The Showdown: Resume vs. LinkedIn Profile


“Is having a stellar resume a good enough substitute to having a LinkedIn profile?” I was asked this question on multiple occasions, but haven’t written an article on the topic yet. So when yesterday someone inquired: “I have a great resume, so I don’t need a LinkedIn profile, right?”, I knew I had to do the right thing: sit down and write the “Showdown”.

… LinkedIn profile is different from a resume in 7 key ways:

1. Unlike a resume, a LinkedIn profile maximizes your inbound marketing opportunities, it makes it possible for the opportunities to come to you. When you are not on the market actively looking for a job, it’s unlikely that the most up to date version of your resume is publicly available. Therefore, if you are not on LinkedIn, recruiters, employers and potential clients have very few avenues for checking out your detailed and up to date job history and accomplishments.

2. Unlike a resume, a LinkedIn profile allows you to engage with your network and with a wider LinkedIn community via status updates, long form articles, and groups – these activities are crucial for your brand building. This is an extremely powerful (and frequently overlooked and misunderstood) aspect of having a LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is a branding tool.

3. Unlike a resume, a LinkedIn profile allows you to grow and nurture your network.

4. LinkedIn profile is a living document (it’s dynamic). A resume is a snapshot of your career at a moment in time (it’s static). Think about it this way: a resume is a black and white picture taken at a certain moment; a LinkedIn profile is a web cam. In other words, if you send me your resume and I pull it up a year later, the resume will most likely not be terribly useful: you might have changed jobs, changed your career goals, etc. On another hand, if you are connected with me on LinkedIn, I will be able to pull up your profile a year from now and get as accurate of a picture of where you are in your career as in the beginning of our professional relationship.

5. A great LinkedIn profile lets your personality shine through in a way that a resume does not. LinkedIn profile gives you the power, the flexibility and the space to craft your own narrative, to be your own storyteller – in your own, preferred way.

6. Unlike a resume, LinkedIn profile is a career management tool and a vehicle for professional development.

7. A LinkedIn profile includes the following items that a resume does not:

  • a portfolio of your work. I have explained the importance of developing a strong work portfolio in this article.
  • recommendations and endorsements. See my article about recommendations here.
  • writing samples. As I explained in an article about LinkedIn publisher, your articles published on LinkedIn become a part of your profile.
  • a great picture of you.

It’s true that some of the things in #7 can be accomplished without a LinkedIn profile: you can attach your work samples, recommendations, and writing samples and submit them along with a resume. But why make things more complicated than they need to be? And here is another consideration: a LinkedIn profile makes it less labor intensive for the recruiter/hiring manager/potential client to piece together a comprehensive picture of you. Don’t you want to make it easy to see just how much value you bring to the table?

The bottom line is that if you are neglecting your LinkedIn profile, no matter how strong your resume is -you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage comparatively to the majority of your competition.

Looking for a speaker on thought leadership, career strategy and LinkedIn strategy? Email inquiries to

Looking for a LinkedIn class? I am teaching a series of LinkedIn classes at General Assembly in Washington DC. The first class is on March 2, 2016. Sign up at:

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2 thoughts on “The Showdown: Resume vs. LinkedIn Profile”

  1. Great post detailing the substantive differences between LinkedIn and a resume. LinkedIn is dynamic and an invaluable networking and branding tool. I think those of us who are on LinkedIn regularly tend to take these attributes for granted.


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