Common advice for applying to jobs in today’s market is to tailor your resume carefully to each position in order to maximize your chances of landing an interview. At the very least this involves keyword modifications, but could also affect what you include, what you omit, what you highlight, and what you downplay based on the specific position’s requirements. While there is no limit to the number of resume versions you create, LinkedIn profiles present a challenge with this strategy. Since you can only have one, how do you market yourself effectively to multiple audiences?
Before I answer this question, I must stress that LinkedIn profiles and resumes are not interchangeable, and LinkedIn profiles have not replaced or “killed” the resume. Each has their own specific and essential purpose in a job search. Arnie Fertig of Jobhuntercoach.com does a nice job summarizing some of the main differences between resumes and LinkedIn profiles in his US News and World Report article, “7 Ways Your Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Should Differ.” Both items describe you as a professional, but in very different ways.
We all know it’s not beneficial to simply copy and paste resume content directly into our LinkedIn profiles, but how do we effectively target all of our intended audiences with only one page? In short, take advantage of the design and purpose of LinkedIn and be broad! Write generally enough to speak to each of them, but still maintain a strong focus on your most transferable and marketable skills. Fully utilize the personal tone recommended for LinkedIn profiles as well as the nearly unlimited space you have to include your multifaceted skills, credentials, experience, achievements, projects, recommendations, etc. Because you have far more room to work with in LinkedIn, you don’t have to make the tough choices on what to cut and what to keep.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an opportunity to present yourself as a well-rounded, versatile professional and your resume as an opportunity to home in on specific skill sets. The two tools can and should complement and support each other.