details that didn't make your resume (recruiters expect to see a little more supporting detail in a LinkedIn profile).
You can add the customized LinkedIn URL to your contact information at the head of your resume, as many people do. But there are those who logically believe that recruiters aren't going to waste time reading a LinkedIn profile until a candidate has grabbed their attention with a clear and focused resume, and so, alternatively, they list the URL at the end of the resume, where it is most convenient for an interested recruiter to click and learn more. Both methods work. I cover my bases—I suggest listing the URL at both the beginning and the end of your resume.
Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR.
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