One of the interesting things I've discovered in my discussions with recruiters and employers is that employers often compare the job seeker's resume and cover letter with that job seeker's LinkedIn Profile. If they don't support each other, your chance at a job is greatly diminished.
The LinkedIn-Resume Connection - 5 Important Benefits to Job Seekers
LinkedIn offers 5 very important benefits to job seekers when employers make the LinkedIn-resume comparison.
1. Validation of resume information
The assumption is that people are less likely to exaggerate in public, in front of their friends and LinkedIn "connections" than they are in private on a resume sent to an individual or posted privately in response to a job ad.
For decades (probably centuries), job seekers have been known to do a teensy bit of exaggeration on their resumes. Having worked at Harvard University in my past, I know that one of the things the University Alumni Records Office did frequently, back then, was confirm or deny that someone had attended, or graduated from, Harvard as indicated on their resume. The answer was "No" almost as often as it was "Yes" which tells you something about human nature and Harvard as a brand.
These days many universities and universities -- particularly the "big names" -- check to see if someone claiming on LinkedIn to be a graduate actually did graduate from the school. And steps can be taken to correct a "mistaken" claim when one is found.
Now, rather than contacting a university directly, employers can check the LinkedIn Profile to get a basic level of validation, enough to put a resume in the "possibles" stack rather than the "discards" pile, or vice versa.
2. Demonstration of knowledge and expertise
In the past, it has been easy for people to proclaim that they are "experts" or "gurus" in a given field on their resumes, but hard to prove (or to verify). Not any more!
In LinkedIn Groups, job seekers can demonstrate their expertise through intelligent participation in the Group discussions. Recruiters are known to monitor Groups related to the fields they need the most or have the most trouble finding qualified candidates. LinkedIn allows members to join up to 50 Groups, and, at least while you are in job-search mode, that's a very good idea. Join groups for your industry, profession, location, hobbies, and anything else that is relevant to you and your career.
Particularly if your resume claims you have "excellent communications skills," your LinkedIn Profile should demonstrate those skills.
People claiming expertise in a specific field can also link to their publications (website, articles, ebooks, books, etc.), to their videos on YouTube or Vimeo, to presentations on SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn), pull in the feed from their blog, and showcase other online proof of that expertise. The LinkedIn Profile becomes an online portfolio.
3. Corroboration of Accomplishments
LinkedIn Recommendations offer employers a form of "proof" that a skill or accomplishment proclaimed on the resume has been visible to someone willing to publish a recommendation for the world to see on LinkedIn. And those LinkedIn Recommendations are connected to specific jobs listed in the Profile, confirming the validity of that claim on the resume.
In addition, LinkedIn's endorsements for Skills can provide a quick look at what others view as the LinkedIn Member's strengths -- and they provide excellent keywords for searchers.
4. Confirmation of Names, Dates, and Time Frames
The dates on the resume can be compared with the dates on the LinkedIn Profile to demonstrate agreement on timingor not. Did the job seeker work at company XYZ for 3 years or 5 years? And, was that 5 years ago or 10 years ago?
5. Affirmation of "With-It-Ness"
Having a complete and active LinkedIn Profile affirms that the job seeker understands how to operate in today's largest online business network. It also indicates that the job seeker understands the importance of the Internet to business, from marketing and sales to research and data collection. "Old fogies" don't have LinkedIn Profiles and don't understand how important a LinkedIn Profile is for the success of their job search (which is really too bad!).
Having a public site where the information on the resume may be confirmed (or not) is an enormous help to employers. And, it is also a help to job seekers. Certainly, some people may not be 100% truthful on their LinkedIn Profiles, but they are often more truthful in a venue where false or misleading claims may be "outed" by people who know better. "Social Proof" comes to job search through, logically, social media.
More about Social Media and Resumes:
Follow me on GooglePlus and Twitter (@JobHuntOrg) for more job search tips. Join the Job-Hunt Help LinkedIn Group for more help with your job search. This article was original posted on Job-Hunt.org.
Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is also a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In addition to HuffingtonPost.com, Susan also contributes to AOL Jobs, LinkedIn, YouTern.com, NextAvenue.org, and BrazenCareerist.