Job seekers often ask why they need both a CV AND a LinkedIn profile…aren’t they basically the same?
The answer is no; each is unique. Your CV and LinkedIn profile are separate tools in the toolbox, each with their purpose.
CV: To create a targeted message that meets a specific employer’s need using select examples from your career history.
Consider it a snapshot of only best/most related content.
LinkedIn: To create an overarching story of your career path that highlights key strengths and accomplishments that speak to a broader audience for long term personal branding. Consider it a larger story.
When used together, the CV and LinkedIn profile can create a robust overview of what you achieved, how you got there, what value you currently provide, and where you want to go.
By aligning your CV and LinkedIn profiles to complement each other and not merely repeat each other, you offer more value to your readers (i.e. hiring decision-makers).
What Needs to Be the Same Between the CV and The LinkedIn Profile
The framework and overall positioning of you and your professional experiences should align between the two.
Providing consistent information around the finer details reduces confusion and mixed messaging. The overall story must line up. If a recruiter visits your profile after reviewing your CV, you don’t want them to find discrepancies around dates, titles, or education, which might flag questions.
Your Name and Title:
Use your ‘everyday’ name on both. If you are a Richard who goes by Rick, use Rick. If you are a Mary Lynn who goes by Lynn, use Lynn. Be consistent across all communications, making it easy for employers to locate and connect your materials and information. Also, create a custom LinkedIn URL with this same name.
If you have carefully crafted your LinkedIn headline to demonstrate your value, weave that same title and positioning into your CV (as long as it aligns with your target). If you title yourself as an Executive Human Resources Officer on your CV, consider the same on LinkedIn (although it is recommended that you expand details on the LinkedIn headline up to 220 characters).
Company Names, Position Titles, and Dates:
Over time, some organizations change names and position titles due to mergers and acquisitions and trends (i.e. Customer Account Manager to Client Success Manager). Carefully check to make sure all titles and dates match on both the CV and LinkedIn.
Education Institutions and Dates: On your CV, you may choose to forego listing the dates of your education depending on how many years ago you graduated to avoid the potential of ageism. LinkedIn also allows you to exclude dates as well. Consider why you might list dates in one place and not another – can it be consistent?
What Needs to Be Different Between the CV and the LinkedIn Profile
Add extra value with your LinkedIn profile by filling in details or gaps that might not make it onto a targeted CV. Remember, your CV should speak to specific accomplishments and experiences that address the employer’s needs. Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to expand the story.
CV Summary and LinkedIn About:
Keep the professional summary on your CV to a maximum of 3 or 4 sentences, connecting your value directly to the target job. Be concise and specific.
On LinkedIn, expand your About section into a more robust overview. This section offers you 2,600 characters to write your professional story in a less formal voice. Consider this section a brand-building section and infuse personality, writing in the first person.
Showcase only the most relevant details to the target job on your CV. Consider using your LinkedIn to demonstrate more stories of how it all came to be, or additional facts. Show the progression and success in your roles within both files.
Although both files will likely share many of the same keywords, only the CV allows you to customize for each unique application. Read each job posting and carefully select keywords that match job requirements. Integrate these into your CV.
On LinkedIn, you are writing for a broader audience, but the site is a giant database. Keywords are needed to help you get found. Populate your profile with keywords throughout and fill in all allowed 50 Skills in the section.
Awards, Certifications, Volunteering:
Keeping your CV focused and brief may mean no room for various awards, certifications, and volunteer experiences (though if they are directly relevant, you should add them).
While you don’t have to include these same details on your LinkedIn profile necessarily, you can include them to help you highlight a commitment to professional development and community, or to simply share these additional facts in a place that has room to do so.
Specific Facts and Metrics:
Consider which facts may be ‘safer’ to share on a CV versus a public platform like LinkedIn. In a CV, specific metrics (budget amounts, dollars saved, revenue figures, profit and loss measurements) can increase the value of your content and provide proof of ability.
You may not want to share these same details on LinkedIn. An option is to ‘soften’ details on LinkedIn. For example, instead of listing the exact budget size ($2M), you can say “multimillion-dollar budget”. Or, instead of listing specific sales growth ($1.3M to $2.4M in 2 years) try “increased sales 85% in 2 years”.
Ultimately, employers are hungry for details. When they shift between the CV and LinkedIn, they appreciate extra value-rich details to support their decision. Simply copying and pasting career details between the CV and LinkedIn is an opportunity wasted.