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The Final Word: Your Resume vs. Your LinkedIn Profile

Stacy Pursell

The VET Recruiter

When I started in the recruiting profession, there was no LinkedIn. In fact, email was relatively new. Believe it or not, people still used fax machines. (If you don’t know what those are, Google it.) One of the ways people used fax machines was to fax their resumes to employers.

I say all of this because I have witnessed the full arc of the resume vs. LinkedIn battle. Old school vs. new school. The past vs. the future. However you want to put it, there appears to be a battle of sorts occurring in the employment marketplace between the traditional resume and the social media platform known as LinkedIn.

I happen to be caught smack-dab in the middle of that battle.

That’s because I speak with Animal Health and Veterinary job seekers and candidates all of the time. I ask for their resumes, I receive their resumes, and I hear what they think about their resume and their LinkedIn profile. Unfortunately, many times what they think and believe does not match up with the realities of the marketplace, at least not in terms of best practices for their career.

So, in an attempt to clear up any confusion, the purpose of this article is to paint an accurate picture of how Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should view their resume and LinkedIn profile and how they should use them correctly.

Perception is reality

First and foremost, your LinkedIn profile is NOT your resume. I’ve addressed this numerous times in articles, blog posts, and even webinars and presentations. I stress it because I’ve heard this many times when I ask a job seeker or candidate to send their resume: “See my LinkedIn profile.” That response is not acceptable, and it’s not just me. It’s also not acceptable to employers and hiring managers, in addition to recruiters.

Your LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for your resume. You can’t just fail to update your resume because you believe that you’re too busy to do so, and then point people to your LinkedIn profile in the interest of saving time. That’s not a savvy shortcut. You could potentially turn off an employer that has a premium opportunity that could change the course of your career and your life for the better. Doesn’t that sound like it’s worth more than saying, “See my LinkedIn profile”?

On the other hand, you can’t just focus on your resume and neglect your LinkedIn profile. That won’t work, either. And I have plenty of case studies that support this, as well. I’ve worked with candidates who had LinkedIn profiles that were woefully out of date. I’ve also worked with candidates who did not have a LinkedIn profile at all. (Although it’s a rare occurrence, it does happen.)

Here’s the problem with this particular scenario: when a hiring manager is considering a candidate for employment and they see that the candidate’s LinkedIn profile is out of date or doesn’t exist, they think that the candidate is “out of touch” or not current with technology. That is not a good way to brand yourself in the employment marketplace. As it turns out, it wasn’t true that the candidates in question were “out of touch” or not current with technology, but that was the perception. And as we all know, perception is reality more than reality is reality.

The rule: you need them BOTH

So you might be thinking to yourself right now, “Okay, Stacy . . . what is the DEAL, then? This all seems confusing. What is the right way to do things? What do employers want?”

The good news is that I have answers for you. (Although for some of you, they may not be answers that you particularly want to hear.) The final word when it comes to your resume vs. your LinkedIn profile is this:

You need to have both your resume and your LinkedIn profile, you need to have both them of completely up-to-date, and you need to have them ready at a moment’s notice.

That might seem like a bit much to you, but that’s the current reality of the employment marketplace. At one time, there were only resumes. Then LinkedIn arrived on the scene, but resumes still ruled the day. Now they rule side-by-side, with neither a substitute for the other. You may think that doesn’t make much sense, that there’s no need for both of them because either one of them will do.

I will lay out exactly why this has to be the case. It’s because this is what hiring managers want and this is what they do when they’re considering a candidate for their open position:

  1. They want to see the candidate’s resume first.
  2. After they receive the candidate’s resume, they go to LinkedIn and find the candidate on LinkedIn.
  3. They compare the candidate’s resume to the information that they have on their LinkedIn profile, checking to make sure that the information is the same and there are no glaring discrepancies.
  4. If they’re satisfied at that point, the candidate continues to be under consideration for the position, quite possibly qualifying for a face-to-face interview.

I know this is what happens because I’ve witnessed it happen many times. I speak with hiring managers every day about the candidates that I present to them. I know what they want and what they do when deciding which candidates will continue in the hiring process and which ones will not.

So right now, at this point in human history, you need both your resume and your LinkedIn profile. That is where we are and that is the final word. I don’t see this changing any time in the near future.

What does this mean for you?

If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, update it. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while, update it. If you don’t have a resume, create one. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one.

And if you have questions about any of this, I encourage you to contact me. Just don’t ask me how fax machines used to work, even though I’m happy I no longer have to fax resumes to clients.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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