can I just send employers my LinkedIn page rather than a resume?

A reader writes:

When applying for a job, why can’t we send a link to our LinkedIn page rather than a traditional resume? There’s more information on my page than I could ever fit on a one-page resume, and it looks great.

Well, because they’re not asking for that. And they’re not asking for that for many reasons:

* Most employers want your resume in their applicant tracking system, and most systems aren’t set up to take LinkedIn pages.

* Most employers prefer to have things in the format that’s easiest for them, rather than in whatever format applicants prefer to provide. When you’re screening hundreds of resumes, it’s a lot easier to have a consistent format.

* The traditional resume format gives employers the info they want quickly. When you say that there’s more information on on your LinkedIn page than you could ever fit on a traditional resume, that’s not necessarily an advantage. Hiring managers don’t want loads of info at this stage; they want to see very specific categories of information distilled down to the key points, so they can get what they need quickly. A resume gives the amount of information they want at this stage. (That said, since you mentioned a one-page resume, do note that you’re allowed to have a two-page resume as long as you’re not just a few years out of school.)

* People often put different types of information on LinkedIn than on a resume. For example, you might have accomplishments that your company would be fine with you listing on a resume but wouldn’t want publicly posted on LinkedIn (for example, because it’s a semi-confidential or at least not blare-to-the-world type of project, or because it involves working on some area of company weakness).

* Many employers still print paper copies of candidates they’re phone-screening or interviewing, and LinkedIn doesn’t print well.

* You can tailor a resume for a particular job posting, which you can’t do with LinkedIn.

Ultimately, I think you’re falling into a relatively common trap of thinking about more about what you’d like to be able to send rather than what employers prefer to receive. And at the very start of the process, when they know nothing about you other than that you’re one of possibly hundreds of candidates, they want you to use the system that works best for them.

{ 122 comments… read them below }

  1. Jubilance*

    Probably the last 10 job applications that I completed, it had an option to connect your LinkedIn profile and allow that to populate the application system, instead of uploading a resume. So while it’s not just sending a link to your LinkedIn profile, some companies have recognized that more people are using LinkedIn as an online resume and allow you to connect to it in the application.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah, if they specifically give you the option, that’s of course different. (Although even then, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using it in place of a resume, because of some of the reasons above.)

      1. Zahra*

        I’ve sometimes done the “fill with LinkedIn” thing and then went over to correct formatting, change a few things, etc. It still saved me some time compared to filling it out by hand or copy-pasting for each field.

      2. Green*

        She can consider looking for jobs on LinkedIn with an “apply via LinkedIn!” button. :)

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve seen that too, but that’s ultimately up to the employer. If she prefers to see a LinkedIn page, then that’ll work for the OP. A lot of employers want a résumé primarily, though, and the LinkedIn page is just extra.

  2. super anon*

    i had someone send me their resume and the only contact information on it was their linkedin. i wanted to interview them, but i wasn’t going to create a linkedin just to invite them for an interview, so i didn’t end up interviewing them. they didn’t submit a cover letter either, so i had no way to get their contact information.

    i don’t mind people listing the link on their resume, but if you do, please, please, please still list a phone number and an email address.

    1. MaggiePi*

      Out of curiosity, how did they submit their resume? Was it through an online portal?
      I wonder if I’ve done this before without realizing it.

      1. super anon*

        they submitted a .pdf of their resume through our online application system. our system doesn’t allow for applicants to submit their info aside from uploading documents (it’s not like taleo where you reinput all of your info), so they would have had to intentionally create a resume without any contact information to submit.

        1. Anonsie*

          I bet this was an accident, like that resume they’ve posted publicly or had to use for work or something so they removed personal contact information knowing most systems give you a way to add it elsewhere… Then didn’t think about it when yours was different.

        2. Dangerfield*

          I wonder if they’d recently submitted a resume to a temp agency and had forgotten to put the contact information back in.

    2. MillersSpring*

      I’m confused by your statement that you would have had to create a LinkedIn. You don’t already have a LinkedIn page?

      1. MillersSpring*

        To clarify, I agree that it’s uncool for a candidate to send only the URL to their LinkedIn profile.

      2. super anon*

        no, i don’t use linkedin. i don’t like linkedin for a variety of reasons and have yet to make one. it hasn’t hindered my ability to job search (i work in academia) but if i need it in the future I may need to reevaluate.

      3. Not Karen*

        I don’t have a LinkedIn page either. Once upon a time I did, and it was 0% useful, so I stopped bothering to keep it.

        1. Tommy*

          My LinkedIn profile alone has gotten me interviews at places like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn itself ( :-) ), so for me it was super valuable, esp. since I don’t think either company would have called me back if I just submitted a resume like the other thousands of people that apply.

          But I would imagine that would be more the case with places that do a ton of hiring (like a few dozen people a week).

