In the second part of this series, we looked at the differences between the summary sections of your resume and LinkedIn profile. Today, we're going to look at the differences between the experience sections of the two documents.
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But first, it's worth noting the similarities between these sections.
Similarities Between the Two Documents
Although there are important differences, there are some obvious similarities that should be mentioned – namely, accomplishment statements, the importance of keywords, and formatting.
Excellent resumes and LinkedIn profiles include quantified accomplishments in the experience sections. Numbers, dollars, and percentages speak loud and clear to recruiters and employers. People who only list the duties they performed at their previous organizations rather than prove their value through accomplishments lose out in the battle for interviews.
Having the proper keywords and keyword density propels your resume to the top of the pile after an applicant tracking system (ATS) has scanned it. Similarly, keywords are essential to being found by recruiters and employers searching for talent on LinkedIn.
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The common format of both documents is chronological. This format is preferred by most recruiters over the functional format. LinkedIn wisely chose the chronological format as the structure for its experience section.
Three Ways to Approach Your LinkedIn Experience Section
Career experts don't always agree on how you should format your LinkedIn experience section. Here are three common approaches that many people use:
1. Focus Solely on Your Accomplishments
While some career pundits believe you should copy and paste the contents of your resume experience section to your LinkedIn profile, others – including myself – feel that the LinkedIn experience section should focus solely on your accomplishments.
The purpose of doing this is to show recruiters and employers what is most important – that is, your accomplishments. It's also useful because it provides them with something different from what they would see on your resume. Why be redundant?
2. Copy and Past Your Resume
Treating the experience section of your LinkedIn profile exactly like you would your resume is a good way to provide recruiters and employers with a full sense of the important duties you've performed and the accomplishments you've achieved.
If recruiters and employers are searching LinkedIn for talent but not calling for resumes yet, your LinkedIn profile can give them a good sense of what you're capable of doing if you take the copy/paste approach. This being the case, you will rely on them to sift through the content and glean what is most important.
3. Do Nothing With It
The third way to treat your LinkedIn experience section is doing nothing with it – as is the case with many executives I've seen on LinkedIn. They simply list their title, company name, and years of employment.
I think this approach is a mistake. CEOs and directors should at the very least describe what their company does, giving visitors an idea of the breadth their responsibilities.
Executive resume writers will tell you that every section of the resume should be maximized with accomplishments and keywords. Why should the LinkedIn profile experience section be treated differently?
How to Write Your Titles
The way you write your titles for your resume and LinkedIn profiles is different. With your resume, you will write the official title you held or hold at your company. For instance, "Operations Manager." Boring, but accurate.
With your LinkedIn profile, you can be a little more creative. You can also use the opportunity to add to the keyword count and describe your functions:
Operations Manager with expertise in Project Management | Program Management | Lean Six Sigma
The differences between the experience sections of your resume and LinkedIn profile are not as noticeable as the differences between the documents' summaries, but it is important to take this section seriously.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.