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Why your LinkedIn profile shouldn't be a copy and paste of your CV

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Last week, LinkedIn celebrated its 15th birthday and over those 15 years how we search for jobs has changed massively.

Fifteen years ago, back in 2003, there was no Gmail, no smartphones, no Facebook and finding a job on LinkedIn just wasn’t a thing. When job hunting your CV was golden.

As of January 1st, 2018, LinkedIn has 500 million users, 40% of whom use the platform daily, and over 50% of who use the platform on mobile (while there are over a billion Gmail accounts worldwide!)

Meanwhile, the CV hasn’t gone anywhere, but it’s worth noting that what you include on your CV and your LinkedIn profile should be different. Here’s what to look out for and edit for each one:

The Photo:

LinkedIn needs a photo whereas it’s a no go for a CV. On LinkedIn profiles with a photo get up to 21 times more views and up to 36 times more messages, according to Decembrele. While on a CV a photo can seem unprofessional and at worst add an element of unconscious bias.


Your CV should be concise, whereas a LinkedIn profile can be more detailed and offer more than just your previous job titles and work achievements. However, over 50% of LinkedIn traffic is now mobile so although you’re free to add extra details keep paragraphs short and sweet so it’s easy for a mobile user to read.

Tone of Voice

On your CV it’s ok to write in the third person, but for LinkedIn stick to the first person. As a social profile is a chance to add some personality – there are thousands of LinkedIn profiles so make yours unique by sticking to your own natural style.

Layout & Visuals

When writing a CV stick to a set layout and only include relevant information. With your LinkedIn profile you have more freedom. For example, make the most of visuals – links to portfolios, a custom header image, images of an event you planned or videos of work you’ve done. Do stay away from Flash content however, as it won’t display correctly on an iphone or ipad.

Editing for specific jobs

Editing your CV for each job application is crucial, however on LinkedIn this is more difficult. As a public profile your you never know who will be looking at your profile. Instead of editing everything regularly give a longer overview of your responsibilities and achievements and ensure you keep things up to date. For example, if you complete a new project that achieved impressive results add it as a LinkedIn project.


It’s impressive for a CV to contain figures and metrics to demonstrate your past acheivments, but as online data protection becomes more prominent you should be careful when adding specific figures to LinkedIn. To be safe keep specific figures to your CV and if in doubt omit potentially confidential figures or stats from your LinkedIn.

Over the past few years there have been big changes in how we apply for jobs and how we work. Just like journalists write differently for print and for online, you too shouldn’t tailor your professional profile for your CV and your LinkedIn profile. Both are important documents and could land you your next dream interview.

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