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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.

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How LinkedIn Resume Builder Can Ruin Your Job Search

I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and encourage all my clients to use it actively. I’m even writing a guide on how to make the most of it as a job search tool. But not everything LinkedIn does is a good idea and the Resume Builder tool is a perfect example of this.

It sounds great in theory – create a LinkedIn profile and then transform it into a resume at the click of a button with no extra work. Who wouldn’t want that?

Here’s the problem

There are two things wrong with the idea:

1) Almost everybody has an ineffective LinkedIn profile to start with. If you translate that badly written, half-completed, impersonal and boring profile into a resume, guess what kind of resume you have.

2) If your LinkedIn profile is written the way it should be, it won’t translate into a good resume because the rules for LinkedIn are different from the rules for resumes.

There are resume conventions that recruiters and hiring managers expect you to follow. For example, never using the word “I” and omitting ‘a’ and ‘the’ for clarity. They also expect (and need) your resume to show a story of career progression and accomplishment and to illustrate it with action-oriented bullet points describing your achievement. The language is expected to be professional and crisp – if you sound too chatty, people will not think “he seems like a nice guy” they will think “he seems like someone who doesn’t know how to write a resume.”

Web Versus Print

But LinkedIn is different because it’s a website and web communication needs to be fundamentally different from print communication. It needs to be more informal, more conversational and more concise. This is why so many business websites fail by the way. They make the mistake of speaking on the web exactly the way they speak in print. It’s boring enough to read a corporate mission statement in a brochure, but post it online and you have a guaranteed cure for insomnia!

When I write a LinkedIn profile for my clients, I don’t write it in the third person. I use the word “I” liberally. My tone is conversational, and I include personal details and even humor when appropriate. My descriptions of each position are far more concise than on a resume (because people don’t like to read long blocks of text on the web) and the profile headline is different from the resume headline. Why? Because the context is different.

No Shortcuts!

If a business decided to create a website and then copy that website exactly to create a print advertisement, I’d say they were nuts. Even if the website was excellent. The same is true of LinkedIn’s resume builder.

I know we’re all in a hurry. I know we want quick and easy solutions. But the truth is that looking for a job is hard work and if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Bottom line, every type of communication is different and everyone needs to be tailored correctly for the medium and the audience. There’s no short cut to get around that fact.

Read more about LinkedIn, Online Presence.

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Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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10 comments on “How LinkedIn Resume Builder Can Ruin Your Job Search”

  1. Ed Han says:

    Excellent points re: differences between LI profile & resume and the discussion of why.

  2. Jure says:

    Thank you Louise for great info on LI. It so funny to look into LI guide on their site and they have bunch of info on how to set up profile, but nothing concreate . You ALWAYS give great points and guidelines for improvements. … Well now i need to go and correct my LI.

  3. Sally says:

    this was very helpful as I am in the midst of drafting my LI profile (finally after months of procrastination….)

  4. Diana says:

    I agree 100%. If your linkedin profile is out of shape your resume will be too! Because your resume is designed to “get the interview” and it is your invitation for that, if it is not appealing you will not get invited.

  5. Louise,

    I agree 100% too! I specialize in working with people in sales and business development to grow their revenues with LinkedIn so I haven’t really played with the resume builder tool because I work with so few jobseekers and there are others – like you – who live in that world and stay more on top of those trends. However, I always tell jobseekers that their LinkedIn profile is not supposed to be your resume because it’s supposed to show potential employers a more well-rounded view of you as a person and the uniqueness that you would bring to their company or organization. It should not be in resume speak, it should always be first person and it should always be in active tense.

    Additionally, if you are optimizing your profile for specific key phrases to be found by recruiters and potential employers, then the redundancy factor would be way too high to convert to a resume and you would be wasting valuable space to share the different skills and experiences you need to express in your resume.

    Unfortunately, I see the exact different problem once the sales and business development people should be doing with LinkedIn once THEY GET THE JOB! They never change their profile. They leave it with a jobseeking/speaking to the recruiter focus where they are talking about there job skills and how effective they are at selling and the specific approaches they take to sales.

    Once you have the job, you want to use LinkedIn to sell, but if potential prospects come to your profile, all they see is how you plan to hunt and convert them! Who would want to buy from that? It’s kind of like how Elmer Fudd could never kill Bugs Bunny! Besides being a buffoon, Bugs Bunny knew exactly what Elmer Fudd was going to do, so he was able to always evade (luckily for us in a humorous manner:-)).

    So for the jobseekers reading this…once you get the job, your LinkedIn profile needs a complete makeover (unless you’re still looking).

  6. Kelly Austin says:

    Great points, Louise!

    I love LinkedIn. I’ve been hired a couple of times through my profile. I’m a freelancer and in a constant lookout for a job. I haven’t used the resume builder tool yet. Thanks for the heads up!

  7. This was actually really helpful, I thought of actually promoting LinkedIn resume builder in my profile. Well, I am not gonna do that now

  8. Anthony says:

    Interesting. I have a LinkedIn Profile however I have definitely been neglecting it. Would it be safe to say that LinkedIn really is an effective source for career networking? It would be interesting to see a survey.

    Thanks for the article!

  9. Louise says:

    Anthony, LinkedIn is hugely useful to job seekers. All my evidence is anecdotal, but I’ve never set up a profile for a client without them seeing pretty immediate results.

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