Browsing LinkedIn, I’ve noticed some LinkedIn members who feature their CV as a downloadable file on their profile. Some have uploaded it as a media element under their Summary, and others under Publications. I do advocate adding rich media on LinkedIn to brighten your profile and engage your target reader, but is it a good idea to upload your CV to LinkedIn? Here’s my personal view.
Uploading a CV to your LinkedIn profile signals your readiness and availability to new job opportunities in quite a blatant way. You could argue that LinkedIn members are by association open to opportunity but, for me, attaching a full CV signifies a whole other level of availability. It may cause the reader to wonder why you haven’t been snapped up already, and could diminish your attractiveness as a potential hire.
Featuring your CV as a downloadable element of your LinkedIn profile also eliminates a recruiter’s need to call you. At a click, they have everything they think they need to make a snap decision about your suitability for a role you know nothing about. Untailored to this particular opportunity, your CV may not put your best foot forward. What’s more, if your uploaded CV is outdated or misrepresents you, it could potentially talk you out of the running. If you set it and forget it, you could regret it.
Wouldn’t you like a little more control? Inviting interested parties to call you for a brief telephone call can help you understand their interest and position yourself appropriately for the opportunity at hand. Once you’ve warmed up the connection, and set out your stall by phone, you can then follow up by sending a targeted CV.
Before uploading your CV to LinkedIn, consider the following:
- Are you happy for anyone who views your profile to be able to download your CV? Or would you like to be asked first?
- Is everything you share on your CV okay to share in the public domain? Either from your personal perspective (address, contact details, etc.) or an employer’s?
- Are you happy for an interested party to read a static version of your CV without knowing their specific interest in you? Or would you like the opportunity to understand the opportunity, assess if relevant, and tailor your CV to suit?
- Are you confident that your uploaded CV does and will continue to represent an up-to-date and accurate picture of your offering and goals? Are these set in stone? Or are you committed to refreshing your CV and re-uploading it as often as necessary?
As you can probably tell, I don’t think uploading your CV to LinkedIn as a downloadable file is a good idea. Saying that…
I do recommend that you present an up-to-date, All-Star LinkedIn profile that makes appropriate use of all available sections. Consider what your target reader needs to see to call or message you, then include that.
Your public LinkedIn URL is the address you can share to direct others to your LinkedIn profile. It can be found underneath your profile picture in Edit Profile mode.
Unless you customise the URL, LinkedIn will present a default address with your name followed by random letters, numbers, and forward slashes. These default addresses are not easy to read, share, or remember, so it’s worth customising the address. It’s a very quick job, it doesn’t take long at all.
In Edit Profile mode, click on the cog beside your public URL. From here, you’ll be taken through to your Public Profile view, where you can quickly and easily edit your LinkedIn URL.
Aim for your vanity URL to reflect your first name and surname, as listed on LinkedIn. If your name in this format is already taken, you could add a middle initial, reverse your surname and first name, or add an area of expertise e.g. lismcguirecv. If you are self-employed, you could use your company name.
You have between five and 30 characters to play with, but you can’t include spaces, symbols, or special characters.
Once you have customised your LinkedIn address, you can hyperlink to it from your email signature, share it on your business cards, and even link to it from your company bio, blog, and other social media.
Check out this quick video that talks you through setting up your vanity URL on LinkedIn:
Once upon a time, a job search was a very physical and arduous process. It often involved a visit to the library to scour the papers and a physically-demanding trek from one prospective workplace to the next, making enquiries and handing over CVs.
No longer, thank goodness! Although some aspects of technology, such as the ATS, have made it trickier for the jobseeker, in general its advancement has opened up many opportunities to define and realise our career goals. In this week’s blog, I’d like to share five time-saving and powerful tools that can support and enhance your job search.
The photo you use to represent you on LinkedIn and other social platforms will invite an instant judgement about you as a potential hire, so it is important to get it right. You can read up on photo blunders to avoid here, but to be really confident about your image choice, check out PhotoFeeler.
The site allows you to seek constructive, customised feedback on potential images, along with trait-based ratings from the carefully-moderated community. Community members can rate you as Competent (Smart, Capable), Likeable (Friendly, Kind), and Influential (Leading, In Charge), and add quick notes on how you come across in photos, along with suggestions to improve your presentation. It’s a free service, in that you earn credits by voting on other users’ photos, then spend them by seeking feedback on your one photo.
