An electronic job application for a privately held, big media marketing firm offers candidates a choice: Upload a soft copy of your resume or your LinkedIn profile.

Is this a choice or a trap?

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The candidate has to choose one or the other (assuming she or he has both a CV and a LinkedIn profile). Certainly one can opt to upload a resume and copy-and-paste a cover letter, but what signal does that send? Did we ever have to consider potentially sending a potentially fatal technology laggard message by simply submitting a cover letter and resume?

If the candidate elects to offer her or his LinkedIn URL in lieu of a resume (and copy-and-paste an obligatory cover letter), is she or he telling this future employer that she or he gets it when it comes social media? Weighing the realistic potential of a trap, I would advise job candidates to submit their LinkedIn URL and carefully crafted and edited cover letters.

You may be thinking that I am being slightly (or even more) paranoid, but let’s face it: The job market is a minefield particularly in this long-time distressed economy.

Does this mean that resumes will soon become so 20th Century? We shouldn’t be so quick to throw dirt on resumes, but their usefulness is obviously being challenged by the agility and completeness of LinkedIn.

In some respects, resumes or curriculum vitae (CV) are the equivalent of name, rank and serial number. They chronicle your career, and if you are wise you will quantify your accomplishments to help the hiring manager make the critical interview or no-interview decision. A cover letter encourages the reading of the resume. The resume encourages or discourages an interview. Interviews are either path-ways to the employment promised land or a one-way ticket back to square one.

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LinkedIn URLs accomplish the basic task of the resume (chronology of career, academic degrees, awards, memberships etc.), but they do more…so much more. First, submitting your LinkedIn URL implicitly demonstrates that you get it (or at least you are on your way to getting it) when it comes to social media. A potential employer can review the number and the quality of your LinkedIn “connections” to determine the company you keep, who knows you and vice versa.

The same point also applies to your LinkedIn groups that you have joined. I am a member of 24 groups, including a wide variety of public relations and communications professional groups, and those from my present and past employers. These groups are another way of demonstrating your “online presence” as emphasized by professional branding guru, Dan Schawbel. His recent Forbes article predicted that social media will replace resumes within 10 years. He may be conservative.

In addition, your LinkedIn profile not only lists who recommended you but allows hiring managers to immediately read your praises from former superiors, colleagues and most important of all, your subordinates. Examples of your PowerPoint or Prezi presentations can be uploaded to LinkedIn, giving employers’ insights into your presentation skills, design capabilities and thought processes. Try doing that with a resume.

A huge feature for me is the automatic posting and updating of my Almost DailyBrett blogs from WordPress to LinkedIn. An employer doesn’t have to surf WordPress to read Almost DailyBrett, particularly those posts that directly apply to the practice and teaching of communications choreography.

Some may be tempted to play down LinkedIn and its reported 150 million users in comparison to Facebook with its 901 million users or Twitter with its 500 million users. The difference is that LinkedIn is focused on attracting commerce and building professional networks. LinkedIn is a quality play, not a quantity play.

Wall Street seems to be noticing the difference in business models as LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) was initially priced at $45, immediately jumped to $85 on its IPO date and has been holding north of the three-figure mark, today finishing at $103.84. Despite all the springtime histrionics, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) was offered at a $38 IPO price, rose slightly and immediately plunged. Today at close of market it stands at $28.09 per share.

Maybe one of points that is becoming clear to users, employers, potential employees, investors, analysts, media and others is that LinkedIn (and potential direct competitors/successors) is changing the way that candidates are identified and hired. At the same time, LinkedIn may be shoving the resume/CV into the back seat or may even be taking the wheel.

Is it time to sing LinkedIn über Alles? It could be; it very well could be.

Almost DailyBrett note: The writer of this blog post is a subscriber to LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. More to the point, the blog writer owns a low double-digit quantity of LinkedIn shares and a low triple-digit quantity of Facebook shares. It is extremely doubtful that my endorsement of any publicly traded social media site will have any impact on Wall Street. If that were the case, I would ask my readers to subscribe to my “letter.”

http://www.bond-us.com/blog/linkedin-profile-or-resume-staffing-agency

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/career-education/resume-writing/CAR_RSW/924819-5780993

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/02/21/5-reasons-why-your-online-presence-will-replace-your-resume-in-10-years/

http://blog.cgsm.com/2012/02/08/when-will-a-linkedin-profile-replace-a-resume/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

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