In business, things can change quickly.
Social media, personal branding and recruitment technology are in a constant state of evolution, which means I must stay on top of trends and look out for the next big thing.
Part of that means keeping one eye permanently fixed on LinkedIn Labs, the company’s innovation division. Love it or loathe it, LinkedIn has been a key player in revolutionising the recruitment industry, and it’s always interesting to see what kinds of projects they have on the go.
So when I heard about LinkedIn’s new Résumé Builder tool, I couldn’t resist checking it out. After all, if it really lives up to its claim to instantly arm you with a stand-out, effective résumé, my résumé writing service could be in trouble.
Let’s just say, I’m sleeping easy.
After taking the LinkedIn Résumé Builder for a test spin, it’s my opinion the tool doesn’t even come close to the needs of today’s job seekers – especially those at management and executive level.
Why Does It Fail?
After a decade of running HR & recruitment for top-tier Australian companies, and now in my role building personal brands for senior management candidates, there is one job search mistake I see people make time and time again:
Copying and pasting a résumé to create a LinkedIn profile, and vice versa.
And at the end of the day, that’s exactly what the LinkedIn Résumé Builder does: it attempts to leverage the single biggest no-no of résumé writing.
Why is it such a no-no? Ultimately, LinkedIn profiles and résumés have different functions. Used together, they can pack a powerful punch. For the magic to work, however, each document must be unique.
5 Key Ways Your Résumé & LinkedIn Profile Differ:
- In broad marketing terms, your LinkedIn profile acts as your brand lift / top of funnel awareness tool, whereas your resume tends to be a conversion / lead generation instrument.
- For your résumé to be effective, it needs to be laser-focused for the role you’re after: sending in a COO-targeted résumé for a CEO role probably isn’t going to get you a call back.
- On-the-job-specifics – such as that time you turned around the poor performance of one of your employees – aren’t appropriate for your LinkedIn profile.
- Similarly, your motivations, what you’re like to work with, and your guiding professional philosophy – all essential inclusions on your LinkedIn profile – are space-wasters on your résumé.
- Tone-wise, your résumé is an invitation to tea at Buckingham Palace, whereas your LinkedIn profile is an invitation to a networking BBQ: decidedly more casual in tone, but still professional.
Taking The Builder For A Spin.
Not satisfied to simply assume the Résumé Builder is a waste of time, I took it for a test drive, using the tool to create my own “beautiful résumé.” I fed it my own LinkedIn profile and here’s what it spat out:
And here’s page 2:
In a sea of problems, these are the 3 most stand-out concerns:
1. Formatting & Design.
For a self-proclaimed “beautiful résumé,” my Résumé Builder-created résumé is pretty darn ugly. That’s a problem because looks matter: in a recent study, recruiters said professionally written résumés were 40% better organised and readable than those written by candidates. And with recruiters spending less than 10 seconds before deciding to love you or leave you, you want to make sure you have every possible advantage.
My Résumé Builder résumé neglects to include some of my proudest accomplishments, simply because they weren’t appropriate for public consumption.
Things like helping a client land a top job he was under-qualified for, helping another switch into a competitive industry, and landing a game-changing client are all things I’d want a hiring manager to know, but would not delve into on my LinkedIn profile.
I like my LinkedIn profile, and it works perfectly for LinkedIn. But for a résumé? It doesn’t get to the heart of what recruiters care about – skills, competencies, accomplishments, and experience – fast enough.
Equally problematic is the inclusion of information most recruiters don’t need to see.
My LinkedIn Summary section is far too long for a résumé, and my Skills section is a proper mess: listing 50 skills on your résumé – many of which are variations of one another for SEO benefits – is a sure-fire way to lose a recruiter’s attention.
How To Make Your Résumé Stand Out?
Ultimately, my Résumé Builder résumé wasn’t going to be effective because I my LinkedIn profile didn’t give it the proper information to work with.
I’ve spent years honing Arielle’s résumés, which earn consistently strong feedback from both candidates and recruiters, and here’s what I find works when it comes to writing a genuinely stand-out résumé:
1. Clean Design.
Break your résumé up into manageable chunks of information, using font, spacing, and headings to draw the reader’s eye deeper into the document. Justifying paragraphs looks much cleaner, and be sure to leave some white space. I also like to use columns to present key skills and assets: it allows me to present 10 to 20 skills (no more) without taking over the document, as happened in my Résumé Builder résumé.
2. Sharp Value Proposition.
Keep the summary on your résumé to 1 or 2 short paragraphs. I like to open with an “I am a” sentence, or some variation, that includes keywords around title and experience level, and then include a description of top skills as they relate to the job. With some clients, I’ll bold keywords and terms to make it easier for a recruiter’s scanning eye.
3. Recent Employment Summary.
The Résumé Builder résumé completely lacks an Employment Summary, which is understandable in an American context – the land of the 1-page résumé. In Australia, recruiters expect to see an at-a-glance view of your past 10 years of employment.
4. Quantified Experience.
While paragraph-style writing works for LinkedIn, bullet points are much preferred in résumé writing, because they’re easy to scan, and present an easy way to make use of the all important action verb. Create two separate sections for each job listed – duties and accomplishments – and limit each section to three to eight bullet points.
I think my opinion is pretty obvious: LinkedIn should really stick to what it does best, and that’s online networking, not résumés.
The builder creates an “OK” resume, but when hunting for top jobs in 2015 being merely “OK” is as effective as staying at home. Either play to win or don’t bother at all, LinkedIn.