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When submitting PDF or paper resumes, I didn't have any concern as to the information I have written on it. It's still semi-private in the sense that only the employers whom I sent my resume to can view it. Recently, I'm starting to use LinkedIn. My profile, which is my online resume, on LinkedIn is very much public. All of a sudden, I'm questioning whether if I should put all those information that I usually would have put into my paper resume on my LinkedIn profile.

I'm very new to LinkedIn. What is a limit to the information I should put up on LinkedIn? So that I still stand a chance to be contacted by potential employers and at the same time, not revealing too much of myself to other people I don't feel comfortable sharing my information with?


More on why I'm asking this question

Well, it may appear that I should treat my LinkedIn profile just as my paper resume and put up those usual information so that potential opportunities could come. My concern, however, is that since the information is public, do I really want my information to be seen by, say competitors/rivals, or even being checked on and judged by other people?

Also, I have seen many people claiming massive amount of achievements they have done at their previous employers. Surely, some of these are just made to sound a little louder than they really were. On a paper resume, that's fine. On LinkedIn, everyone is going to see it. Maybe your employers still don't know, but those who had worked with you before are going to think "woah! you one good bragger."

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    related question: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2311/… – TooTone Sep 14 '13 at 10:14
  • Thanks for the link. That answer is a great at telling the difference between paper and LinkedIn resumes. But it doesn't quite answer my concerns. My concern is more on my information being open not just to potential employers but also everyone else. The other concern is also on how not to appear like a "bragger" when putting all those loud statements on LinkedIn profiles. – xenon Sep 14 '13 at 11:16
  • I'd suggest you think about what you want to achieve, and also look at your peer group. But what you end up with is also a matter of personal taste. One other comment: for both resumes and linkedin, I would class "I was the best salesperson" as loud and bragging, whereas I would class "I achieved the highest sales in my department for three years running." as factual and impressive. – TooTone Sep 14 '13 at 12:09
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    One note - your profile doesn't have to be public. You can set it up so that only certain people see it. It's publicity level depends entirely on what your goals for using LinkedIn are. – Shauna Sep 16 '13 at 15:08
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What is a limit to the information I should put up on LinkedIn? So that I still stand a chance to be contacted by potential employers and at the same time, not revealing too much of myself to other people I don't feel comfortable sharing my information with?

The limit will always be a fairly personal choice. As usual, any online posting method puts up questions of privacy as well as unintentional publicity. I would agree with you that your LinkedIn profile is similar, but not quite the same as your online resume.

For my part, here's the differences I've used - the differences are as much about the medium itself as well as the audience pool. I use LinkedIn for my personal/professional network, as well as for job hunting - so I tune the profile accordingly:

  • Less detail about specific positions - the verbiage below each job is far terser. I tend to skip any company-specific awards and stay close to facts. Because I also work in organizations that are highly private, I'm deliberately vague about particular projects, and focus instead on the general type of work I did in the position. In a resume, I'd tune this text for the specific position or type of job.

  • Much longer history - I connect with old high school classmates, college pals, and collegues from my first internship. Having connection points that I wouldn't put on a resume really helps - like High School, specific work in college (for example, being a tutor and leading a club), and internships. My resume does show my undergrad school, major, and year graduated, but 15+ years since graduation, I skip all the rest of this information on my tight 1 page resume. But finding my old friends is a tremendous value add that makes all this stuff well worth mentioning, even if the recruiters shouldn't care.

  • Lots more searchable facts over text - my resume paints a picture of who you are hiring. To do that, I've thoughtfully organized my information in the hopes of highlighting things that you will care about if you are interviewing me. LinkedIn is about connections - so searchable facts and hit words take precedence. I'll never get the job if the recruiter doesn't find my profile.

Those general points do get me away from a bragging-heavy (I hope!) profile. Certainly the earned qualifications stand out - like jobs, certifications and degrees - but I find these to be less controversial than saying "the leader of a 3 man team" or "subject matter expert for..."

Do I really want my information to be seen by, say competitors/rivals, or even being checked on and judged by other people?

Entirely your call.

Certainly I am more cautious about the nature of the work I do when writing those summaries. I work in high end info sec, and my companies have very specific rules about what I can publicly disclose. Before making updates, I usually read these rules and then do my best to be clear while staying high level enough to keep out of trouble.

Similarly, because I do want to be found by friends and make a good connection, I give the summaries a read with an eye to all readers. The recruiter will only read enough to send me a mail - they don't think deeply about the text. A friend, former boss, or other colleague is likely to spend more time. I really think that anything written in good faith is likely to work out alright, as long as you stay positive and realistic. But I'll definitely say I read it with an eye to "if someone who's worked on this project with me read this, would they agree?"

  • You make a valid point. LinkedIn at the end of the day is a social website. It might go after a certain type of person instead of "Everyone" that Facebook goes after but its still a social website. – Donald Sep 16 '13 at 18:04
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What is a limit to the information I should put up on LinkedIn?

I think you already know the answer, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Never put anything on LinkedIn (or any other online source) that you don't want people to see and hold you accountable for.

Since LinkedIn is often viewed at some point during the hiring process, make sure you place only what you would want a hiring manager to see and potentially bring up during an interview.

Many folks use it as an extension of their resume and cover letter. But resumes and cover letters can be tailored to a specific job, where LinkedIn is viewable by all. Thus, make sure it's a bit more generic. For example, don't indicate that you want to work for one industry sector (unless that's the only sector in which you want to work).

Make sure everything is correct and not misleading. Just like your resume, make sure it is edited meticulously, so that there are no typos, no grammar mistakes, and nothing is offensive. Publicly displayed sites which could potentially be seen by everyone who you have ever worked with are not the places to exaggerate.

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The general advice given by Joe Strazzere to not put anything there you don't want to be held accountable for, is good. It actually applies everywhere you post something online, but especially if it is publicly viewable and even more so if it is somewhere you can expect a potential employer to look.

Myself, I have taken somewhat of the opposite approach, though: my paper/PDF resume has a lot more details than my LinkedIn profile. On LinkedIn, I have put enough information into my profile to give someone who views it a good idea of what my skills (with an emphasis on work-related skills) are and what field I am currently working in. My actual resume details specific projects and responsibilities on each job, has some more non-work-related information, and is easy to tailor for any specific job application.

This allows someone who looks at my profile to get an idea of whether I might be a good match for a position they are looking to fill, without being overwhelmed immediately by details many of which are unlikely to be relevant in their particular case. If they are interested enough to contact me and want a copy of my resume, they most likely either have a specific position in mind (in which case if it sounds interesting I can tailor the resume to that position) or they are interested enough that looking over some "superfluous" information isn't a big deal.

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