Your LinkedIn profile is one of your most valuable career-building tools.
It serves as your online resume on one of the most popular recruiting web sites on the Internet: LinkedIn.com. Every day, recruiters and employers search LinkedIn profiles to find job candidates.
So creating a good profile is key to being found for your next career opportunity.
Like a traditional chronological resume, a LinkedIn profile has the following major sections:
So it's really quite easy to use your resume to create a LinkedIn profile. And LinkedIn has a good profile builder that you can use to copy and paste your resume, section-by-section.
Why not type your information straight into the Profile Builder? Because you've already taken great care to create a well-thought-out and typo-free resume. You used Word's spell check feature, and, hopefully, you asked someone to proofread each line of your resume.
By copying and pasting from your "perfect resume," you avoid the risk of having mistakes in your LinkedIn Profile, and there will be no discrepancies between your master resume and your LinkedIn master resume (employers do compare the two!).
First, you need to create your master resume, the one you use as a foundation for making a target resume each time you apply for a particular job. Because your master resume presents a broad picture of who you are as a professional, and the value you offer to your professional community, its content will be excellent for your LinkedIn profile.
Let's go section-by-section to see how to use your master resume to create your LinkedIn profile.
Make your title as specific as possible so it will serve as a concise personal branding statement (see Meg Guiseppi's Creating Your Personal Brand article for tips) that sets you apart from other people on LinkedIn who share your name.
There's a limit of 120 characters and spaces for your headline. Use keywords that are pertinent to your industry and that recruiters would use to search for someone with your skill set and/or job title.
Consider copying and pasting the statements from your general resume into the Summary field. Use bullet points (or another symbol such as a dash or asterisk) to separate your statements. Avoid putting your info in big paragraphs, as big blocks of text are not inviting to read.
If bullet points don't transfer when you copy and paste your statements, no problem. Find another LinkedIn that has bullet points in its profile (such as mine at https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanireland) and copy and paste them into your profile.
Again, use bullet points as you did in the Summary section.
Add more positions until you have your Experience section completed. Note that at any point you can click Edit next to one of your job titles and make changes to what you wrote for that job. You can also rearrange the order of your jobs (so they're in reverse chronology) by using the drag-and-drop feature.
Click + Add a School next to the Education heading, and copy and paste details about your education from your resume.
Now that you have the hang of how the LinkedIn profile builder works, you can add other sections if they're relevant to your career. Here's a list of additional sections you can create:
When you're on the Edit Profile page, you can use the drag-and-drop feature to reorder the major sections of your resume. To figure out what order is best, use the same thinking you used when you prioritized the sections on your resume: Most relevant first.
If you already have a master chronological resume, you can easily use it to create a good LinkedIn profile by copying and pasting each section into the LinkedIn profile builder. Then, as you move through your career, remember to update both your master resume on your hard drive and your LinkedIn profile on the Internet. That way you'll always be ready for the next professional opportunity that fits your career goals.