LinkedIn vs a Resume: Which is Better for My Job Hunt?

It’s that time of year. I’ve been writing resumes and coaching on LinkedIn profiles lately. One of my clients’ top questions: LinkedIn vs. a resume. Do I really need both?

Having both is a good strategy. Think of it this way: your resume is a snapshot of your employment history, while your LinkedIn profile paints a fuller portrait backed up with social proof (recommendations).

Beyond that, recruiters use LinkedIn actively to search for job candidates. That means you may come up as a good fit for a job you aren’t aware of. 

But that’s not the only question my clients have. 

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

I have a LinkedIn profile. Do I still need a resume?

In the LinkedIn vs. resume battle, resumes win. Most recruiters and hiring managers are more comfortable with resumes. 

Bottom line, ask. While many still want you to submit your resume through their applicant tracking system, some are fine with just a LinkedIn profile.

If someone asks for your resume, find out the preferred format. While some accept PDFs, not all do. (Some applicant tracking systems cannot accurately parse a PDF file.)

When in doubt, submit your resume as a Microsoft Word document.

Can I copy my resume into my LinkedIn profile (or vice versa)?

It takes a lot of time and effort to build both a resume and a LinkedIn profile. But with one done, it’s easier to create the other. 

How to create a LinkedIn profile from your resume

While LinkedIn can’t create a profile from an existing resume, it’s easy to build one. Assuming you already have a LinkedIn account:

  1. Copy and paste your employment history into the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile. 
  2. Confirm your contact information.
  3. Write a few sentences for the About section.
  4. Add relevant skills to the Skills section.
  5. If you have one or more college degrees, add them to Education. If not, or you’re a recent college grad, add your high school, too.
  6. In Settings, review the Visibility and Data Privacy options.

How to create a resume from your LinkedIn profile

Use the LinkedIn Resume Builder tool to create a resume from your profile. See LinkedIn Help for detailed instructions.

Do I need to add anything else to my LinkedIn profile besides work experience?

No, but in the LinkedIn vs. resume wars, this is where LinkedIn shines. I recommend using the following sections to add punch to your profile.


TLDR; use this section to add personality, punch, and keywords.

You don’t have to write an essay; a well-crafted sentence or two is fine. Let people know what motivates you and makes you a good candidate for the job you’re seeking. Explain why you and not someone else. 


Hiring managers and recruiters look for specific skill sets, and this is another place LinkedIn wins the LinkedIn vs resume competition. LinkedIn allows you to claim up to 50 skills and then identify your top three. Much easier on the reader than trying to figure out what your top skills are. And 50 skills is a lot more than you probably have on your resume.

If you already have a profile, review and update this section. If not, pull the information from your resume.

Once you’re done, select the top three skills you want hiring managers to see first.


Social proof goes a long way toward building your reputation. 

Ask for recommendations from colleagues, clients, customers, and managers you once worked for.

Of course, adding volunteer work and samples of your work can also help–one more way LinkedIn beats out resumes.