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I tried asking this elsewhere and got answers from people who do not know the difference between a resume and a CV. I figured academics would.

I ask this question because my LinkedIn is pretty detailed. It has a lot of the same content as my CV, except in the terrible organization enforced by LinkedIn. I figure it might be more effective to use my LinkedIn more like a resume with the highlights, pointing to my CV (which is linked) for extra details. But I'm not sure how to go about it.

For context, I am an undergraduate applying to graduate school. I have many research presentations, awards, and experiences so it is a lot of content to shove on a LinkedIn. I only included content relevant to my research or related technical experience, but it is still a lot to read.

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While I understand that LinkedIn is currently on the decline amongst the research community, I think it's still fairly well used. I graduated from my PhD 2 years ago, and many of people graduating in the same year use LinkedIn as one of their professional profiles, as do some of the "seniors" I know. Things are shifting to websites (like ResearchGate or similar) specifically targeting academics which mostly show to list and organize publications.

That said, I keep everything in my LinkedIn profile. I never took anything out - stuff like presenting my faculty at the University day in my BSc. is still there. And I don't provide a link to it with my applications - my name, plus basic info from my CV (current/last position) is always enough to find and correctly identify me on LinkedIn if anybody wants to look it up.

In the CV, the things I would typically include:

  • past education and experience
  • technologies / tools used or learned per project / study programme / job
  • publications (+ best paper awards)
  • student exchanges/internships
  • grants
  • languages

If you are applying to a graduate school, and in general in early career, I'd include the list of all of the above, exhaustively. As a rule of thumb, it should not be longer than 2 letter pages (so if even printed, fits on one sheet of paper) and have just pure "facts" (a short statement of purpose of 2-4 sentences is lately encouraged).

As you grow more senior you remove things (my BSc and MSc internships will go soon, PhD internships a bit later, any pre-PhD honors and awards are gone, a selected publication list instead of a full one happens as you publish more), while still keeping it at 2-3 pages long at most.

The one document I would expect to find with an application that you don't seem to mention is a cover letter (referred to in some languages as literally "motivation letter"). This is the place to:

  • elaborate on the points of your CV especially relevant to your application
  • draw conclusions and connections between your experience, research and the position you are applying for
  • state your motivations, why you think you will be a good fit and why you think the institution / position will be a good fit for you
  • mention any cool things that can not go on a formal CV, e.g. ongoing collaborations

So to summarize: think of a CV and cover letter as a unit. One does facts in a concise list or bullet point form, and the other one relates those facts to your experiences and makes them relevant to the application. LinkedIn is just an additional, professional profile, which people can find you based on your name and where they can look up more detailed info if they like, like links to and summaries of past projects and publications which are too clunky for a CV.

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    I think your answer might be specific to some combination of field and country. In the settings I'm familiar with, linkedin is not "in decline", because to be in decline, it should have the possibility to go down, and it wouldn't make sense for a negative number of people to use it.
    – user9646
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 16:55
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    I'd say the question is quite specific to the stage of one's academic career. For example, technologies and tools might matter, if you apply for a PhD position, but not really, I'd say. if you apply for a full professorship. Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 22:05
  • @NajibIdrissi It might be specific, but what I've seen was consistent coming from eastern Europe (pre-PhD) and through two different countries in central Europe. And a big majority of my LinkedIn contacts (80%+) are researchers all all career stages (up to and including full permanent professors, tho obviously I have more early-career contacts such as myself) originating and working in different European countries. I don't know how the situation is in different American countries, Australia or different Asian countries.
    – penelope
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:29
  • @OlegLobachev The question was made from the point of applying for graduate school. But note my sentence As you grow more senior you remove things while keeping it at 2-3 pages long at most. I wouldn't include LaTeX or C++ applying for a full professorship, but if there's a relevant (e.g. new, popular, topic-specific) technology or even technique that I have experience with, I'd include that.
    – penelope
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:34
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Academics don't use LinkedIn, so it doesn't really matter what you've put there.

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    That is not entirely true. I noticed an uptick in visits on my LinkedIn profile after I applied for academic positions. My intuition is that people check it out, but it isn't as important as the submitted documentation (cv, cover letter, etc) Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 16:18
  • I got my LinkedIn profile checked specifically by my future supervisors both after submitting my PhD application and my postdoc application. Admittedly, the situation might have been different 5 years ago when I was applying for my PhD, but I still know some people from my generation that continued in academia, as well as our seniors that keep their profiles up to date. Actually, I think there's even an Image Processing (or similar) LinkedIn group where, at the time, I noticed people publishing PhD and postdoc offers. So this is just wrong.
    – penelope
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 16:22
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    @FábioDias How many of these visits followed this pattern? "Let's check out this guy's website. type name in search engine LinkedIn? People use it?! What did he put on there?"
    – user9646
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 16:53
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    I think this statement is a bit broad. I know many academics who have a profile. I think my conclusion would be the same as yours (it doesn't matter).
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 17:04
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    Like most generalizations, this answer is patently false.
    – DonFusili
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 7:04

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