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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

Here’s Why You Can’t Submit a LinkedIn Profile Instead of a Resume (Even if You Want To)

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I never want to send employers my resume.

Why? Not because it’s not accurate or impressive, but because my LinkedIn profile looks far more comprehensive. While my resume has a bunch of text about the work I’ve done, my LinkedIn has all that, plus pictures, references from people I’ve worked with, and links to my published work—and did I mention it has pictures?

So the ultimate question becomes: Why can’t I use my LinkedIn profile as a substitute for my resume?

Well, according to a recent article in Money, the reason is almost too simple: Each hiring manager has their own process for filtering candidates, and so if a job searcher isn’t willing to respect that process, they’re more likely to get cut. (A.k.a., if they ask for a resume, they want a resume.)

“Most employers find it easier to have things in the format that’s easiest for them, rather than in whatever format applicants prefer to provide. When you’re screening hundreds of resumes, it’s a lot easier to have a consistent format,” says author and job search expert Alison Green.

Take, for example, a hiring manager who prefers to print out resumes so they can leaf through them over lunch. Well, LinkedIn profiles don’t really print well—and they usually print into about a million pages (mine is eight, I tested it). That’s not only a waste of paper, but it’s just not appealing to look at.

The point is: You can wish things were different, but the reality is that you need to apply exactly as the job states, to a T, no ifs, ands, or buts. If they want a resume and LinkedIn, provide both. If they want a one-page cover letter, you better be sure you’ve written one. If they want specific writing samples, don’t send them a link to your entire portfolio. Otherwise, you just make yourself look like the person who doesn’t know how to follow instructions.

And no one wants to hire that person.