Dropbox, Google Docs, and other cloud-based file hosting solutions allow you to access your files wherever you are. In the midst of a job search, it’s a good idea to have ready access to your CV, cover letter, and application materials, enabling you to edit and use them, anytime, anywhere.
You can even create a specific folder for your CV, include and share the link with others as necessary, so that they always have access to the most up-to-date version.Include a range of file types including .doc and .pdf files to ensure you can readily meet target employers’ requirements.
Keep your finger on the pulse during your job search via Google Alerts. This free tool is quick and easy to set up and will keep you informed of any newly-indexed ‘stories’ on your chosen subject, sending news direct to your inbox. You could set up an alert for your target employer, a specific industry keyword, industry thought leaders, or your own name.
Creating an email signature is easy, it can be free, and it brings a truckload of professionalism to your job search. During any job search, your personal email account will be red hot with traffic, as you send emails to recruiters, gatekeepers, and those within your existing network to secure your next position. This represents a lot of opportunities to promote yourself and your career goals. Using an email signature in your job search is like handing your personal business card to everyone you engage with.
WiseStamp is an email signature generation tool that offers both free and paid-for services to suit your needs. It’s easy to use, allowing you to create and embed a professional email signature in a matter of minutes.
Canva / Picmonkey
One of LinkedIn’s underused features is the background image. This banner image sits at the very top of your profile, behind your profile image, name, and headline. This used to be a Premium feature, but has since been rolled out to free accounts. If your LinkedIn background image is still blank, fill it today. It’s a quick job that can make all the difference to how you are seen on LinkedIn.
Customise Canva’s ready-to-go templates to create a bright and engaging background that brings immediate visual appeal to your profile. The right image can convey an instant message about you, that will be reinforced by your profile content. Alternatively, you can create a banner in PicMonkey (1400 by 425 pixels), which is another intuitive tool.
In today’s job search, it’s more likely that your motivation will wane and your fingers get sore rather than your shoes wear out. Still, there’s always a way to make things easier and I hope these five free power tools will sprinkle a little creative magic, as you seek your next role.
When you are openly job-searching, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to set out your stall. Your network is there and recruiters too, actively searching for talent in your field. It makes sense to claim your profile and use it to your advantage.
A key element of your LinkedIn profile is your headline, which appears in search results alongside your name, photo, location, and industry. At its best, this 120-character descriptive field will entice the reader to visit your profile and find out more. At it’s worst, it will tell them nothing, or nothing of interest, causing them to scroll on by.
Obviously, you should make the most of the opportunity your headline presents to nail your first impression but, when you are openly job-seeking, should you use it to indicate your availability for opportunities?
Some LinkedIn members do use their headline to state exactly this. They use phrases like:
>> Looking for / open to / available for / seeking / considering new opportunities / roles
>> Actively seeking work / employment / a new role / the next challenge
>> Currently in transition
>> Exploring new options
>> Looking for work / a new role / a job
>> Available for work / employment / permanent and contract opportunities
Let me present some arguments for and against this approach.
In support of this tactic:
>> If you don’t tell your network and recruiters you are available, how will they know?
>> Some recruiters do search for active candidates who are ‘seeking’ or ‘available’ along with relevant keywords as a way to source available talent.
On the other hand:
>> Using these phrases eats into your 120-character headline allocation, space you can use to present keywords or to share the benefit you can deliver, if hired.
>> Such wording can make you appear vulnerable and even desperate, especially if your ‘actively seeking’ headline hangs around LinkedIn for a while.
As I see it, the main problem with these phrases is that in isolation, without any context, they just aren’t meaningful to your target reader. They convey nothing, other than the fact you don’t currently have a job. You may think that your summary and experience sections give the required context but, remember, they don’t show up in search results and, unless your headline hooks your target, these sections will never get seen.
