With so much social media noise in today's world, it's worth knowing how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV to achieve the right results

A prospective employer will, no doubt, have a wealth of knowledge about you, even before your very first meeting. Digging out your social media posts, photos, messages, and hilarious videos on cats is not rocket science and is a well-known practice in the recruitment sector nowadays. But there's a danger of giving the wrong impression about yourself from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

LinkedIn is different. Primarily a platform for professional networking, it's a fantastic tool for helping you to find that dream role. You can build connections, post work-related information, and even create a profile that shows you're open for work. So if you can learn how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV, then you're going a long way to projecting the right professional persona and ultimately getting that position for which you've been aiming. But if your LinkedIn profile isn't up to scratch, recruiters might get cold feet and call the next person on the list rather than you!

Over the last five years or so, LinkedIn has become a real force to be reckoned with in the jobs market. The latest stats show that over 75% of the working population in the UK hold a LinkedIn account. That's over 25 million accounts! So it pays to have your CV and LinkedIn page complement each other, especially if you're on a shortlist. If your LinkedIn profile isn't fit for purpose, it could lead to a resounding “no” from a hiring manager.

Should your CV match your LinkedIn?

When learning how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV, the main word to remember here is “complement,” which doesn't translate to “copy.” You might be complimented on that new shirt you've just purchased, but when something complements another, it means it contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to improve its quality.

Your CV could be top notch, but if you don't know how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV, and your LinkedIn page is badly presented or non-existent, then it won't show you in the best light.

So should you put your entire CV on LinkedIn? Certainly not. Don't just copy and paste your CV onto your LinkedIn page. It looks sloppy and lazy. Like tailoring your CV for each job you apply for, you should construct your LinkedIn page accordingly. CVs and LinkedIn profiles are very different types of documents, that require a very different approach. Sure, you can upload your CV onto your page as a link, but don't just dump your CV content onto it.

For starters, you'll need to create a dazzling headline. Punchy and pithy, this should reflect and summarise your key skills while also stating your objective - another bonus of a LinkedIn profile that isn't on a CV.

You'll also want to approach the LinkedIn summary in a very distinct way that's different to the Professional Profile section of your CV. The summary on LinkedIn is much more informal and is written in the first person. It's a place where you can show off your personality and other value-added information not required on a CV, such as fascinating hobbies or voluntary positions, to make your page stand out from others.

Details that aren't recommended on your CV, such as a profile picture, can also be added to your profile. Just make sure that it's an up-to-date, professional headshot that's just of you - not with your children or dogs, or when you were having a great time at that party five years ago!

Another way of using LinkedIn to complement your CV is by persuading colleagues, managers, and professional contacts to endorse you and your work in the recommendation section. As this sort of information isn't included on CVs, it's worth taking the time to badger those who value your work into putting that into print. This then shows you off as even more impressive to someone taking the time to look at your page.

Smarten up your LinkedIn profile page

If you've neglected your LinkedIn profile for a while, editing your page couldn't be easier. You just need to click on the pencil icon next to whichever section you want to update and get cracking. Ensure that your most recent role is top and centre, mirroring the content of your CV, along with any achievements to highlight your awesome track record.

Make sure that you fill in as many sections as possible, in as much relevant detail as possible, while keeping within the word count.

Aim for consistency when using LinkedIn to complement your CV. Any little error or inconsistency between the two documents will be noticed by a prospective employer and could count against you.

Can LinkedIn help me to find a job?

LinkedIn has become more and more prevalent in the job search over the past few years. Now that it boasts over 850 million members worldwide, there's bound to be someone out there with an offer or an idea of how to move forward in your chosen field. Not only is LinkedIn a social media platform, it also functions as a job board, with over 122 million people across the world having secured interviews through the site. You can apply direct to roles, so it's certainly worthwhile making sure you have a tightly written, professional and engaging summary.

The more contacts you have, the better. It's that ripple effect, where you know someone who knows someone else who might have a sniff of a suitable position. Spreading your net far and wide is never going to hurt.

To make sure you're easy to find on LinkedIn, set your visibility and privacy preferences to suit your current standing, whether that means your page is available to anyone through Google, just those on the LinkedIn platform, or within your own network of contacts.

Engaging with posts and keeping proactive on LinkedIn is another way of networking and landing that all-important role. Keeping your personal brand in the forefront of people's minds will hopefully mean that it'll be your page and your CV they turn to when looking for their next employee.

How detailed should a LinkedIn profile be?

While there are no limits to the length of a CV - though two pages is the optimum length for most jobs - LinkedIn does have restrictions on the number of characters for each section. This can be seen as a good thing. It means that you can't waffle on forever about a role you did 20 years ago. And realistically, who's going to read that anyway?

Just make sure to add value.

Due to the different sections within LinkedIn, you can add details on projects, presentations, conferences, and test scores without a particular section being overloaded with content and looking so text-heavy that the reader's heart sinks at the very sight of it.

Another great asset to a LinkedIn page, as opposed to a CV, is the ability to include web links to showcase your work, such as projects or an art portfolio. If you want people to view that tunnel you built as a Civil Engineer, or digest the cartoon you drew that was published in Private Eye, here's your chance.

How to add LinkedIn to a CV

A basic and quick thing to do, but that many job seekers forget, is to add your LinkedIn link to your CV as a hyperlink. It's best to include this information with the rest of your contact details at the top of the CV. Then, the hiring manager or prospective employer can click on it easily and see just how well you've presented both documents in a comprehensive and cohesive manner.

The key takeaway

Viewing your LinkedIn page as an extra tool in the job market is the best way to go. CVs are still very relevant today, despite the disrupted recruitment sector, and you'll be a real force to be reckoned with once you've learned how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV.

If you're still unsure exactly how to use LinkedIn to complement your CV, let the professional CV writers help. Take a look at the free CV review service then check out our further services on offer, which include a total LinkedIn rewrite.   

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