          1. Jake*

            All tech companies on your list. In my industry, I’d guess less than 40% of people have an up to date linkedin.

          2. Honeybee*

            I have found it’s much more a tech company thing. I work in tech and have gotten tech contacts through my LinkedIn but very few contacts from any other type of company. Frankly, I find it rather useless but I have one just because it’s the norm in my field.

      4. Anonsie*

        The grand majority of people I’ve worked with don’t use LinkedIn, which makes it useless for me so I don’t either.

        1. AMT*

          I am going to start using the phrase “grand majority.” I like it so much better than “vast.”

      5. snuck*

        I don’t use it… I’m not looking for work right now, but in the past when I’ve been recruiting (in IT, project and business analysis etc) I’ve not used it either.

        I have one. It was set up in the early days of LinkedIn and wildly out of date – and for good reason. My email gets flooded (after years of non-use!) still with friends and family asking for endorsements, past colleagues updating their workplace (and it asking me to interact with their profile) etc. I feel that it’s a breeding ground for inaccurate information unless it’s very tightly managed, and unless I’m a heavily experienced user weeding out the rubbish information vs an accurate picture. It’s because of this that I wouldn’t consider using LinkedIn as a primary source of information about anyone. If I was shortlisting for a mid tier professional role and needing to narrow down the pool a little I might go looking, or at reference checking stage I might use it to cross check the information already received in an interview vs what’s online… And someone with a massive prescence on LinkedIn would worry me equally – anyone who pours so many hours into such a variable tool has … a story. I’d want to understand WHY they put all those hours into perfectly tailoring, maintaining contacts, accurately presenting every possible permutation, running discussion groups – and WHEN – was this on work time? That could factor into my thought processes on applicants for sure. (Ditto Facebook… you have stuff public? I’m going to look at it, and anything else I turn up with a Google search of your name, alma mater, addresses and other such information.)

        1. Katherine*

          So, wait, you’re going to spend hours and hours looking up every single thing you can about these people to make sure you know every last thing about them, but heaven forbid if their information is actually accurate and up-to-date when they are actually job-searching? As opposed to perhaps considering that actually they have the information up-to-date so that people like you get confirmation from what you read on their CVs? And maybe they spend all this time on it – heaven forbid! – outside of work hours. (I know I do.) And maybe, by spending this time on it, they are showing themselves to be thorough, considerate and efficient as they know that many people who are hiring do check out the information on such sites. Which you don’t, but have just said you do.

          It might be worth you taking time to consider how you actually do feel about it, because your summary has me very confused right now.

          1. snuck*

            Not quite. I can find out a lot in a quick Google search based on their email address, their name, their social and professional organisations – and do a quick overview. I’m looking for quick character information really, it’s not a reference from an employer as much as “Does Rebecca Smith present a face online similar to what I want to see in my employees” … This doesn’t take hours to find, mere minutes. I’m looking for an impression for team fit, rather than hard data.

            Sure… if people are updating their LinkedIn at home that’s very different to updating it at work. If frequent updates are occuring during work hours to discussions and community spaces etc (and this person works a normal schedule) then they are probably doing it from work. A LOT of people actually do this.

            If the information is accurate and up to date… great. But a great many LinkedIn users don’t have accurate information, particularly the information about their job responsibilities, the endorsements are often from people they aren’t working with and the list goes on. Kudos to you if you are one of the few people using LinkedIn correctly, but from my side of the fence I see it as a tool that has limitations and not much better than a persons resume.

        2. MillersSpring*

          LinkedIn is certainly not for everyone or every industry, but many professionals and hiring managers find it useful, therefore it can be another useful arrow in a candidate’s quiver. My own profile is quite thorough, mostly because I either had time on my hands when between jobs or because I made it a priority when networking for other reasons. Please don’t infer that a thorough LI profile means a candidate is narcissistic or has wasted time on the job.

          1. snuck*

            As I said… I don’t use it as a primary source of information, and would use it for background information/confirmations in certain positions.

            A thorough LI profile is fine… it’s the time spent in discussion and user boards, the fact that often people have connections with family and friends (that have no professional connection) etc… If I see a clean LI profile – fantastic! But a lot of the ones I’ve looked at haven’t been… healthy.

            1. Honeybee*

              I’m not understanding why you would object to time spent in discussion boards and user groups. In my field, discussion/user groups on LinkedIn are a valuable source of networking and contact-making, because I work in tech and tech tends to value online connections and groups almost as much as in-person connections and groups. I know people who just see it as part of their professional development to participate in or moderate a group on LinkedIn. I don’t really see it as much different from attending networking events or dinners in terms of the actual activity itself and what it means for a person who does it.

            2. Naomi*

              I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone for being connected to family and friends on LinkedIn. There are many possible reasons one might do so:

              1) Family and friends who don’t work in your industry might know people who do. For example, friends who went to college with you and weren’t in the same major but knew other people in your major. It might be useful to leverage this network for introductions even if the “middleman” isn’t someone who works in your field.

