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Linkedin And The CV – Which One Is Better And How To Make Them Work Together

David Law

Fri, 30 Aug, 2019


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

When you’ve received 20 business contact suggestions, 5 recruiter messages, and even one or two viable open positions— all in one day and in your own inbox… It can be hard to imagine that LinkedIn isn’t taking over the CV’s territory in getting you the new, awesome job you’re after.

But is the situation really that extreme? At Fulcrum, we think it isn’t quite so dramatic— CVs still have their rightful place. And, yes, it is right by the side of LinkedIn profiles.

In today’s job market, you need to fine-tune both your online profile and your CV. But, to know how to do that masterfully, you need to understand the different purposes they serve as well as how to use them together strategically. 

Let’s delve into it.

What are CVs and LinkedIn for?

The answer to this question might seem obvious— aren’t they meant to get you a job? Shouldn’t you display all your best achievements and qualifications on both formats? In reality, it isn’t so straightforward.

While it’s true that both tried-and-true CV and snazzy LinkedIn profile aim to get you a new gig, they play very different roles and offer you diverse possibilities.

The CV, introduced in 1482 by none other than Leonardo da Vinci, is a summary of your professional experience. Conventionally, it’s presented on two A4 sheets and updated before being sent to each new recipient. Ideally, you tailor your CV to the position you’re applying to and add all relevant information as time passes.

Of course, you should also update your LinkedIn profile often, especially if you’ve participated in an industry event or reached a career milestone. But here, the goal is to open the doors to more diverse possibilities and showcase you more holistically. In this social platform launched in 2003, depth is the name of the game. You want to offer deeper and more varied information than on your conventional CV.

But why?

The recruiting and hiring process.

The first thing to know about the hiring process is that it doesn’t always follow the same pattern. For example, in business X, there’s an open position. So the company assembles a hiring team, puts out a job ad, and the CVs start pouring in. Then, the team selects the most promising candidates and double-checks everything against their online information— LinkedIn profiles complete with tidy colleague references.

But that’s just one possible scenario. In other cases, recruiters or hiring managers will be combing through LinkedIn to find capable, innovative people to invite into the company. You might be judged according to how you tailor your experience to the particular position as well as  how you present yourself online.

The difference between your CV and LinkedIn.

What are the real differences between the two? These are the key points that will help you tackle both professional necessities in the right way:

  • Particular vs. General— The CV should be fine-tuned to the role you’re applying to, which means you highlight your most relevant achievements and areas of expertise. Doing this on LinkedIn is not a good idea: it prevents recruiters from considering you for roles you didn’t prepare for but are qualified to work. Online, you should stay as general as possible, presenting your full professional and educational background. This opens the door to all possible opportunities.

  • Summary vs. Story— The CV is short and snappy, as it must get the hiring team’s attention without overwhelming. Bullet lists and clear-cut numbers that show how you rock work great there. But on LinkedIn, you have the chance to tell a more exciting story that gets the audience truly engaged. Instead of summarising your experience, tell a short story: background, twists, action, results.

  • Succinct vs. Proven— On your CV, you might say ‘I have excellent leadership skills’. LinkedIn gives you more options: you can include a track record that explains why that is true or even include a recommendation from your previous colleagues or manager that proves it.

  • Formal vs. Casual— Your CV is a handshake (keeps things at arm’s length, measured, uses formal language) but your LinkedIn has the potential to be the high-five that gets you hired. By all means, keep it professional. But be daring enough to add a little spark: the reasons you’re passionate about your work, your professional ethos, the change you want to make in the world. The sky’s the limit!

How to create a joint CV-LinkedIn strategy.

Now that we’ve established the key differences between the LinkedIn profile and CV, it’s time to create an articulate strategy that makes the most of both possibilities. 

1. Determine how much detail to give away.

You don’t want to show everything straight away. To get recruiters and hiring managers really interested in getting you on their team, you need to give information away in small doses. 

In your CV, focus on making your role-specific experience and qualifications as enticing as possible. In short format, of course. 

And even in your more general LinkedIn profile, it’s a good idea to not reveal everything. Don’t get so deep into the specifics that you start boring your audience. If in doubt, it’s better to leave something out and keep the reader engaged and curious. Do your best to suggest depth of experience!

Then, if a story you want to tell includes sensitive information or makes colleagues look bad… Think again! A good rule of thumb is this— if you’d say it comfortably at an interview, you can type it down as well. 

2. Be a generaliser. 

While your CV is a bespoke document tailored to show how you fill the needs of a specific role, your LinkedIn profile is there for everyone to see. That means you should appeal to everyone— so don’t leave out any aspects of your expertise. 

To draw in all potential opportunities, don’t limit yourself to your current (or past) job titles. Extrapolate to other roles— what can you do that is also useful in other areas or positions?

Use all the features of your profile. Share articles and TED Talks that appeal to the general public, write on topics that vary from your main turf and cast you in the best light possible all around.

3. Tone it down, spice it up.

On your LinkedIn profile, try being approachable. Include details that show your personality and passions. Instead of using super-specialist jargon, employ more general terms and explain your points with a hint of storytelling.

And think outside of the box! Who said the CV still has to be the conventional two sheets of paper? Especially if you’re in media, design, or another field where creativity is prized, you should consider going a different path. Maybe it’s a visual CV, maybe it’s a presentation site that shows off your skills— or something completely different! Don’t be afraid to use your skills to stand out.

We’ve established CVs aren’t going anywhere: the LinkedIn profile is not replacing them at all. Rather, it’s a different niche that allows you to target a wider audience and get more amazing job opportunities on your court. Strategise smart, act, succeed— we’re here to help you rock this!

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