Consistency is the hallmark of good pitching in baseball, a golfer’s short game and a good resume. Employers are not just looking at the document you submit to them, but are looking at other information, what can be considered your “other resume,” and inconsistencies are going to be scrutinized.
An example of a seemingly innocuous discrepancy is the “gap” that is explained in one place, and addressed in another. In the past, we’ve addressed gaps in resumes. Deciding how to explain gaps in your resume is a difficult (and important) decision. The wrong way to deal with a gap is to leave it blank on your resume but explain it elsewhere (i.e., online).
The bottom line is that you must remain consistent. If there is a gap in your resume from when you stayed home to watch your children, but your LinkedIn profile shows that you weren’t actually home, but instead bounced between a couple of jobs, that is a significant issue.
Similarly, if you claim to have incredible litigation experience on your resume, but your LinkedIn profile shows pretty pedestrian litigation tasks, you can expect to be called out for the inconsistency.
The bottom line is that employers are going to initially rely on the resume you submit, but they are undoubtedly going to verify the information through various means including a background and reference check, a Google search and a review of your LinkedIn profile. If there are inconsistencies, you are going to be digging yourself out of a hole instead of negotiating a start date. Make sure that you are in control of your online presence and that you remove outdated, incorrect or old accounts (see, http://community.linkedin.com/questions/16210/how-to-delete-old-profiles-you-can-no-longer-acces.html for help).