“Someday LinkedIn will take the place of a resume and there will be no need for a resume anymore.” I have heard this statement from colleagues and peer career coaches probably ever since I have started in this industry, in 2014. Now, seven years later we still have a need for both. LinkedIn simply cannot fully take the function of a good resume. But, most importantly, even the best resume is not a substitute for a well refined LinkedIn profile. You really need both. Period.
Why do you need a LinkedIn profile?
As the world is still struggling with the effects of COVID, our networking and communication is limited to online and virtual tools. When it comes to job search, LinkedIn is your best friend. When recruiters are looking for specialists to hire, they go to LinkedIn to do their search. Sometimes, if your profile is well crafted and complete, is rich with keywords and clearly defines your value, that alone can be enough for someone to reach out to you for an interview. You may not even need to worry about working on your resume or applying online.
And when you do apply for a job, most likely recruiters and hiring managers will do an online search for you after receiving your application. What do you think will be the first thing they see? Your LinkedIn profile. Whether you include the URL on your resume or not (and I recommend that you do), most people are very easy to find on LinkedIn—even if their profiles are empty.
What happens when your profile is empty, incomplete, or doesn’t exist?
Yes, I still run into folks whose LinkedIn profiles need a lot of work. Sometimes all they have is just their name, current title, and a list of companies they have worked for. No pictures, no descriptions, no “about me” section. Unfortunately, having an empty profile doesn’t make it harder for people to find you. But when they do find you, the first thing they see is your empty profile.
There may be a lot of reasons why people choose not to work on their LinkedIn profiles. Most people are too busy, don’t think they need to because they are working or simply just not into social media. Working on your profile feels like a lot of work and you are not really connecting with anyone. You have no idea what impact your profile can make on someone. But if your profile is well-written, it does make an impact on those who read it.
People who lack a good LinkedIn profile in 2021 look like they are behind technology or are not comfortable using it. This may not be true, but it is the first impression they make. Besides, you
don’t have anything to show to a prospective employer. Many times, a recruiter will move on to the next person and you won’t even know you just missed an opportunity of a lifetime.
LinkedIn is a great tool and opportunity.
In addition to looking bad when you don’t have a good LinkedIn profile, you are actually missing a ton of great opportunities that could have landed on your lap otherwise. I have already mentioned the opportunity to be discovered by a prospective employer. LinkedIn offers a unique way to network and communicate with employers, recruiters, and past colleagues, like no other platform out there.
Last, but not least, don’t get caught by a myth that LinkedIn is only for job seekers. Some people hesitate to work on their profile because they don’t want to give their boss and impression that they are looking for another job. Whether you’re currently working or not, looking for a new job or not, it is always a good idea to keep your LinkedIn profile complete, engaging and up to date. It takes time to build a solid network to be able to use it effectively.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.