Going back to the stall analogy, it’s the equivalent of having ‘Buy here!’, ‘Buy now!’ signs all over your produce. ‘Available today!’, the placards might say. But what are they selling? Wouldn’t a more effective sales tactic be to focus on the quality of the offering? ‘Mouth-watering juicy peaches!’ ‘Sweet cherries here!’ Rather than focusing on your employment status (Unemployed/Available), shouldn’t you use this space to sell your value proposition to your next employer?
To be effective, these words should be paired with phrasing that tells who you are, where you are heading, and what you plan to do there. The following 120-character headlines combine both, telling the reader more about the candidate and what they want to do:
PRINCE2 Project Manager Seeking New Challenge | Keen to Support Timely, Quality Delivery of IT Transformation Programmes
Executive MBA Graduate, XYZ Business School | Seeking a Challenging Internship with a Leading Financial Services Company
These formulas may help to get you started:
>> (add target role title) ready to (add benefit you deliver) for (company or client descriptor)
>> (add target role title) now ready for my next (add functions / skills) role
>> (add target role title) who (solves what problem) for (who) | Seeking new opportunities
>> Career Target: (add target role title) | (add keywords)
Of course, you don’t have to advertise your availability in a headline. You could opt to use every one of those 120 characters to promote your offering.
Alternatives to announcing your job search in your headline
A call-to-action in your summary
An alternative (or supplement) to the ‘availability’ headline is to add a line to your summary, indicating your readiness for new opportunities. This could be along the lines of:
I would be interested to connect if you are a career changer in need of an interview-winning CV. Call me on (add number) to find out more.
Your current position
When your last bona fide role has well and truly ended, you may feel the need to add a new role to LinkedIn, to maintain your ‘all-star’ profile status and/or to communicate your availability.
If your last job ended recently, you could simply add an end date and leave your recent employment history as that, without raising too many eyebrows. Being in-between jobs is part of life, it happens. However, as time progresses you may wish to fill the gap.
You can add a current job entry to LinkedIn even when you haven’t secured the next role as such.
If you are freelancing, working on a consultancy basis, or completing a series of short-term contracts whilst job-seeking, you can group recent experiences under a single role entry. Assuming that your work reflects your target, use the space to highlight your suitability for your target job, using relevant keywords and demonstrating the kind of results you hope to deliver in a more permanent role.
Even if you are not currently in any kind of employment, you can add a new entry under experience to explain your current status. Avoid lengthy explanations that highlight the negative or words like unemployed or redundant, for example. Instead, use your current position to increase your LinkedIn searchability. Use the space to pitch your offering in terms of your target.
In your title field, you could use one of the following approaches:
>> Seeking (add role title)
>> Career Target: (add role title)
>> Aspiring (add role title)
>> Freelance (add role title)
>> (add role title) in transition
>> Seeking a position with a (add descriptor of target company)
In your company name field, you could use one of the following approaches:
>> Seeking New Opportunities
Beware of filling both company name and title fields in with ‘seeking new opportunities’. If you forget to amend your headline, LinkedIn would then autofill it with ‘seeking opportunities at seeking opportunities’ – not terribly inspiring. In fact, make sure not to present an auto-filled LinkedIn headline, it isn’t the best use of this premium space.
I’d recommend keeping a tab on how long your placeholder job entry remains. Adjust your privacy settings to avoid LinkedIn publically congratulating you on your one-year work anniversary at ‘Seeking new opportunities’, for example.
Over to you
Whether you share your employment status in your LinkedIn headline is a personal choice, and you have to do what feels right to you. Whatever you decide, make the most of this 120-character opportunity to share who you are, where you are heading, and the benefit you can deliver once in that role. Your headline can project you forward, showcasing you for your next role when it has yet to materialise.
Reaching ‘All-Star’ status on LinkedIn does warrant a moment of reflection and satisfaction at what you have achieved. However, don’t rest on your laurels too long, you may get left behind. This week’s blog shares four tips to take your LinkedIn profile from All-Star to the next level (even though it doesn’t technically exist!).
LinkedIn profile strength
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a moment to understand LinkedIn’s profile strength levels. The Profile Strength gauge appears on the right side of your profile, and will indicate one of five levels of profile strength. Lowest to highest, they are:
As you complete your LinkedIn profile and add more content, you’ll notice that your profile strength will increase.
