Your LinkedIn profile and CV are pretty much the same thing, right? Wrong!

There's no denying the fact that there are a lot of similarities between CVs and LinkedIn profiles. Both will boast a rundown of your work experience, include a short bio of who you are as a professional and outline your qualifications. So far, so similar.

So it's perfectly understandable that some people fuse the two together. You may simply assume that you can copy and paste the details from your CV onto your LinkedIn profile ‒ job done! However, that would be a huge mistake.

While the two have a lot in common, they're used for different purposes. Therefore, the way that you treat them should be different too. Let's take a quick look at how the two differ while also identifying some of the most effective LinkedIn profile tips.

Your LinkedIn profile picture is worth a thousand words

A major distinction between your LinkedIn profile and your CV is whether or not you include a picture of yourself. It's a hot topic for obvious reasons, but there's a simple answer to this question.

When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, you absolutely should include a picture of yourself. Make sure that it's professional with a plain background. Doing so helps to optimise your profile, which ultimately means that more people will end up seeing it. Bonus!

When it comes to your CV, you may want to avoid including a picture. The phenomenon known as unconscious bias means that the person reviewing your CV may make a snap judgment based on any visual imagery. If HR professionals and recruiters are not trained in avoiding this pitfall, it could mean that they'll make assumptions about your background, personality, and personal experience without having any concrete evidence. It's so much easier to leave it out.  

It's not what you say, it's how you say it

Let's not forget that LinkedIn is a form of social media. While it may be the most formal of the bunch – especially compared to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – it's still a social platform. So, go ahead and be social! Your tone should be conversational and friendly, rather than cold or business-like.

It's all about getting your personality across. You should refer to yourself in the first person (e.g. "I am…") and explain your job and experience in a casual manner. You could even spice things up a little and add the odd cheeky joke here and there. There's no harm in it on LinkedIn!

On the other hand, your CV is first and foremost a highly-formal document. Therefore, using colloquial or familiar language just won't cut it. Choose your words carefully and make sure that each one you use has strength and impact. Your CV needs to be professional since it's the main document you put forward when hoping to land that all-important dream role.

To use keywords or not to use keywords?

Want to make sure that recruiters notice you online? When it comes to your online presence, it could pay to play the game and use smart tactics.

One of the most effective LinkedIn profile tips you will ever hear is that you should optimise with keywords. The social platform's algorithm will take into account your profile's keyword density when returning search results. In short, the more sector-specific keywords you use, the more people will view your LinkedIn profile.

This is one tip that your LinkedIn profile and CV should share, because keywords are just as (if not more!) important in your CV as they are in your LinkedIn profile. While your CV may not be searchable online, many recruiters use applicant tracking systems, which scan CVs for keywords to identify the strongest candidates. Should your document lack the specific terms that relate to your career, you could miss out on great opportunities.

Note: When using keywords, make sure that they flow as naturally as possible. It's obvious when you've tried to shoehorn terms in that just don't fit!

Customising your CV for each job ‒ but not your LinkedIn profile

Customisation is everything. One of the main differences between your CV and LinkedIn profile is whether you customise them or not. When applying for a new role, it's always an important move to take some time to tailor your CV accordingly.

For instance, you should highlight aspects of your experience that pertain to the job for which you're applying and, equally, play down things that are simply irrelevant. Getting into the habit of tweaking this document will make a huge difference to your job hunt.

Needless to say, this is a luxury that you just don't have when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. You only have one and you can't tailor it tp every role. Instead, focus on keeping it up to date, accurate, and full of relevant information that is sure to wow recruiters and HR professionals. Sell yourself and your skills!

Sure, your CV and LinkedIn profile may contain the same information, but many of the similarities start and end there. At the end of the day, LinkedIn is about networking and making connections, while a CV is used to apply for a specific role. With that in mind, the ways that you write these two things have to be strikingly different. Remember that and you'll go far!

Not sure if your CV is up to scratch? Check out our free CV review service now!

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