Although your CV and LinkedIn profile are both important job-search tools, they serve slightly different purposes and are read by different audiences under different conditions. As a result, they should never be identical.
Your LinkedIn profiles can passively generate interest from recruiters and employers looking to hire for open roles. Through the ‘About’, recommendations and interests sections on your profile, you have the opportunity to add the kind of personal touch which provides valuable insight into your cultural fit for a role.
However, while you’ll only have one LinkedIn profile that does the broad job of presenting your professional persona to the online world, you’ll ideally have a separate CV for every job you applied for, each carefully tailored to fit the requirements of a role.
Your LinkedIn profile can be a great way to reinforce the information you’ve given a potential employer on your CV. If your LinkedIn profile showcases testimonials, skills and professional experience previously mentioned on your CV, you’re onto a high standard profile. Your CV can be very punchy and factual due to the restriction of space to give the facts about your career. LinkedIn is your opportunity to bring some colour, the things you're passionate about your achievements, your affiliations, charity work, projects you're proud of.
LinkedIn profiles aren’t written with a specific position in mind, so yours needs to include enough information to appeal to a wide audience and paint a complete picture of all your various skills and strengths—after all, you don’t want to limit your options by restricting your narrative too much.
Your CV, on the other hand, should feature only information that’s 100% relevant to the needs of a specific position and the interests of the employer. That means you should cut out mention of any work experience or skills that don’t relate to the position, while playing up those that do. While LinkedIn will require some tailoring, as you want to tell a specific story, but not to the same degree as your CV.
The degree of formality is another key difference between a CV and LinkedIn profile. Your CV is a professional document that’s meant to position you as the polite, respectable employee you are. Make sure this comes across through the language you use, and prioritize formal wording over colloquial phrasings. You should also avoid using first-person pronouns—in fact, you can drop personal pronouns altogether.
Professionalism is also important on LinkedIn, but as it is first and foremost a networking site and social platform, a degree of informality is allowed. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to showcase your personality so make your profile’s language familiar, relatable, and conversational, and feel free to say “I” and “me.” The idea is to give people a sense of who you are so that they feel comfortable reaching out and connecting.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile for a job search
There are a number of ways to maximise how well your LinkedIn profile advertises you to potential employers/ recruitment agencies:
1) Use a professional profile photo
Try to use a dedicated professional photo as your profile picture, rather than a holiday snap or family portrait. A clear photograph of yourself provides the opportunity for an employer to build trust with you up front.
You build trust in a brand by consistency. As an interviewer, you want to have seen on that LinkedIn profile picture the same person who's going to walk through your interview door, because then you trust them.
2) Always fill in the ‘about’ section
Your ‘about’ section is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself and your brand. Don’t rely on tired clichés and industry buzzwords — instead, aim to write something that could only have come from you.
Part of individualising an ‘about’ section is to add in a couple of relationship hooks. These are snippets of information about who you are when you aren’t working, that you are putting out as a hook so that if someone was to meet you, you could have a conversation kicking off about that particular thing.
3) Integrate photos and videos
Much like your profile picture, integrating photo and video content on your LinkedIn profile can help to give a clearer sense of your personality and your personal brand.
4) Use keywords
Strategically lace relevant keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, in your job title, about section and employment history to make sure you’re attracting the right eyes.
Add as many relevant keywords as you can and ensure you use keywords which highlight your transferable skills.
Be aware of your entire online presence
Although you might be reserving your best face for LinkedIn, it’s likely that a potential employer will browse some of your other social media profiles. Many clients will look at social media on any individual before making offers and hiring those individuals
Whatever you are posting on any form of social media, most importantly LinkedIn, you’ve got to ask yourself whether you’d be happy for that to be in black and white, maybe on The Daily Mail, because essentially, that is what you're doing. You are leaving a footprint. Just be really mindful of the views or topics that you comment on.
Alternatively, you can speak with one of our Specialist Recruitment Experts on 028 9033 0250.