Not that you can't do both, but which has the bigger bang for the buck? Will there come a time when we don't send resumes around, just hyperlinks to online profiles such as LinkedIn?

  • 14
    This is a highly speculative question. Nobody knows if one day we won't be emailing our pdfs in anymore, unless they have a crystal ball...
    – hairboat
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 23:01
  • 3
    Plaintext works everywhere.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 3:01
  • @keshlam plaintext ...You mean the LaTeX document I compile into my resume? Why would an employer want that? Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 9:04
  • On a more serious note, though, if you're in a technical field and your resume is a Word document that is a serious red flag. Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 9:05

16 Answers 16


You should take care of both variants; the LinkedIn profile matters for many recruiters. I think the on-line profiles will be more powerful in the future than the actual CVs are.

Also having a website to show off your awesome work is a very big plus as more and more new companies are interested in this kind of way to evaluate candidates. Some of them will recruit this way only :)

  • 2
    Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, and it builds your profile automatically from there, significantly lessening both the time and the effort involved in building the online variant if you already have a paper one written.
    – Shauna
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 23:57
  • 3
    And the otherway arround, there are generators to create a resume from your LinkedIn and LinkedIn itself has an option to save it to PDF in "some kind of" resume format. Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 12:46

I think it's becoming much more prevalent that recruiters are starting to rely on online profiles - they're starting to realize that the second you send over a Word document to them, it starts to get stale and 6 months to a year down the road, it's good for historical reference, but might not be relevant to current postings.


This depends a lot on how you normally find work. I obtain most of my work (both full time and consulting) through referrals. Referrals eliminate the need to keep up a LinkedIn or SO Careers portfolio. Because they tend to be local I also get face time along with good support from whomever made the introduction.

Do you like dealing with recruiters? You'll probably love LinkedIn. Non-stop hammer on the inbox for anyone who actually has a skill set listed on their profile page.

In short, having a LinkedIn or other online resume / portfolio can't hurt you, but it's something that you should keep up-to-date if you rely on it for any work.


Recruiters use Google and they use it well. Online resumes are much more important than Word resumes. I used to maintain a Word resume and still occasionally run into people insisting on one. Historically, such people have been a complete waste of time and energy on job searches and I now ignore them with the same happy zeal as people who want you to re-enter all of your resume info into their own form field setup on some site (I wouldn't recommend even Jr level devs waste time on those).


I find that the online profiles are (1) more and more commonly used, and (2) are way more flexible and more likely to be up-to-date. From a functional standpoint, recruiters and potential employers want to get a profile of you, and what you've worked on. Keeping the online version up-to-date (and making sure that it's publicly accessible, so recruiters won't have any trouble accessing it).

I spend zero time keeping my paper-based resume up-to-date. If someone needs a physical copy of it (e.g. for an interview), I will create one for them at the time the interview is going to happen, and not before. I've completely moved to managing my experience, portfolio, and work experience online.


Today (Summer of 2012) you still need a resume. LinkedIn can get you an interview (especially when you are not looking) but you still need to show up with a resume in hand.

Sometime (1 year? 10 years?) the resume may be obsolete. People will say, "Here's my LinkedIn Account and StackExchange handle" but we're not there yet. If this happens, it will happen in software first.


If you only have your resume on LinkedIn, you don't have the ability to tailor the resume for different jobs and/or industries. With the current technology, you're at the mercy of the person reading or the system they're using ability to scrape in your data and find what is important.

In the future, there may be a capability to customize your resume information not only on how you set it up, but also customize the view for the recruiter/employer based on your preference.

I made a career change several years ago, so I rarely include the details of that in my resume. There are some jobs where I think it is relevant. Since I'm the one selling myself, I like having that control and not leave it up to someone reading a lengthy resume.


They both have their strengths, and both are necessary.

Your LinkedIn Profile can be a general overview of your career, while your resume can be tailored to specific experience relevant to a position. Your LinkedIn Profile also shows off recommendations as well as other interests that you may have, while a resume wouldn't.


Forget the Word. Do linkedIn and SO.

I stopped doing traditional paper "resumes" (especially the Word ones) about 10 years ago. Until 2 years ago I just did my own own simple web site resume. Now I do linkedIn.

If nothing else it sure cuts down on scammy head-hunters:- they want to upload you into their system. If an actual job is there that you are a perfect fit for, a Word resume won't get in the way (i.e. be needed) in today's market.

