When was the latest time you sent a CV that included a video of you presenting? Or a CV that showcased a research paper you presented, or a selection of your best articles?
Whilst your LinkedIn profile has some similarities to a CV, for example listing a professional summary, and your experience (see my previous article), this is where the similarities end.
Here are four major ways a LinkedIn profile differs from your CV:
- You can share videos
- Your recent social media posts
- Your PowerPoint presentations and Word documents
- Testimonials from colleagues you have worked with
As you may already know, the purpose of your CV is not to focus on what you’ve done, but to demonstrate what you’re capable of, what results you can deliver. I often refer to CVs as “Back to the Future” – by looking at your track record, employers can build a picture of the transformation you might bring about as a result of joining their firm.
Your LinkedIn profile goes further still, and gives them an even more immersive experience of what it would feel like to work with you.
1. They can feel like they’ve met you by seeing a video or hearing an audio file of you speaking or presenting.
Imagine you’re applying for a sales or customer facing role. It’s one thing to say on your CV that you have great communication skills, it’s another for them to actually see it. If it’s a vital skill for the role you’re applying for, you can feature it at the top of your profile as I’ve done here.
My business partner runs a podcast that focuses on aesthetic doctors. By featuring previous interviews, she is raising her credibility with future guests.
2. They can get a sense of expertise by seeing your status updates.
Many of us associate status updates with posts “What I’m up to now” or “How I feel about x or y”. But status updates serve a very different purpose on LinkedIn: To showcase your knowledge of the industry you’re working in.
- You can share breaking news stories that demonstrate you have your finger on the pulse – You shouldn’t just share the article, you should include your take on the story. Is this a positive development? How could it affect your industry?
- You can share insights that demonstrate your expertise within your industry. E.g. What’s the best way to solve a problem that many of your customers experience?
- You can express an opinion (even a controversial one) of what is going wrong in your industry; employers may be looking for someone with original ideas or who is prepared to “rock the boat”.
LinkedIn posts allow you include up to 1300 characters, around 250 words, which is ample space for you to share your thoughts. Avoid sharing articles without a comment. You’re losing a golden opportunity to showcase the kind of candidate you are. And remember to engage with those who comment on your post. Your responses can be even more valuable that than the post itself.
See the examples below:
Knowing your industry:
Sharing insights that showcase your expertise, in this case copywriting:
Being prepared to “rock the boat” by challenging commonly held views:
Your four most recent activities show near the top of your profile, including your posts and any comments on other people’s posts:
3. They can see your professional output through your presentations
You can share a wide range of presentations: PowerPoint slideshows, Word documents, PDFs and visuals. These can be shared under your professional summary, your work experience (if related to a particular job) or as a status update.
This could work in a number of ways:
- Researchers can showcase surveys they’ve undertaken
- Copywriters can share their best articles
- Graphic designers can share their portfolio
- Marketers and salespeople can share case studies that demonstrate how they have helped their clients bring in new business
- Scientists can share research they have been involved in e.g. publishing white papers they wrote
In the example below, Brian Wallace wanted to show off his agency’s work to his LinkedIn connections, but needed a better way to share it. So he exported the Psychology of Colour infographic as a three-page PDF, and then uploaded it as a document to a LinkedIn post:
In another example, this user has posted images alongside his work experience, to share his cake decorating business:
4. You can showcase the “real you” at the top of your profile
LinkedIn gives you the ability to post “featured content”. You can showcase the content that most effectively sells you near the top of your profile: whether it’s videos, podcasts, white papers, graphics or links to articles you’re written.
5. You can share your references
Whenever you apply for a vacancy, you will be asked for references. You can pre-empt these requests by sharing the testimonials of clients you’re served or colleagues you’ve worked alongside. LinkedIn enables you to:
List your skills and expertise which users can endorse for you. You can add a maximum of 50 skills to your profile.
Request a testimonial from anyone in your LinkedIn network:
Just visit the profile of the person you would like to approach for the testimonial. Click on the “more” button at the top of your profile, and it will give you the option to “request a recommendation”:
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to send a personal message to the person you are requesting a recommendation from. My advice is not to worry too much about quantity. Be selective about who you approach; better to have 4-5 outstanding testimonials than 50 vague ones. Which clients or employers have you achieved the best results for? Be specific when approaching someone for a testimonial E.g. “Hi Simon, It was pleasure helping you with your recent product launch. I would be really grateful if you could share a short testimonial outlining how I supported you and what results you achieved. Also whether you would be happy recommending me to others”.
As you can see from the examples we’ve shared, your LinkedIn profile is a CV on steroids.
The only barrier holding you back is time. However, all we’re talking about is 1-2 hours to make the above changes, plus 5-10 minutes each week to share a status update on any developments in your industry that may be of interest to your employers.
Make these small changes and you’re already doing something that 99% of candidates aren’t. In a competitive jobs market that can make a huge difference.