The Differences Between Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Summaries (Part 2)

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In the first part of this series, we looked at the differences between the the top of your resume (i.e., your branding headline) and the top of your LinkedIn profile (i.e., your branding headline and branding photo).

Today, we’re going to look at one of the most noticeable difference between resumes and LinkedIn profiles: their summary sections.

Today, resume summaries are becoming more concise and value packed. This is due in large part to the fact that people who are reading large volumes of resumes value brevity over verbosity.

The same cannot be said about your LinkedIn profile’s summary. There, you can utilize 2,000 characters (including spaces) to create a powerful statement.

Simply copying and pasting your resume summary into your LinkedIn profile without any further action is pure laziness – and it cheats you of a great opportunity to show your value to visitors and potential employers.

Furthermore, your profile’s summary is a great opportunity to tell your story, express your passion for what you do, and show your creativity.

Whereas the LinkedIn summary grants you 2,000 characters, the resume summary is usually no longer than 400 characters – preferably shorter. Let’s look at the big differences between the two:

Resume Summary

Brevity without fluff or clichés is key to the success of your resume summary. You must say more with less. The goal is to express your overall value and promise future success. Consider the following summary that is four lines on paper and approximately 320 characters:

Senior Accountant with cross-functional expertise in all phases of accounting, including electronic processes | Manages – up to 18 staff – increasing productivity through clear communication and expectations | Operational skills in high-volume environments; consistently increases annual discounts taken in excess of $100K.

typewriterSome believe a value proposition should replace the typical summary. Here is an example of a value proposition that immediately states one’s value in 250 characters:

I create marketing literature and build lasting relationships that result in company visibility and profitability. One of my fortes is interfacing with customers, VARs, and OEMs to create opportunities for product placement in major trade magazines.

LinkedIn Summary

The LinkedIn summary offers you more real estate to tell your story and/or state your immediate accomplishments. It’s your decision as to whether you want to enjoy the complete space allowed (my summary is 10 characters short of the maximum) or be more concise.

I reiterate, it’s a mistake to simply copy and paste your resume’s summary to your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile summary should be:

– more creative and personable. Remember that LinkedIn is for networking. Your summary should read almost like a conversation.

– written in first- or third-person point of view, though first is preferred by most.

– written with paragraphs, resembling a story format; or bulleted statements, resembling quantified results and easier to read.

You should know that your summary may be the only major section of your profile that visitors fully read – especially if your experience section simply states your titles, company information, and dates of employment.

The following is a partial LinkedIn profile summary example in which the LinkedIn member uses both paragraph and bullet formats. They begin by explaining their mission, followed by what they do. (Note: the writer uses 1,848 characters.):

“Josh, I landed a job. Thanks for your knowledge and moral support.” These are words I hear often. Do I hear them enough? No. I’ll be happy when increasingly more people land jobs and tell me the words I live to hear.

I’ll continue to play my part in making people’s job searches easier and more rewarding by: teaching them how to utilize LinkedIn for the career search ★ disseminating trending career-search strategies in group and individual settings ★ writing articles that educate them on the job search.


★ Created the 1st LinkedIn program at the Career Center of Lowell.
★ Deliver LinkedIn profile reviews: These are in high demand from career center customers.
★ Job seekers travel state-wide to attend my LinkedIn and Advanced Linked workshops.
★ Consistently achieve “excellent” ratings on workshop evaluations.

palmsHere is the beginning of a LinkedIn summary that expresses the value of what the writer does, followed by areas of expertise, or functions. (Note: the writer uses 1,979 characters.):

New technologies have the power to transform a business, especially when brought to market in the form of new products and services. That is what I enjoy doing.

Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a company is able to leverage those innovations. I have been fortunate to participate in several technology firms where we did exactly that. Here are a few keys to our success:

► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS – of professionals who are leaders in their respective areas. Then, encouraging and rewarding them for their collective success.

► ENGINEERING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS – that solve the customer’s problem, but also create manufacturing differentiators that will lead to follow-on production.

► MAINTAINING AN UNWAVERING CUSTOMER FOCUS – pursuing high-payoff applications that give customers a unique advantage in the marketplace. Then, delivering on what we promise.

Readers of resumes want quick and easy; visitors to your LinkedIn profile want a networking document, not a rehash of your resume. Don’t disappoint the readers and visitors on any count.

In the next post, we’ll look at the differences between the experience sections of your resume and you LinkedIn profile.

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.

By Bob McIntosh