              2) The person might have changed careers, and their original career was in the same field as those friends/ family members. Or they might desire to move into that field.

              3) There may be social pressure involved. I know, I know, LinkedIn is not Facebook, but I can imagine someone’s mother badgering them to accept Aunt Jane’s contact request to the point where it’s easier to just do it.

  3. Rayner*

    Also, linkedin is an external website, with no controls, and no way to correctly source information – you might have it up for just a few days and then take it back down again or it gets deleted or whatever. Your resume is a document that you put in saying, “this is what I can do, when I can do it.” A static, unchanging record that they can refer back to when they want. Same with going through the application form you filled in.

    Also, I wouldn’t trust people’s security to allow them to always access the internet or linkedin – you never know what kind of awful security or tracking systems these places run and it makes life mighty complicated if you send them a link they can’t get access to.

    1. KR*

      This was what I was thinking. You have no way of knowing what access this person has. Also, LinkedIn has ads and popups. You don’t want to subject your interviewer to ads just to see your resume. Job B basically has our computers locked down. You can only access company web sites and the company intranet because as far as they’re concerned, that’s all you need.

    2. L McD*

      Yeah, what if they go down for maintenance or get hacked? For something as crucial as a job application, it’s a bad idea to rely on a third party website.

  4. Eric*

    And because I can send a co-worker an e-mail with a bunch of resume’s attached, less practical with linked-in links. (even for me, imagine how much more so for the less tech savey people I work with). And I can do that without having to worry about linked-in telling you that I visited your profile.

    1. Stephanie*

      I hate the “So-and-so viewed your profile” feature. (I was so happy when I figured out how to turn that off.) I could imagine were I interviewing this person, I might need to look at the LinkedIn profile a few times and it might look a bit nuts how often I did.

    2. snuck*

      I hate HATE the thing where it tells you who has viewed your profile. That feature makes the whole site weird, intrusive (like Facebook) and promotes crazy thoughts. Sigh.

  5. Julia*

    I just wish that employers could just have a common universal system (like many colleges now have). You could have individual tailoring, but how many times do I have to input the last 5 places I worked and where I went to college

    1. Roscoe*

      Amen. Even Taleo though, which a ton of companies use, those systems don’t speak to each other. So you are giving the same info 5 times in the same system, just for different places

      1. Tommy*

        But no one should even think of standardizing on Taleo. Whoever thought Taleo was a good idea to foist onto the world will get what’s coming to them in the afterlife. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Satan himself had a hand in it :->

        1. Stephanie*

          In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Satan himself had a hand in it :->

          Hell would be an eternity of trying to fill in the high school “major”, only for it to get constantly rejected.

    2. Stephanie*

      Yeah, when I applied to grad school, a few places used Apply Yourself…but they all tailored it differently.

  6. BetsyTacy*

    If a candidate sent me just a link to their LinkedIn profile in lieu of a resume, they would automatically go in the ‘what the heck wrong with this person’ pile.

    Do I check your LinkedIn profile? Yes. And I Google you and ask any connections we may have in common. Ultimately though, resumes are the generally accepted tool for hiring in a 2016 professional environment. When I walk into a meeting with my bosses, I have a stack of resumes, not a series of Facebook profiles or video clips or groups of tweets. The other things are in addition to, not instead of, a resume.

    1. OwnedByTheCat*

      Someone sent me an online resume and I had to log into it to see it. I was feeling nice so I wrote back and said I’d need a resume and cover letter to move forward. Never heard back. Still irritates me to no end!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’ve been getting more of those — not LinkedIn, but links to Google docs, etc. I write back and say “you need to send it as an attachment.” It’s annoying.

        1. L McD*

          Oh lord. I mean, that’s a bad idea regardless, but it’s not even hard to change the setting so it’s publicly viewable. Why wouldn’t they triple check that before sending???? Are they actively trying to make it more difficult to view their resume?

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            Not that most average gmail users have this issue, but if you have a custom domain, it is actually VERY difficult to share docs publicly. We use Gmail as our email client at my job. I’m our Google Apps administrator and pretty damn internet savvy and it took me an HOUR of googling to figure out which setting needed to change for one of our staff to share a Google Sheet with a third party without requiring the third party to have a Gmail account. And they only had “preview” rights; there is absolutely no way to extend editing rights without both parties having a Gmail account.

        2. OwnedByTheCat*

          Yes, getting a million google docs too. So annoying – and they also look like crap. I love Google Docs but find the formatting wonky. The margin for error is too big.

          1. LQ*

            I’m so excited google docs finally added a navigation pane which will make things so much better! I have already convinced people to start using the styles because of it.

