Most job seekers treat their LinkedIn profile (if they have one) as simply an online version of their resume. They copy and paste everything from their resume and transfer it right to their profile. Or, they simply list their positions with no information to describe them. Neither of those is the best approach.

It’s important to understand the ways that a LinkedIn profile is different than your resume. Unlike your resume, social media profiles are visible 24/7. Anyone can view it at any time. This makes it more difficult to target specific positions with a LinkedIn profile. Your resume is kept private until the moment you choose to send it and therefore can be customized prior to someone reading it. The implications of this are significant. This means that your LinkedIn profile must be well-aligned with the positions that you are applying for. If you are changing careers or applying to a variety of jobs, this can be tricky.

Second, LinkedIn profiles are much more versatile than resumes. You can attach files, photos, website links and other media to it. If you are in a creative field such as writing or marketing, this can be tremendously useful in showcasing your work and helping you to stand out. Your profile serves to pique the interest of employers and get them interested in contacting you. For this reason, I don’t recommend that you attach your actual resume file to your profile. If they have your resume up front, there is less reason for them to call you!

Lastly, LinkedIn profiles are more relaxed and informal. Speaking in first person is perfectly acceptable. Feel free to be creative and add extra information that there isn't room for on your resume, such as volunteer work, interests and hobbies, etc.

Bonus Tip: Here's one more thing to know about LinkedIn. Coming up in search results is a big part of getting found online. Search results in LinkedIn are personalized to the person doing the searching. Results shown are based on those people who are within one’s network. That means that the broader your network, the more people will be able to see your profile in their search results. Go make connections!

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