All-Star indicates the top level of profile strength, although the white gap at the top of the blue ‘profile strength’ circle suggests an element of incompleteness. This white gap reflects the fact that there is always room for improvement.
Achieving ‘All-Star’ status
According to the site in January 2016, for LinkedIn to consider your profile complete, it requires you to add:
Your industry and location
An up-to-date current position (with a description)
Two past positions
Your skills (minimum of 3)
A profile photo
At least 50 connections
What next, after All-Star?
As LinkedIn is not a ‘once-and-done’ task, I’d recommend always evolving your profile to reflect your changing skills, experience, and status. Here are four tips to up-level your all-star LinkedIn profile:
#1 Complete as many LinkedIn sections as possible
Challenge yourself to complete as many sections as possible with relevant content that supports your career target. This will ensure you give current and future connections the fullest possible understanding of your offering, skills, and experience.
Sections include: Headline, Summary, Experience, Projects, Honors & Awards, Education, Courses, Skills & Endorsements, Recommendations, Language, Volunteering Experience/Opportunities, Test Scores, Patents, Publications, Certifications, Organizations, Supported Organizations, Interests, Posts, Personal Details, Additional Info, Groups, Following.
#2 Revisit and revise your LinkedIn profile to reflect your evolving offering
It’s a good idea to revisit and revise your profile on a regular basis. Your LinkedIn profile must evolve to reflect your here and now, unless you want your entire future career to be based on how you saw yourself at the time of your first content upload.
Sanity check that your content reflects the current professional you and facilitates your current and future career goals. If nothing else, take a look at your Headline and Summary to make sure they remain appropriate and relevant. Of course, add new Experience, Projects, Skills, and Honors & Awards as you get them. Also, be open to editing older work history when you have something new or more relevant to say. Learn more about editing your career back story here.
#3 Seek (more) LinkedIn Recommendations
Featuring recommendations on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to convey what others in your professional network think of you. They act as a kind of case study of a particular relationship, outlining the circumstances of your mutual connection and the reputation you have earned within that relationship. A recommendation speaks volumes about a person’s character, and carries more weight than what the individual may write about themselves.
Even if you already have a few recommendations, there is always room for more current or relevant examples. Keeping your current career target firmly in mind, seek LinkedIn recommendations from peers at all levels to build and enhance your reputation; don’t feel compelled to just ask people you report to. Consider asking contacts from inside or outside your current organisation, from previous employers, business partners, suppliers, client organisations, educational institutions, or even conferences or events attended. I believe that displaying a diverse array of recommendations puts you at an advantage, showing that you are a great person to work with regardless of the relationship or scenario.
When you update your LinkedIn profile with a recommendation, your connections, and the connections of the person recommending you, will be notified of the update in their newsfeed. It’s the virtual equivalent of the person taking you to a premium, closed networking event with all of their contacts, patting you on the back and announcing to the room that you are in their circle of trust.
#4 Write a LinkedIn Post (or two)
If you aren’t already using LinkedIn Publisher, you are missing a huge opportunity to build credibility and visibility on LinkedIn and online. LinkedIn states that ‘publishing allows you to further establish your professional identity by expressing your opinions and sharing your experiences’. If you are wondering how popular the publishing platform really is, LinkedIn reported one million long-form posts had been written on LinkedIn Publisher by February 2015.
LinkedIn’s Publisher function allows you to publish your own insights on industry trends and events. Start with one post, but also consider a series of LinkedIn posts to enhance your credibility.
When you publish a long-form post, it becomes part of your professional profile, and is shared with your network connections and followers. Posts are searchable within LinkedIn and off the platform, so if you optimise your content with relevant keywords, it can show up in external searches. As an added bonus, LinkedIn members who are not connections can opt to follow you from your post, and will be updated when you next publish on LinkedIn.
Search for ‘Tips for Writing Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn’ to discover LinkedIn’s tips on writing long-form posts. Whether you are a complete beginner or seasoned blogger, these tips are certain to help.
All-star or not, consider your LinkedIn profile as an ever-evolving masterpiece. There will always something to add, something to enhance, something to edit. Make it work hard for the you you are now, not the you you were then.