            (That said I would be very reluctant to use it for work, and not at all for before a job interview. I do think I used it once for sending a writing sample because they didn’t have a method to do so and I offered a couple ways and they jumped at yes, just share in google docs.)

            1. anonanonanon*

              I love using Google Docs and Drive for work. A lot of our content is shared across multiple teams and it’s nice to have an easy way to see everyone’s comments or updates, since out internal programs are awful and some people only have access to certain areas or screen.

              1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

                I also love Google Docs for work! It’s excellent for sharing work and getting feedback.

                It’s really not set up for any kind of complicated formatting, though, so I seldom use it to create anything that’s not basic text.

        3. blackcat*

          This drives me batty when students do it–I either want pdfs (no formatting issues) OR to submit a document through the online system.

          I do my best to train them out of it before they get to people like you, Alison!

          1. Tommy*

            Ha! I had one teacher who specifically required written assignments to be submitted as Google Documents! He was very organized, though: you had to copy your doc to a specific folder designated for that assignment. I think handling both Google Docs and ordinary files would be a nightmare, just like mixing LinkedIn profiles with resumes.

            The formatting in Google Docs only sucks if you want ample control over it. If you just want simple and clean (my prof did), it’s fine.

            Also, Google Slides is great for making super portable slide decks that work on every OS. Presenting a PowerPoint slideshow with embedded pictures and things like that on a strange computer is fraught with peril.

            1. Sunshine*

              Nearly all of my kids’ school projects are done through Google Drive nowadays. Previously, it was always a pain (or impossible) for them to do any of the work at home, because the school used Macs and we had Windows at home.

        4. Product Person*

          It’s probably because some companies are now asking for it. When I was recently looking (just because–I have a good job) I saw a couple of job postings in high tech saying “don’t send us our resume; enter a link to an online resume”. There was also a field to enter your LinkedIn URL.

          Not an excuse, but that may be the reason you’re getting those links — people are having to do that for other jobs and are finding it easier to do the same for other jobs when they should be submitting a more traditional application package.

        5. Jadelyn*

          My favorite ones are the links to video resumes. I have yet to have a single video-resume candidate ever respond when I reply and request a resume and cover letter as specified in our job ad.

        6. Honeybee*

          One thing that might be driving that is that if you are attempting to send a document as an attachment that is in your Google Drive, Gmail will automatically insert a link to ‘share’ the document instead of an attachment. You have to manually change it to an attachment. It is the most annoying thing, and I wish they would stop doing it.

      2. John Cosmo*

        Where I work, we request copies of transcripts, and an increasing number of colleges are using a “service” to provide the information. I receive two separate emails with a user name and then a password, then I “have to” open the document ONLY using Adobe Acrobat (which is not the default PDF program that our tech department uses and has installed on all of our computers).

        We use Macs and they all have a program called “Preview” (which is really a great program). And of course I’m not allowed to install software on my computer (such as Adobe Acrobat) and it is just an overall pain. But when I complained, I was told I had a bad attitude.

        1. blackcat*

          At least in an older version of Mac OS, there was a way to create an admin account without the original admin account on any mac.

          I did it on my work mac to be able to install software. When I was discovered, the tech guy said that if I was able to implement that work around, I could be trusted to install my own software.

          I do not recommend this method unless you have a good relationship with whomever might discover your mischief.

    2. HumbleOnion*

      I had one applicant submit a link to a Tumbler blog. We’re normally ok with something like that, but this one was password protected. And that meant we had to log into Tumbler to view it. The people who didn’t have Tumbler accounts would have had to create one. They didn’t bother.

      1. Anonsie*

        Tumblr? Tumblr??? This actually may be the most perplexing applicant story I’ve seen

        1. HumbleOnion*

          To be fair, it’s a writing job & people know we don’t require a traditional resume. Tumblr, WordPress, Medium, etc give people more formatting options than a PDF would.

      2. SL #2*

        Tumblr?!? I’m what you’d consider a power user, but I would’ve gone with WordPress or Medium loooong before choosing to use Tumblr for writing samples.

      3. Violet Fox*

        Isn’t rather bad from when applying to a job to assume that the people you are applying to have the same social media networks that you do, if if not that they would be willing to go through the bother of making an account just to view your stuff?

    3. Kyrielle*

      Yes, this. I love LinkedIn but all it got even so was a single line in the contact info, on my resume … I believe it was the bottom line. If the employer would like to view it, I want to make sure they see my LinkedIn, and all the various stuff there that didn’t need to be on my resume but may be interesting. But that’s it.

      (I got, and get, a lot of recruiters through LinkedIn – I think value varies with industry and with how maintained and detailed it is, both.)

  7. Just me*

    This illustrates exactly why I don’t think linked in is as important as everyone pushes on this site.

