Will LinkedIn Replace Resumes?

OK so we know by now that 98% of all modern employment recruiters are actively sourcing candidates on LinkedIn. We also know that upon receiving a resume or application for employment that most HR professionals and hiring managers are taking to the Google information superhighways to find other digital evidence of your professional existence. One of the first Google results is typically your LinkedIn profile. So why, if their only going to look at your LinkedIn profile, should you even bother creating an awesome new resume?

While LinkedIn has evolved into the #1 source for professional networking and candidate identification…Will LinkedIn replace resumes?

  1. Sharing too much specific company information can be frowned upon in such a public forum. Exposing specific metrics, methodologies, and financials on LinkedIn may not be well received by your current or past employers, but are generally more acceptable when not making this information readily available to everyone! This is of particular interest to executives and other public-facing employees.
  2. Too many people still don’t fully understand how to properly use the endorsements and recommendation features and are falsely padding the professional image of others in their network.
  3. Way too many are still connecting with hundreds of others simply to look well connected.
  4. Per a recent HR forum, HR is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of your appearance (age, race, gender) and while LinkedIn does reveal your photo (in most cases) your resume does not, so it is a safeguard for many HR professionals to view your resume vs. your profile.
  5. Many HR departments have invested heavily in resume-scanning ATS systems (Applicant Tracking Systems); do you really think they’ll simply write off that technology in favor of a people-dependent system like LinkedIn?

It is possible that the LinkedIn folks can find a way to eventually replace the resume, but as of today, there aren’t enough employers ONLY relying on LinkedIn to identify top candidates. And as wonderful as your LinkedIn profile might be, I can almost guarantee you that if someone thinks you’re a match for their position, they’ll still ask you for your resume…so be ready!

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About the Author:

Brenda M. Cunningham, the Career Positioning Coach, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and National Job Search Strategist. Brenda’s mission is to show professionals how to accelerate their career advancement, have more satisfaction, and make more MONEY$$. For more information on customized career positioning, resume development, transition coaching, and comprehensive career management, visit www.royalresumeaz.com, www.facebook.com/RoyalResume, or call 602-570-7593.


  1. Steve Gallison

    A few days ago I had this conversation with my personal Board of Directors (an employment attorney, two Internet marketing gurus, an East Coast franchise Director and three certified résumé writers) and our conclusion based upon our collective experiences is that before 2020 we will probably observe a significant movement from the résumé to social media mining for talent both active and passive.

    One very large DOD contractor has hired more than 300 part time “miners” who scan specific sectors of the social media spectrum for talent and present opportunities to potential candidates – saving the companies large amounts of money involved in the traditional methods of recruiting.

    I strongly agree that too many, possibly proprietary tidbits, are shared on some LI profiles so I agree with #1.

    As far as #2 I think that we do favors for others who we have had significant interactions with in past transactions, however I have also read endorsements of my skills that were extremely hyped by another capable writer and had to dump the endorsement due to its overstated capabilities and “syrupy” presentation that sounded like my mother wrote it. Those I blow of as meaningless.

    #3. I strongly agree with the fact that there are collectors out there who want to be connected to lots of people. Most however have a motive – to increase their network so that IF and WHEN a customer needs help they have a network to market this person who is paying them for assistance. Also there are those who are selling and connections are part of the strategy they use to earn money – so I am good with all of that….. I just have to overlook it and focus on my specific need for information about this particular person.

    #4. HR is prohibited from making decisions based upon age, race etc. BUT (a big but) in many cases they or a staff member involved in the recruitment process want to know – like a child checking out a package under the Christmas tree. But a trained HR professional who receives a résumé or checks out social media (even if the photo is a shadow) can generally estimate age by the candidate’s profile. If they are having trouble getting the “right” candidate, they will look past age to fill a position. Many companies around the nation don’t plan well for succession and are just looking for “plug and play or get me through my crisis” employees and only worry about succession planning when it is about to hit the windshield. To have a solid succession strategy requires a lot of planning and mutual trust. I could go on and on about what I am seeing.

    #5. ATS is not cheap and many employers eschew using it as the cost outweighs the benefits – most of the nation is built on small to medium size employers and many have a person who has among their duties HR responsibilities due to the fact they occasionally recruit/mine for candidates so why bother with software. ATS needs to have the matching criteria (job descriptions) updated regularly so that it stays effective. I was once responding to a very large layoff of more than 250 people and asked to see the job descriptions so that I could identify companies in the area that I could advise laid-off workers that the those companies may have similar needs and noted the job descriptions were 9 years old. I asked the HR director if there had been any changes in the last 9 years and was told proudly “Oh Yes, we mechanized most of the plant and updated processes about three years ago but we always had trouble finding the right candidates and were constantly training” after telling me this they had a blinding flash of the obvious – Duh! I thought! But since the operation was closing down I didn’t burden them with not keeping the ATS up to date.

    The HR director ultimately found work and I met them at a business function and the former HR knew a few minutes after the incident of our meeting and put two and two together and learned a real-life lesson – if you depend on ATS… manage it by updating the matching criteria for each job function.

    New algorithms a popping up that are cheap and can sort through social media websites to sample your posts and rates your posts – there is software that can sort your Internet based posts and tell your political leanings it played a big part in elections and will continue to expand. Some software measures your sympathetic sensitivities based upon how you use words. If NSA and the other snoopie agencies can learn specifics of your public posts that use electronic systems based upon computer technologies it won’t be long until it is in common use and résumés will pass to the Smithsonian – however “Good Writing Will Endure” in whatever format is available.

    • Brenda M. Cunningham

      This was an extremely helpful comment, thanks for your support of my position! Good writing WILL endure, so even if resumes do go the way of the dinosaurs, it will still be extremely critical to produce polished LinkedIn or other digital profiles to be a viable job candidate. Thanks Steve!

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