A side tip that does help though:- make sure emails about your information have a title of say "Resume - Joe Smith, 617 555 1212 [email protected]". Nothing makes it easier to find and sort folks than clear labeling like that.

This is the most true if you are in IT, but it's spreading rapidly in other industries.

  • Interesting, the only jobs I've applied for in the last 10 years that didn't request a Word document version of my resume, had their own online application to fill out.
    – user8365
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:59

Will there come a time when we don't send resumes around, just hyperlinks to online profiles such as LinkedIn?

This is hard to say, and I think depends on your type of work.

For those whose job type involves a lot of online, searchable portfolios, having an online presence is far more impressive. Resumés are, after all, mostly formulaic with a list of achievements that don't highlight your individual skillset. Allowing an employer to see your work and as such review how you do the job before you get there will go an awfully long way to getting employed.

That said, some, indeed many types of job, do not have such portfolios. I still think online networking is important for many types of career, but I wonder if simply providing a link will work. Smaller companies with less IT literate staff, including directors, for example, might well not be able to parse that.

In addition, I always think it looks bad to just say "hello, here's my url". As such, I've personally mixed the two approaches - a paper (well, PDF) CV which acts as a traditional CV but also prominently links my online profiles.


Will there come a time when we don't send resumes around, just hyperlinks to online profiles such as LinkedIn?

That's difficult to say. Without being able to predict what you will need in the future it's best to spend the few hours to have the .doc version ready. My experience has been you need to have both fully complete and ready at hand. Some especially recruiters will feed off of online material, but watch them eventually ask for a .doc version when submitting your information to an employer.


Linkedin profiles are too generic. Resumes should be prepared specific for a job. This is especially true the further up the ladder you are looking to go. An exec from a fortune 500 company (who also holds a PhD in business communications) once told me that she couldn't believe the volume of generic resumes she was seeing for a middle-management job that paid six figures. Prepping a custom-resume for a position makes you that much more attractive over the competition. It's one of the "little" things you can do to distinguish yourself from the pack.

The bottom line: if you are looking to move into management or up the management ranks, do the custom resume. This means word doc, because Linkedin profiles aren't customizable. Other resume formats (i.e. PDFs generated by LaTeX-scripts) aren't desirable because most systems don't read PDFs well.


The one that has the most visibility is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. If the recruiters can't see it, they can't see if they can employ you.

Also most online CV systems give an option to save to a document. LinkedIn for example will allow you to export to PDF from the "Edit" profile button (dropdown menu). The structure generated matches a CV.

What you are going to see in the future is more data mining of the shadow you leave on the internet. For example, questions answered/asked in StackOverflow. So systems that allow you to focus the recruiter to this information easier is good to have.

That said, if you are explicitly targeting a particular role in a company, then a personalised CV is the best way to go. HR/Recruiters may still scan your data shadow.


I was contacted through Stackoverflow Careers 2.0 few weeks ago, despite I had very few details about me. So I'd say it's worth to use it and make it look decent.

  • since you "had very few details", this rather reads that it makes little sense to curate. This sort of contradicts your further note "it's worth to... make it look decent"
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 18:12
  • Actually I said decent, not perfect - like a proper CV should be. And we cannot exclude that, if I had curated my CV more, I would have been contacted even more. And you cannot deny that my experience supports the use of that site; you may question the level of quality needed to get attention, and I agree that it doesn't need to be super-accuarate, but not that it gets attention. Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 19:03

It depends. If you do only one thing then you can send a linkedin profile around.

But, if you do more than one thing then you cannot use linkedin. For example, if you are a plumber and an electrician then you have to choose one, as if you go for a plumber job and they see that you are an electrician on linkedin then they will not give you the job.


I'd recommend keeping at least one online CV (LinkedIn, SO Careers, etc) up to date, and use it to generate your printed CV whenever you need one.

For example, I keep my SO Careers page current. Whenever I need to send a printable CV document, I go to my public SO Careers profile page, open the browser dev console, strip out a few elements, then print the modified web page as a PDF. I do this often enough I've even put together a bookmarklet which does most of the work for me. The best part is that this way my printed CV has nice formatting, making it easily readable, with minimal work on my part to maintain it.

PS - I am aware there is a "print" button on that page. I don't like the (lack of) formatting used on the "printable" version, so I used the web version instead.

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