    1. Elizabeth*

      Yep. Maybe it’s because I’ve only ever hired in an (understaffed, under-resourced) not-for-profit context, but I literally never, ever look at anyone’s LinkedIn profile when they bother to include it. I don’t have time to go following you around the internet instead of you giving me the information I explicitly asked for.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think LinkedIn is heavily pushed here, other than as a really useful rolodex to keep track of contacts (so you can track down past managers for references, etc.). There are some fields that recruit heavily from LinkedIn, but the majority don’t.

      1. Abby*

        This was my impression, too. A few months before I graduated from grad school (and was looking for a research job in biotech), my husband (who works in high tech and now wants to switch to business development) kept hounding me to update/spruce up my LinkedIn profile, saying that EVERYONE uses it and was going to look there. Instead, I found that most scientists in my field didn’t really maintain extensive profiles– really just a short list of previous and current positions.

        1. Anxa*

          I hate LinkedIn. Hate it. Sometimes I figure my underemployment is my own fault, because I’m not pounding the virtual pavement hard enough.

          But whenever I think about having to go on LinkedIn, I get very anxious. It’s my biggest anxiety trigger. Having to broadcast to all my friends and family what a professional failure I am Broadcasting to potential employers that I have interest, skills, and experience in other fields? Having information public to abusers?

          It does make me feel a little better that the industries I work in (science and education) aren’t particularly LinkedIn heavy. In fact, a lot of science circles are pretty anti-LinkedIn.

  8. Leah the designer*

    For those who don’t have a current resume but do have current LinkedIn, there is an option to export out a resume in pdf format from your LinkedIn. By no means should that be your stopping point as it isn’t formatted correctly for a resume, but it’s a good place to start.

  9. Terra*

    I’m not sure the formatting point holds up. Or maybe I’m just not understanding it? LinkedIn actually has a more consistent format than a resume would because the website itself forces the information to be displayed in a certain order (e.g. your experience is always displayed in reverse chronological order). Where as a resume can be formatted however the applicant likes. Not necessarily saying the advice is wrong just that this point is strange to me.

    1. Elizabeth*

      I think Alison means consistent format as in file type, etc. If you ask your applicants to submit a PDF, it’s annoying to get a bunch of PDFs and then a random link to LinkedIn.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes! Terra, I think you’re talking about the second bullet point in my answer, right? (Most employers find it easier to have things in the format that’s easiest for them, rather than in whatever format applicants prefer to provide.”) I’m talking about, for example, an attached PDF that’s right here versus a link to go to a website.

        1. MillersSpring*

          I thought you meant that having candidates enter and/or paste their details into a candidate tracking system provides HR recruiters and hiring managers with consistent info for comparing candidates.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Nope. I actually strongly prefer systems that let you just upload a resume and cover letter but don’t make you copy/paste all your details.

  10. gawaine*

    Agree with all the points you made above.

    I’ll add to your point about a consistent format: Written communications is important in just about every job I can think of it that needs a resume. Your resume is the first opportunity I will have to review your work – and usually, no matter how much information someone has on LinkedIn, they don’t spend the time thinking about it as a writing assignment and formatting it accordingly. If I’ve got a stack of resumes, then it’s fair for me to use the quality of the resume writing (not just the content embodied) to judge how well someone can do a single, well defined task without having time constraints. If I look at other formats, it’s not fair to do that.

    I do look at LinkedIn, and Twitter, and anything else I can find to get more information on people, but not until they’ve made the cut.

  11. Nancy B*

    I just heard a radio story on NPR about a former recruiter who designed a job app called JobSnap. He specifically said he doesn’t like resumes. He thinks they’re a terrible way to evaluate an applicant. I immediately thought, “I wonder what Alison Green would think of that.” Here’s a link if you’re interested in listening:

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My take: It’s another attempt to make money by selling something employers don’t actually want to use. Most employers are very happy with traditional resumes, despite entrepreneurs’ constant efforts to sell them a different system that doesn’t meet their needs nearly as well (in this case, it looks like video resumes).

      1. my two cents*

        agreed – another 3rd party website trying to make a quick buck.

        i can’t even tell you how many 3rd party websites exist for conflict minerals/reach/rohs reporting now and they ALL stink.

      2. John Cosmo*

        You sure nailed this one!

        I wish you had a “Thumb’s Up” feature or a “Like” button or something like that!

        1. BioPharma*

          I do kind of wish something like that existed at least for the Open Thread. I don’t go in anymore because it’s overwhelming, but if there was a “like” or “voting up” feature I would definitely scan the top several threads. :)

    2. TootsNYC*

      I have huge side-eye for people who say, “I don’t like that,” or “I prefer…,” and then extrapolate out that they think most people are just like them. It was one of the things I internalized from journalism classes–that I should never assume most people are like me, think like me, react like me.

      My own personal preference is for a piece of paper. Then I can flip through several of them all at once. It’s just more information-dense, and I react better to pieces of paper.
      Might other people prefer the electronic? Sure! Though, given the conventions in our employment culture, I expect them to tel me that.

