Idea in short

The reality is that the two are not created for the same purposes, although their purposes can overlap. Your CV is usually updated and shared when you are in active job-search mode, while the primary function of LinkedIn is to create a professional network — a new job may be an outcome, but it is usually not the only goal.

In short, a CV should be tailored to the job application. It is the master list of your professional accomplishments. However, LinkedIn is the platform for you to display the full breadth of your personal profile. I was asked this question on multiple occasions:

Is having a stellar resume a good enough substitute to having a LinkedIn profile? I have a great resume, so I don’t need a LinkedIn profile, right?

Since a CV and a LinkedIn profile both showcase you, it makes sense that the facts of your past jobs and projects will be consistent. You may choose to present a traditional CV and LinkedIn profile differently, but the core chronology and facts should stay the same between the two. A good CV and an impactful LinkedIn profile share the same focus on value delivered. Nevertheless, a LinkedIn profile is different from a professional CV in several ways:

Inbound marketing

Unlike a CV, a LinkedIn profile maximises your Inbound opportunities, even when you are not actively on job search. If you are not on LinkedIn, recruiters and potential employers cannot check your job history or accomplishments. Unlike a CV, a LinkedIn profile allows you to engage with and expand your professional network. These activities help you reach a wide audience and build your professional brand

Compelling profiles

Your LinkedIn profile is a dynamic and living document that lets your personality shine through in a way that a CV cannot. A CV is a static document – it’s a snapshot of your career at a particular moment in time. LinkedIn profile gives you the flexibility and space to craft your own narrative and be your own storyteller through:

  1. Portfolio of your work
  2. Recommendations & endorsements

Dynamic interactions

You can tweak and edit your CV, changing the headline here or the wording there. However, every time you hit “save” and email the document to a recruiter, your resume is “final” for the purposes of that interaction. In contrast, your LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing, and ever-evolving creation. Keeping it current and updated is critical for your success in online networking. Take advantage of your ability to include links to projects and portfolios, and publish blog posts to create a reputation and position yourself as a knowledgeable professional in your industry.

Tone

Your CV is perhaps one of the most formal documents you will ever write. The strength of your CV is in the structure and word choices, so every word should be carefully selected for impact and relevance since the real estate on the page is limited and valuable. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a social network first. Because the strength of LinkedIn is in the connections you make, your tone can be more relaxed and casual. Professionals often refer to themselves in the first person, which is not something you would consider for a CV.

Perception

Another important distinction is that people read differently when they look at a hard copy document versus a computer screen. With an online profile, your reader is likely scanning for headlines and bullet points. Craft the presentation for the reader’s convenience.

Nowadays, most recruiters will take a look at your LinkedIn profile if your CV passes muster. If you want your CV and your LinkedIn profile to work in tandem, you’ll need to make sure that all the information on your CV is also on your LinkedIn profile, and that your profile isn’t just a repeat of your resume. By adding additional activities and providing links to examples of projects you’ve worked on (work-related or otherwise), you add a dynamic element that can help convert initial interest into a first-round interview, and, hopefully, a job!

Summary

It’s understandable that people would confuse LinkedIn and their CV. After all, they’re both places to discuss your professional achievements. But by understanding the differences and taking the time to flesh your profile out, you’ll have a helpful, complementary page where you can direct contacts to learn more about you. The bottom line is that if you are neglecting your LinkedIn profile, you are crippling your chances and putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage among the competition.