Everyone who has applied for a job—or even started the application process—knows that every company asks for your resume. Resumes are important; they have all the information about you and your work experience that a potential employer needs to know. But although resumes are a very important part of applying for jobs and internships, you shouldn’t try to create one without first filling out your LinkedIn profile. Here’s why.
Make your job easier.
Have you filled out a basic social media profile or a survey online before? Yeah, I thought so.
But have you designed a one-page document while trying to jam a bunch of important information onto one page as you also try to decide which information you need to include in the first place? I’m guessing your answer is no, unless you’ve already taken a stab at designing your resume.
So split up the process of creating your resume into easier steps, and start with the easiest step: Typing out all of your career-related information. This is easy; designing is not. If you fill out your LinkedIn profile before attempting to design your resume, you can focus on:
- Adding all career-related work experience and education history
- Honing your wording in descriptions of your work experience
- Listing all of your skills, honors, awards, certifications, languages, etc.
By isolating the steps of designing a resume, you’ll stress less and include better information in your LinkedIn and on your resume because you won’t worry about fitting everything onto one page.
LinkedIn, your personal library of career experience
Here’s the basic idea: You put all your work experience and professional information into LinkedIn. This means that LinkedIn acts as a library where you store information about your previous job experience, skills, volunteer experience, study abroad, what have you. Then when you’re designing your resume, you can pick and choose which information to include in that particular version of your resume to tailor it to the job or internship you’re applying for. (Because you should tailor your resume to each job you apply for rather than sending out a generalized resume to everyone.)
I learned this process of creating a resume the hard way. Over the past four years, I’ve had to update my resume several times as I sought out new jobs and added in new experiences. It was frustrating trying to figure out what information to include for each job application. I would add new information to my resume about my social media experience for this job, then delete it for the next job. But then I would apply for another job that needed social media experience, so I’d have to dig back through old drafts of resumes to find what I had previously written about my social media experience. It was time-consuming.
And that’s where LinkedIn comes in handy: You don’t have to delete information or worry about editing job descriptions to fit on one page or to fit a certain job description. You can put as much information as you want about your experiences and background on LinkedIn without worrying about taking up too much space or highlighting the wrong stuff. Once you take the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile, you’ll have all your work history and professional information in one place.
Use this to your advantage! Sit down and fill out all your relevant job experience—write as much or as little as you want to in the description. You can list the projects you worked on, the skills you gained from it, or a more narrative description of the work you contributed.
Then, draw from your well of information on LinkedIn as you create your resume for each job.
Use your LinkedIn as an additional resource.
When you do send out your resume, you can always refer people to your LinkedIn for more detailed information. You can do this by including a link to your profile in your cover letter, email, or online application. This lessens the burden of fitting everything into your resume; employers can find more information about you on LinkedIn, so it’s okay if everything didn’t fit on your resume.
All in all, it’s time-saving and intuitive to make a LinkedIn profile before your resume.