Dear LinkedIn: A LinkedIn Profile Make a Resume Doth Not. (Love, Jessica…)

Dear LinkedIn,I’ve been reading lately about your crazy growth. Holy batman! 115.8 million members. That’s nuts.
Congrats. And your recent IPO also made me proud – very proud. I am a fan. I am a 100%-completed-profile member with 1500+ connections. And, in fact, I was member number 302,351, joining the site in the wee stages of your growth… well, wee stages, relatively speaking. 300K people before me is no small number. But I will always sing your praises. You keep my glass continually… half full at least.

Minimally, half full. Because despite my love for ya, you do make moves at times that make me raise a brow. And I will tell you when I’m a little skeptical. Like when you unveiled a new feature recently that I am just a little unsure of… that little ‘ole universal-apply-with-LinkedIn button. To which I keep seeing you add the tag line, “Get hired faster.” Oy.

Now before you tell me I’m just not open to change and that LinkedIn is the future for job seekers (which I could buy into, I don’t discount that notion completely)… hear me out.

I’m a Jobvite customer, which means on our career site, I’ve had the option since we launched with Jobvite this year to allow applicants to include a link to their LinkedIn profile with their application materials. Did I know the value of this when I turned on the feature? Not really. I thought it was interesting though. And as we’ve dug in and used Jobvite more and more, I’ve found that I’ve liked giving applicants the option to include their LI profile link in their application materials because if I like what I see in their resumes – IF I LIKE WHAT I SEE IN THEIR RESUME – then, THEN, I can quickly gander at their profile to cross check roles held/dates of employment with their resume. And if I really like what I see, then I also like to click over to their LI profiles to see who we might know in common, whether they include social media profile links, and any other info that might help me get a sense of who they are beyond the resume itself.

But it’s not as if I’m not ready to let applicants stop submitting resumes and just send me their LinkedIn profiles. Job seekers – you hear that? Your LI profile is not a substitute for a resume. Yet. Because as an employer… when you initially send your LI profile over to me, all I actually get within my ATS are your dates of employment, recommendations if you’ve got ‘em… and that’s about it. No descriptions of your positions held. No summary of who you are. It’s bare bones, what I get of your LI profile. To learn more, it’s extra clicking. And that’s just not good enough for me. So I still rely on your resume, and that’s first and foremost for me for applicants who come through via our careers site.

So then my LinkedIn friends, there’s more. Along with that “Apply with LinkedIn” button you’re putting out there… you add this tag line of “Get hired faster.” What exactly is it about applying with your LinkedIn profile that will get an applicant hired faster? Especially when as an employer I get bare bones profile info? Isn’t “Get hired faster” a bit of a misnomer? So much so I had to ask my lovely friends at Jobvite to get that tagline removed from our career site. I’d hate to mislead an applicant in any way that they’ll get hired faster by including their LI profile in their application package.

Job boards sometimes peeve me for making it too easy for a lazy job seeker to apply to too many jobs in one fell swoop without thinking through whether they are qualified, whether the company could be a good fit for them. And LinkedIn? I’d hate for you to get caught in that messy mix. Make the job search process easier – yes. But help the job seeker to be thoughtful in their search. Ya hear? Keep rolling out the enhancements though. Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve next for job seekers and employers.


FOT Background Check

Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don't be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she's still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life... she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat. Talk to Jessica via EmailLinkedInTwitter or Facebook... See Jessica's riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here...


  1. Thelance says:

    I’m actually fairly hot on LinkedIn as a resume replacement for most white collar professionals. Unfortunately, you’re right: as is, it’s no replacement.
    There’s nothing a resume can do that a LinkedIn profile couldn’t do much better. The whole social accountability aspect that KD is always harping on, adding context or even just illuminating connections in a more automated ways are all easy possibilities within LinkedIn’s reach.
    Perhaps with some IPO cash, they could tightly integrate with the top dozen ATS systems and for everything else, just use the HR-XML standard? Until that happens, not too many people will get hired faster.

  2. Frank Zupan says:

    Nice post Jessica. This topic serves as a reminder that LinkedIn is actively selling services to both hiring entities and to job seekers. Their “Premium Account” upgrades are immediately offered to members using the “apply now” functionality.

  3. Jaffamonkey says:

    I think that agencies as a whole are still obsessed with Word formatted CV’s. This is largely because they want to edit and “brand” them so it looks as if candidate is special to that agency. And also a lot of agencies seem stuck in technology dark ages. Linked resume profile is very clean, microformat friendly. I didnt undertands your XML standards comment really. OK, it doesnt suit HR-XML, but that is compartively very new XML format defintion, not a standard one. And its no real use, unless web services as a whole support it. And these things can take years!
    Yes, most people dont spend time on it to fully convey their experience. My profile contains EVERYTHING I would have in a CV, and a little bit more.

  4. Great post! I am a long standing linkedin fan as well and the thought of getting a stream of profiles that don’t give me enough information is worrisome.
    I am hoping that great candidates who are serious about a particular role and not using the scattershot application method will behave the same with their linkedin profiles as they do with their resumes. Maybe we will see people doing an even better job with their profiles than they do with their resumes as so many industry peers can view it.
    It will be interesting!

  5. Williamu says:

    Beyond the implied sense of speed in the tag line. The button doesn’t do anything beyond facilitate a transaction. Facilitating is underwhelming these days. Why not point out to the applicant (they aren’t candidates yet, mind you) where they can complete more information (there by helping them be more fully considered by a recruiter) AND (emphasis here) help LinkedIn itself have a better customer (complete profile-wise). The button could be a great, compelling standard – but it has to do something remarkably helpful.

  6. Steve Sill says:

    I think it all depends on the position. For Engineers or many Product Managers in the web space, getting hung up on a perfect resume format will only hamper hiring efforts… If a person submits a profile that only says Google, Software Engineer… they are getting a call. If they are from a lesser known company or a company which is not always known for technical aptitude, then they should provide a little more info.
    Other non-technical positions should have complete information, or a resume. After thinking about it as I type… I guess it really comes down to “Supply and Demand”.

  7. sometime hard to reply

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