      1. hbc*

        With you on the side eye. My company sells a very customizable product. We hear on a monthly basis how it’s crazy that X or Y or Q2a isn’t standard, it’s obvious that *everyone* would want it. (The argument being that we should do the customization for free for them.) It doesn’t matter if I show them that Option Q has been offered for years and only one other customer has used it, they’re convinced that everyone everywhere wants and needs Q2a.

        There’s a high correlation between people who think they’ve got The Answer and who start businesses, but less so with actually being right about what other people want.

      2. Tommy*

        This is exactly what I see so many people doing when it comes to resume and job-seeking advice (very notably: NOT Alison!): they preach their personal preferences as gospel and their pet peeves as heresy. It is intellectual laziness on their part that just makes the lives of everyone who takes their words at face value harder.

    3. Honeybee*

      I wish tech entrepreneurs would stop creating solutions in search of a problem and actually do a little market research/investigation before creating something. The founder of this app doesn’t sound like he’s actually done a lot of hiring himself.

  12. Umvue*

    As a side note to Alison’s point about what does and doesn’t belong in a LinkedIn resume, there’ve been some funny stories recently in the infosec world where employees or contractors of NSA and the like have included specific info about their roles in classified programs. Maybe not the best plan!

  13. grasshopper*

    The OP can include Linkedin profile in their resume or cover letter as appropriate. You can get a personalized shortened URL by changing your settings.

    1. Jadelyn*

      +1 – this is what I’ve done. My resume header has, along with my email and phone number, a short/customized link to my LI profile page. I figure that makes it easy if they want to check it out, but still leaves the focus on the resume itself.

  14. DCLimey*

    I had a senior programmer who refused to create a resume.

    His logic was that you can look him up on linkedin, see samples of his work on his website, github etc.

    Never seemed to stop him getting decent jobs. But I think the tech industry is bit… different to traditional industries.

    1. Karowen*

      It probably also helped that he was senior. When you get high enough in a career to be actively contacted – rather than having to find and contact new employers yourself – it’s a whole different ballgame. I’d be very surprised if that would’ve flown when he was a junior developer.

    2. MK*

      I think it matters in what stage in your career you are; also, how in demand your skills are.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I interviewed a freelance copyeditor who was also a musician (he achieved some modest indie success). I’d phoned him on someone’s recommendation, and he came to the interview. I’d asked for a resumé, and he handed me an odd-size piece of paper, clearly torn off something else, on which he’d written his name, contact info, and a brief header about the last 2 assignments he’d had.

      I ended up not hiring him; I’m sure he was good, and part of it was that I didn’t have openings when he was available, but mostly it was because I had other options and took them. I didn’t want to risk having to manage interactions for someone who couldn’t be bothered with corporate norms.

      He also acted as though he would be doing me some huge favor if he accepted an editing gig, actually as if he’d done me some huge favor by coming for an interview. I’m big on the idea of the mutually beneficial relationship, and big on the idea that I have to woo employees, but you’re not doing me favors–I’m paying you.

      (Years later I was cleaning up my files, and I ran across it. I was showing it to someone who it turns out was a huge fan. She asked for it, so I wrote a note on the top about where it came from, with an eye to authenticating it, and gave it to her.)

    4. Connie-Lynne*

      I’ve had a few interviews — and gotten a few jobs — where I didn’t need to make a resume.

      But as a hiring manager, I’d think long and hard about hiring someone who refused to do a resume at all. What other ideological stands is he or she going to refuse to compromise on?

      I find the few LinkedIn-only candidates much harder to evaluate than those with resumes. It doesn’t knock you out of the running but it puts you at a disadvantage when I have to puzzle out your accomplishments rather than you just listing them.

    5. Violet Fox*

      It hasn’t happened as much recently but my team lead(senior old-school unix sysadmin) used to get unsolicited job offers every so often. They eventually slowed down because some of his contacts finally got the hint that if he wanted to move on from where he is now (been at the same place 14 years), he would have.

      Then again my whole team is weird. I’ve been there the least amount of time of the 3 of us, and I hit my 10 year mark in August. Truthfully the more I read about job hunting here, the happier I am that I really like where I am now.

      Tech is… weird.

  15. Persephone*

    In my case, I’m hesitant to update my LinkedIn page. I don’t want to clue in my employer that I might be looking for other positions if they get notified that I’ve updated my profile.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      You can turn off these notifications. When you go to edit your profile, there’s a button on the right hand side of the screen that allows you to determine if your network sees that you’ve made the changes.

    2. blushingflower*

      If you make a habit of updating it when you complete major projects or hit certain milestones I think it’s less suspicious. I just got promoted and updated my LinkedIn the same day, not because I’m actively looking for new work but so that the dates and information will be there and recorded for me if and when I start a job search.

