It’s a common scene: A busy recruiter thinks, “Wow, think we’ve got a keeper here,” as they scan your lovingly crafted CV or application. To get more background on you, they check out your LinkedIn page, only to shrug their shoulders and move on to the next candidate. What’s going on?
Recruiters, whether agency or in-house, have a very low appetite for risk. Any inconsistencies between your CV and your LinkedIn profile stand out like the balls on a bulldog, and they don’t make for a pretty sight. Employers look for exciting candidates. A great CV lifts the reader’s heart rate, but if the related LinkedIn profile is a yawn, their pulse flatlines. The majority of problems stem from candidates having a poor understanding of the difference between how a CV and a LinkedIn profile should each work.
Know the difference
Your CV is effectively a one-time use document, tailored to a vacancy or company. When a company says, “We’ll keep your details on file,” it begins to die as the world, your experience and your capabilities all change over time. Setting up a LinkedIn page can help cover the interim period, but you absolutely can’t treat it as a static document. Simplistically, a copy of your CV talks to one person, on one occasion, whereas your LinkedIn profile talks to many people, and on multiple occasions.
A great LinkedIn profile will engage the reader and show a much richer picture of you as a person than a CV ever can. Maintained correctly, it’s a live document in an active world and it should expand and grow in pace with your experience and capabilities. Used as a social media platform, it can show your underlying character and how you inter-relate with people and situations. Used as a publishing platform, it can give you a real voice in your industry. What’s not to like?
5 major turn-offs
A profile that hasn’t been updated since your last job-change tells a potential employer nothing about who you are now and what you could do for them, given a chance. The implication for a recruiter is that you’re gasping for oxygen in the bleak and stagnant pool of what can’t really be called your career because it hasn’t gone anywhere recently.
Many profiles don’t serve the reader’s needs. Recruiters want a quick overview of your strengths, skills, experience and achievements. Vast tracts of turgid text act as a barrier and end up delivering less information, not more.
Many profiles show lack of attention to detail, if not outright confusion. Incorrect spilling; punctuation and grammer by Potential Candidates be jarring in the extremely. Autocorrect is a tool, not an excuse. Lack of proofreading is a demonstration of stupidity, not the sign of a fast mover. Lurches between the first and third person and the use of mixed tenses are both particularly horrific to behold.
LinkedIn profiles lacking clarity collect dross. You have the means to comment and interact, but that’s not an excuse to bang on about anything and everything. Sharing salacious stories, bigoted opinions and ‘Only a genius can solve this’ postings creates the impression of an unfocused individual.
At a certain level of your career development, recruiters want to see more structured examples of your focus, thinking and opinions via articles you’ve written. An absence is a lost opportunity to show serious interest in your field.
How to strut your stuff
Read your LinkedIn profile now. Identify what would make it demonstrate that you’ve blossomed rather than stagnated since the start of your current role. Update it accordingly.
Your career is ahead of you, not behind you. Every week, without fail, re-examine your profile and update any new capabilities or significant achievements. If there aren’t any, think what you’re going to do next week to change that, because standing still is sliding backwards.
If you don’t do it already, start to comment on discussions and share relevant articles. Don’t just pass the time, or consume space for the sake of it, aim to add incisive thought to any discussions or topics. Stay on-message with the main thrust of your career.
The more you do, the easier it will become – honestly. Start to connect with the people you encounter, both online and in the real world. Seek connections that will create the foundations of a springboard for the next stage of your career.
Become a mover and a shaker. Work-wise, what do you care about? What affects you and your industry? Share your analysis and thoughts by writing an article. Take a low-risk approach until you find your feet and your voice.
Essential quick tips
- Proofread your whole LinkedIn page every single time you alter anything at all.
- Make your qualifications, dates and positions consistent between your profile and CV.
- Don’t merely repeat what’s already on your CV and stop there.
- Shorten your commentary on older roles.
- Check and update your contact details regularly, to avoid losing opportunities.
- Go loud and proud. Add a link to your email signature and other public profiles.
- Ask for recommendations. One or two from each period of employment looks good.
- Have a call to arms. If you want people to get in touch – ask! It works.
Do you want proof? Find me on LinkedIn, send me a connection request and mention this UCR article. It would be nice to meet you.
If you truly embrace the LinkedIn platform, it can provide you with the means to proactively drive your career forward. Staying focused on what you’re going to say next is a great motivator. Keeping in touch with a growing professional network can not only increase your chances of winning any role you apply for, it can generate entirely unsolicited job opportunities for you.
About the author: Jon Gregory is an author, editor, blogger & trainer on all things job hunting, interview prep & career development.