As happens in the circle of forward thinkers and futurists, predicting the next trend is inevitable. In the careers environment, many experts feel that LinkedIn is surpassing the resume in value, and in some cases, replacing it altogether.
This likely will never happen. For one thing, the groundwork to create a career story “foundation” is always going to require much digging, unearthing and investigating before the first line is actually etched onto the page or the screen. Where people get distracted is that they think it’s about the form of the career story (or, actually, what you “call it”; i.e., resume, LinkedIn profile, Career Story, Career Portfolio) versus the actual function.
A resume’s function is to tell a career story that grabs the reader’s (hiring decision maker’s) attention, and whether you do that through a Microsoft Word document or by publishing on LinkedIn, the foundational elements of creating a rich, deep, nuanced message are the same. And cutting through them to shortcut the process inevitably short-circuits an effective job search.
With that, the debate around LinkedIn’s eventual replacement of the resume rages on. Here are five predictions on LinkedIn and the future of the resume.
1. It’s too public.
Despite certain privacy settings, you are publicly broadcasting your resume when you publish to LinkedIn. Where you might be comfortable listing specific revenue and profit gains on a resume, you may hesitate to be as explicit on your LinkedIn profile. Company colleagues or executives may frown upon this because publishing such information could disclose competitive marketplace information. It is becoming a widely understood fact that company agents are researching LinkedIn profiles of their competitors to build marketplace advantage with products and services.
As well, while your resume may employ highly charged language such as “revenues languished” or “profits tumbled” or indications that you “took over a dispirited team” or “transformed a system wrought with inefficiencies, inaccuracies and missed deadlines,” you may tread waters a little more lightly on LinkedIn. You should avoid publicly offending or otherwise throwing a prior manager, employee or leadership team “under the bus.” With a resume, you have control over who you share it with, so you can choose when to be more bold and specific in your claims, without recourse.
2. It’s limited in space and titles.
When publishing to LinkedIn, you articulate your story publicly, which is great because you broaden your reach, but it must be within the constraints of character count limits and LinkedIn-prescribed headlines, the most popular of which are “Summary,” “Experience” and “Education.”
In a resume, there are no limitations. While you may choose to contain your resume to one, two or three pages, if you want to write a summary that is 2,001 characters long, you can (LinkedIn’s summary limits you to 2,000 characters), or you can abandon rules further and draw up a 3,000+ character summary.
As well, when developing a resume, you can author your own section titles, instead of being limited to LinkedIn’s templated and unchangeable titles. Instead of saying, “Experience” perhaps you prefer “Executive Performance Overview” or “Record of Innovating Value-Focused Investments.”
3. It squelches color and charisma
While you can add links and upload files to your LinkedIn profile, the foundational layout of the profile limits your ability to disrupt the content with splashes of color, differentiating fonts and other graphic enhancements. In a creative resume, you can paint headlines blue or orange or green; you can embed art and logos anywhere you choose and use Calibri or Arial or Century Schoolbook for the content (body copy). You can’t do any of this with LinkedIn.
4. You don’t own it.
LinkedIn owns LinkedIn, including all the rules and regulations that go along with it. The corporation that is LinkedIn will always dictate layout, content and rules of the user road. With a resume, you own your document, your content and how you use your information.
5. Companies still require a resume.
While many futurists claim the resume is dying – even dead – it is not true. More than a majority of companies still require a resume, often early in the hiring process (not as an afterthought). Assuming the resume is not as valuable as LinkedIn or other social networking tools puts you at an immediate disadvantage. For many, this means less effort taken to develop a powerful resume story and thus, a lackluster result.
At the end of the day, you need both – resume and LinkedIn. However, there is a marriage between the two that many people overlook. They are partners each with their own independent value and personalities while also promising to be connected at the hip to create a beautiful career communications union.