  16. Mephyle*

    As a freelancer, I get inquiries from potential clients who’ve seen my profile on an industry-wide directory. My CV is downloadable from my profile page, but they usually still ask me to send them a copy.

    I get it, because it’s extra work for them to go back to find the profile of each person they’re approaching and download the CV themselves. If I send them the CV in reply to their email, it saves them several steps, plus they have the CV right there attached to the email conversation if they want to look at it it again when they’re reviewing their correspondence with me or, respectively, whoever else they also made inquires of.

    1. snuck*

      Possibly they are also giving you the chance to update and tailor your CV, knowing that one on a website might be generic (or often out of date). I think it’s great they do this… and shows a lot of people don’t update their online CV for there to be enough confidence in it.

  17. Lisa*

    Having either a printed or .pdf copy of a resume or other application materials is also a must for employers to accurately track their applicants for legal reasons. In my state we need to keep application information for three years (in the event that an applicant claims discrimination). If I just had a link to your LinkedIn profile, not only would that be difficult to track, it would be / could be changed to be completely different than what I reviewed to make my interview / hire decision. A crafty applicant could really hurt you that way.

  18. HR Recruiter*

    We get so many people who try and get out of submitting resumes or applications. I’m surprised we haven’t been asked this yet. I hate online applications so I make sure ours is very simple. We ask applicants to upload a resume or list their recent job history. You wouldn’t believe how many people type in the resume field, “Call me for an interview. Resume available upon request.” I think to myself well didn’t I just request it? So why isn’t it available. They submit an application that literally only includes their name and contact information and then wonder why I can’t tell if they are qualified for the job.

  19. the golddigger*

    My husband’s half brother, Ted, has been trying to drain the trust for his own son, who is mentally disabled. My husband is the trustee but wants to deal with Ted as little as possible, so he does everything by email: no talking, less badgering, and an audit trail.

    Ted keeps saying he wants to set a time to talk to Primo – that he prefers talking over email.

    I said, “He really does not understand how power works, does he?”

  20. Anna*

    I hate updating my resume, but I so much prefer just uploading it and not having to worry about typing in all the details that are ALREADY ON THE RESUME. Almost every job I’ve applied for I’ve had to do that. It’s especially galling when they say “Do not write ‘refer to resume.’ ” Makes me crazy.

  21. Noah*

    I include a link to my LinkedIn profile on my resume. However, I cannot imagine just sending the link to my profile.

    There is usually a power imbalance in hiring. There is no need for employers to make things difficult for applicants, but at the same time applicants do have to be willing to do basic things like send in a resume. They’re not asking you to throw a party for 50 of their closest friends at the drop of a hat, they’re asking you to send in a fairly standard document that all job-seekers should have. If you really don’t feel like making a resume, at least click on the link in your LinkedIn profile that says “Save as PDF” and submit that as a resume. I think the formatting is ugly, but it is basically a resume.

  22. snuck*

    For me the presentation of information at application stage is a significant communication moment.

    It’s your chance to show me that you can follow basic instructions (if I ask for a resume and cover letter give me one!), that you understand industry norms (that the resume content is appropriate, that you apply using the type of documents normal for the role/industry – no high school certificates on third or fourth job applications) and your actual IT skills (can you save your resume in a format that will retain it’s formatting accurately for me, do you have appropriate internet and email netiquette, a lot of people say they have attention to detail but there’s spelling errors, or high level Word skills but they can’t format the document in a way that reserves it’s formatting across platforms, can you actually attach a file to the email etc).

    I also want everyone applications in a similar format. Don’t make me work for it… I’ve worked at places where sites such as LinkedIn (and def. Tumblr) are only available to select staff (not the admin staff I’ve tasked with printing out the 60+ applications), you don’t stand out when you do this, you are a small pebble in my shoe and I am irritated. Assume someone is going to open your email, any attachments and hit print. I am not (or my admin staff are not) going to reformat for you, tidy up, we’ll be annoyed if it prints six blank sheets at the end and has weird extra page break formatting in it and all the other messes I’ve seen.

    I’m not going to interview you if you can’t demonstrate a basic level of skill at those things (I don’t set the bar too high… just reasonable), and if you just send my your LinkedIn profile I’m really not going to interview you. I have far more tolerance for some people… but I work in corporate, IT rich environments. If I’m interviewing for entry level staff with a graduate degree I expect them to be able to save the documents properly (or otherwise how did they send their uni assignments in???), if I’m interviewing field staff for their first or second office based roles I am much more lenient on the IT stuff, but still expect them to follow the instructions re letter and resume.

  23. Stacy M*

    I saw the caveat for two page resumes stating unless you’re a few years out of school. I graduated undergrad in ’13 and with my master’s in ’14. I worked from ’10-present in my field and also had multiple internships within my field. Would this make the use of two pages appropriate?

