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Should your LinkedIn profile match your resume? Yes, no & why it matters.

Mark Daniel //  6 Comments

Are they the same or should they be different? Understand the key differences to know whether your LinkedIn profile should match your resume.


If you are pondering this question, there is a good chance you are either looking for a new job or you are at least starting to think about it.

Why else would you be bothered?

After all, this is not the most exciting topic in the world.

But the bit where it does get interesting is when you realise that by getting this right, and avoiding the common mistakes so many people make, you are far more likely grab a recruiter or hirer’s attention and land an interview.

Let’s start with the main question.

What’s the difference between a LinkedIn profile and a resume? 

Some argue that your LinkedIn profile is just the online version of your resume.

This is wrong because the purpose of each is very different.

Your resume has one job and one job only – to get you an interview for a specific job.

Your LinkedIn profile has two jobs – to promote and validate you as a real person and give you the opportunity to expand your network.

When you understand and leverage the power of both, that’s when the magic happens.

2 ways your LinkedIn profile should match your resume 

Chronology and facts

A recruiter or hiring manager may see your resume first because you have applied for a job and be checking you out online.

Alternatively, they may discover your profile while conducting a LinkedIn search when they are looking for potential candidates for a role.

Either way, your work history and facts must match.

Here are a couple of examples.

Your resume says that you worked at Ace Industries from 2017 to 2022.

But your LinkedIn profile says 2021 to 2022

Which one is the truth?

Your resume says you were the General Manager.

But your LinkedIn profile says you were a Supervisor.

Is this a lie or are you just lacking an attention to detail?

Either way, it's not great.

Setting off any alarm bells in a recruiter’s head can mean you miss out on a great role.


We are talking about key words and phrases here.

I have seen so many instances where a candidate has a great, informative resume but when I view their LinkedIn profile, I see just the bare bones of their career.

Dates, job titles, and one-line descriptors of their role.

On average you get just 7 seconds to impress a recruiter when they read your resume.

But, if you haven’t put the key words and phrases they are searching for on your LinkedIn profile, you won’t even come up in their results.

So, in effect, you are invisible.

Key words can be software, processes, project names, locations, qualifications, environments, courses, duties... you get the idea.

If you haven’t told them, they are not going to know.

Further, are you aware of the PDF download function on your profile?

Here it is.

Mark profile

Many recruiters download these and add them to their Applicant Tracking System – and you don’t even know about it.

Should you be worried about this?

Absolutely not because it means you might get a call about an opportunity either now or in the future.

However, if you have put no effort into providing key words and phrases they need on your LinkedIn profile, you may be in their system but others might be getting a call before you because they look more impressive.

Go and download yours now to see whether you have done enough to sell yourself to potential employers.

4 ways your LinkedIn profile should not match your resume 

You need multiple resumes but just one LinkedIn profile

One well written LinkedIn profile is enough. You will just need to keep it updated regarding contact details and new positions.

However, one resume is definitely not enough if you want to maximise your chance of standing out from the crowd and gaining an interview.

Your LinkedIn profile provides a general snapshot of you and your career history.

When you apply for a job, you need to send a targeted resume that is written to highlight specific skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and aptitudes required by a specific role.

Its purpose is to show recruiters and hiring managers why you are the perfect fit for a role by matching your resume to both essential and desirable criteria.

Photo on LinkedIn but not on resume

Adding a photo to your resume is a bad idea.

It adds the unnecessary variable of a human reaction which could be good – but what if it is bad?

It also increases the chance that an Applicant Tracking System may reject your resume due to the design.

However, a photo on your LinkedIn profile is essential.

Remember, the primary purpose of LinkedIn is to network with others and build relationships.

It’s pretty hard to do that with a blank avatar!

A good profile photo increases the credibility of your profile and helps you stand out from the crowd.

In fact, research shows that members with a profile photo can get up to 21 times more profile views that members without a photo.

Images on LinkedIn but not On Resume

The main cause of resumes being rejected by Applicant Tracking Systems is design.

Many people download a fancy template online only to find that they hear nothing back when they apply for jobs.

The rule is to keep it simple and let the content shine.

On LinkedIn, these restrictions don’t exist.

While you are adding a profile photo, add a background image or photo that will grab people’s attention and show a little more about what matters to you.

More than anything, the right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention and stay memorable.

Make sure it is for the right reasons though and stay ‘on brand’ with your company and or personal values.

Your LinkedIn profile gives you the ability to include information, pictures and videos and you can also add team members who will be automatically notified.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity because it is a great way to highlight your best work and endorse others.

Mark LinkedIn images

Recommendations on LinkedIn, Achievements on Resume

Achievements are essential on your resume because they prove that you were successful in a role.

But they are a little tricky to add to your LinkedIn profile.

For a start, many contain sensitive information about a company in an organisational or financial sense.

The other thing to consider is that LinkedIn is for networking and colleagues may disagree with you ‘outperforming’ them.

You need to portray a polished professional image – but still be likeable.

So, save your achievements for your resume and opt for recommendations on LinkedIn.

These will validate your skills, prove your expertise and demonstrate how well you work with others.

You will find a button specifically for this on your LinkedIn profile.

Mark Daniel Recommendations

Does it really matter if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t match your resume? 

Yes, if the facts collide and tell a different story.

It’s about your integrity and personal brand

But for the 4 reasons above, there are also key areas where it definitely shouldn’t match.

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About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment or ask a question.

  • Good solid professional tips on what and what not to do Mark, not sure if some of the cv tips will work in the UK, as l don’t think some of the recruiters spend 2 seconds on a CV never mind 7 seconds, key words are “key” contributors to getting through the initial application process, although Artificial Intelligence appears to be used more widespread by organisations .

  • Thanks for the post. I had identity theft way back when LinkedIn “started” and never had a profile since then. I find it is personal choice, and there are many people that would prefer to not have a LinkedIn profile or social profile. I prefer to have a “traditional” approach, to apply via cover and CV. I was asked and felt disqualified during a screening interview because of a lack of a profile. I have nothing to hide and have great work history with references to back them. I do not understand why I need a LinkedIn profile to “back” my CV for hiring managers and recruiters to “double check.” Should I cave in and make one or is there evidence that candidates are still equally considered even without a profile? Thanks!

    • Hi Casie. It is frustrating isn’t it. In a way I think you have answered your own question. Whether itis right or wrong recruiters, TA’s and Hiring managers are validating candidates via platforms like LinkedIn. If you are sceptical and concerned about any further identity theft I would suggest do a simple/basic profile. Include image, back image, work history and qualifications. You do not need to include contact information, date of birth etc. Best wishes and thanks for your comment. Mark

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