Would someone who decides to search for you on LinkedIn, having read your CV, be able to quickly identify your profile from the search results? Once they have clicked through, would they be clear and confident that the profile relates to one and the same person presented by the CV? Not sure? Log out of your LinkedIn account and conduct a search for your name, as presented on your CV.
If the above rings true, I’d recommend that you address the issue. Here’s why.
One of the very first things I will do when writing someone’s CV is to search for them on LinkedIn. I do this with the hope that I will uncover more about that person’s career history and professional focus, bringing their story to life. I’m not the only one applying this tactic. In 2014, Jobvite’s survey found that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a means to source and vet potential candidates. If they didn’t find you on LinkedIn in the first place, the person looking at your CV will no doubt search for you on LinkedIn, using your presence to verify your career history and discover more about your potential fit.
Unfortunately, the candidate in question isn’t always easily identifiable in the initial search results, when they could and should be. I often resort to clicking through to countless profiles, my eyes straining to see if one of those returned is the one I’m looking for. Personally, I’m happy to persevere to find my client’s profile, but recruiters work for their clients, not jobseekers, and the time-pressured task of sourcing the right candidate won’t allow them the same approach.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If your profile uses a clear LinkedIn headline, and is complemented with an accurate industry description, then it should be quick and easy for others to identify and select your profile.
Another problem is that, having deduced which is the right profile, the information presented within hardly ever completely tallies with that on the person’s CV. Although there should be some differences between your CV and LinkedIn profile, the differences I see most often are not the ones I would recommend. Your LinkedIn profile offers the opportunity to add depth to your career history – through a personalised and detailed 2000-character summary, interactive multi-media elements, projects, and voluntary roles – aspects that you may have been unable to include on your CV. These elements offer a great opportunity for candidates to stand out on LinkedIn, supporting and advancing their case for employment. Instead, the differences I most often see are the ones that confuse the hell out of me, forcing me to ask myself if I am really looking at the right candidate.
The main culprit? Inconsistency in career timelines. As I scan between a CV and the corresponding LinkedIn profile, I’ll often notice the dates are completely different, making it difficult to understand the career timeline. However, an inconsistent career timeline is not the only distraction. Here are some of the differences, small and large, that frequently crop up:
differences in the months and years the individual started and finished their employment with a particular company;
omissions of roles included on the CV;
addition of roles NOT included on the CV;
a headline that conveys a different career specialism or target (no headline is even worse!); or
a summary section that conveys a different career specialism or target (again, no summary is even worse).
It may seem like I’m being pernickety but, believe me, these things have to tally between your CV and LinkedIn profile. If not, it’s very confusing for the person trying to marry the two. I suspect that these differences occur because the individual hasn’t created their CV and LinkedIn profile at one and the same time. In reality, they may not even have had their CV to hand when populating their LinkedIn profile, and never got round to making sure the content was aligned.
There may not seem much harm in guestimating dates and so on when filling out your LinkedIn profile for the first time but, believe me, for someone looking at your CV and LinkedIn side by side, it can be a confusing experience. More than just being confused, if the viewer is assessing your suitability for a role, they may come to some incorrect and unwelcome conclusions about you. Here’s a small list:
You are slapdash. Not taking the time to present a consistent professional image could signify you are not detail-focused. Attention to detail is a desirable trait for jobseekers, so this could definitely count against you.
You don’t care or are not serious about your job search. Serious candidates will ensure that their CV and LinkedIn profile are aligned.
You don’t understand LinkedIn. Not using LinkedIn to its full advantage may indicate that you aren’t particularly tech-savvy – that you don’t comprehend the platform’s functionality or how to use it.
These unwanted conclusions are avoidable. Head them off at the pass by taking the time to align your CV and LinkedIn profile today. If you are keen to optimise your LinkedIn profile, and use the platform to your advantage, then why not order LinkedIn Explained?
This easy-to-follow eBook guide shares proven strategies and tips to help you build a strong presence on LinkedIn, supporting your professional credibility and career goals.
Whether you intend to use LinkedIn to search for a new job, would like offers to come to you, or would like to build and maintain your network, this book will help. Buy now for $14 (about £9 plus VAT), and pay in the currency of your choice. Immediately after your payment has been approved, you will be provided with a link to download this report in PDF format.