  24. AW*

    …most systems aren’t set up to take LinkedIn pages…
    …LinkedIn doesn’t print well…
    …You can tailor a resume for a particular job posting, which you can’t do with LinkedIn.

    Honestly, LinkedIn is leaving money on the table.

  25. Victoria Ipri*

    Great comments here on a well-written article, Alison, but also some misinformation about LinkedIn. As a LinkedIn expert, I’d like to add my 2 cents:

    1) A LinkedIn profile prints beautifully if one clicks the Print as PDF button.
    2) While many systems aren’t set up to accept a LinkedIn profile page, it’s not a ‘thing” you can send anyway, unless you’re printing it out and mailing it. All you can really do is provide the URL to your profile, and this is easy enough to do in a variety of ways.
    3) You can tailor a profile to a specific job posting by adjusting your headline, summary and one or more Experience entries to target important aspects of that desired position. In fact, assuming the job you’re going after aligns with your progressively responsible career moves, (positions you’ve already listed and described in your Experience section), it is no problem. It’s only tricky if you want to, for example, go into marketing but all of your experience is in manufacturing. Of course, if you are wildly applying to various unrelated positions and using several different resume/cover letter versions, tailoring your profile won’t help anyway. (Even LinkedIn suggests that upwardly mobile job seekers should use some of the profile to describe the job they want, not the one they have/had.)
    4) The resume and the profile are not the same. Your resume shares what you’ve already accomplished in your career. It’s a one-dimensional static document. The recipient of your resume may judge your skills based wholly on these words. The profile is a living, breathing personal billboard…yes, some resume info appears here, and it should be accurately matched, but you also have the opportunity to allow others to recommend you, endorse you, respond to your status updates, comment on your published content…and the viewer of your profile then gets an expanded view of “The Brand You” complete with your picture, a bold headline (personal branding statement), and other important insights. Just as today’s consumer makes buying decisions based on a wide variety of factors beyond price alone, today’s hiring manager may see something on your profile not available via your resume, and make the decision to reach out to you because of that piece of information.
    5) To those who don’t use LinkedIn much, consider that you can polish your profile and leave it on the site without actively using LinkedIn. LinkedIn receives high domain authority from Google, so someone searching Google for information about you is likely to see your LinkedIn profile in the top 3 search results. If you don’t have a profile, or the one you have is outdated/inaccurate, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. I would suggest that, if you aren’t going to maintain an accurate profile, you should delete your membership altogether. Better not to get found at all):

    None of this is to imply a resume isn’t needed. It surely is! Just sharing my thoughts on LinkedIn profile optimization, and hope it is helpful.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So I’m going to disagree with you :)

      I just tried the Print as PDF button — that’s not resume formatting I’d recommend anyone send out in place of an actual resume!

      Sending the URL is what the OP is asking about, as far as I can tell. And that’s what I’m saying people should not do.

      You can tailor your profile, sure, but only for one job. If you’re applying for multiple jobs, as most job seekers are, you can’t (since there’s only one page for you available at any time). They’re all going to see the same thing.

  26. Victoria Ipri*

    Thanks, Alison. I didn’t mean that the PDF would substitute for a resume; simply noting that the page prints out more nicely this way, in response to comments that printing the page itself doesn’t work well. I totally agree with you that there is no substitute.

    As to the URL, I can’t imagine any serious job seeker would believe it’s ok to send a URL only. That’s madness! The profile URL is a nice addition to the resume header, or one’s email signature, etc. but again, not a substitute.

    I do see your point about tailoring. It’s tricky, and there are many variables.

    I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your blog!

  27. Vicki*

    “Ultimately, I think you’re falling into a relatively common trap of thinking about more about what you’d like to be able to send rather than what employers prefer to receive.”

    Some day, OP. Some day, the resume will be dead and we will rejoice. (Do a web search for “Death of the resume”).

    Sadly, this is not yet that day for most of us. (I do have friends who can get away with saying “My resume is my LinkedIn profile. They are highly desirable engineers.)


    Here is what I do (admittedly I’m not receiving job offers left and right, so use at your own risk): Employers who are interested in you will start doing their research after receiving your resume. If they aren’t interested in you yet, it’s unreasonable to ask them to visit your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, or even your personal portfolio without giving them something first.
    My resume lists my relevant qualifications, experience, and then educational background, and if a recruiter decides after seeing this to do further research, I’ve included links to more information about me (LI, FB, and my personal site). The reasoning here is to decrease any friction on the employer’s end. Make things easy for them when they are initially screening you by providing them with a 1-page resume, and make things easy for them when they want to do more research by providing the information to them.
    Don’t be lazy about it (recruiters can smell laziness from miles away), but LinkedIn does provide a resume printout pdf of your work experience, recommendations, and education. I would not recommend submitting this, but you can use LinkedIn as I do as sort of a ‘Master Resume’. From there, I can pull the work experiences and recommendations that an employer would like to see the most.

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