A CV without a LinkedIn profile is like fish without chips. They go hand in hand but are very different from one another.

If you’re not a member of LinkedIn and wondering what all the fuss is about, have a look at these statistics:-

  • It is the world’s largest professional network.LinkedIn
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates.
  • 300 million people use LinkedIn.
  • 2 new members join every second.

LinkedIn’s mission is to ‘connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.’

‘Personal Branding’ seems to be the current buzz term and simply means marketing yourself and your career as a brand so when you write a CV, a cover letter or complete your LinkedIn profile, there needs to be continuity. Ensure you highlight the same skills, experience, desires etc but change the writing style according to the media.

Follow these guidelines to ensure you get the most out of LinkedIn

A LinkedIn profile, unlike a CV, is written in the first person and is friendly, engaging and designed to showcase your personality. It’s an opportunity to share what motivates and drives you as well as displaying your skills and experience.

Turn off activity broadcasts – Turn this off through ‘Privacy and Settings’ until you have finished editing your profile, otherwise, LinkedIn will broadcast every change you make. Remember to turn it back on once you’ve completed your profile.

Add a professional photo – You are 11 times more likely to be viewed if you use a photo. Choose a professional headshot where you are in work clothing. You may have a lovely photo from when you were dressed up for a ball or wedding but this is not Facebook, keep in mind ‘professional network’.

Include a strong headline – Ensure you add where your experience lies, use | between sections e.g. Results Driven Operations Manager | Manufacturing and Quality Control Background | Leader and Motivator

Complete the contact section – List email addresses, your website or blog page if you have one, your Twitter name (remember continuity throughout; same photo, same skills etc) and a contact phone number so potential employers can get in touch immediately.

Personalise your URL – Go to ‘Privacy and Settings’, under ‘Settings’ click ‘Edit your public profile’, scroll down to ‘Your public profile URL’ and customise it so it is shorter and more personal.

Write a brilliant summary – This is probably the most important part of your whole profile, do not leave this blank. As mentioned, write it in the first person, be creative and open, describe what you are passionate about, why you do what you do, what you love about your job/industry. Make it personal and highlight key accomplishments. Don’t use the entire 2000 word limit, no one is going to read all that, keep it to about four or five paragraphs. At the end, add a list of specialties to ensure you appear in keyword searches.

Add your employment history – Again, write in the first person, a paragraph or two detailing your current duties then bullet point your achievements in that role. Add links to the company page if they have one.

List skills – Use as many of the 50 available skills as possible. Look at profiles of other people in your industry to give you an idea of which skills you might want to add. It can be quite a challenge to think of 50!

Complete 100% of the profile – Complete all sections to ensure the best ranking in searches. Follow the step-by-step guide to complete the remaining sections. Aim for ‘All star’ level on profile strength, shown on the right hand side.

Start establishing connections – LinkedIn makes it easy to invite people to connect with you. Go to ‘Connections’ at the top of the page, add your email address and go from there. Once people connect with you, you can see who they are connected with and send out invites. Ensure you personalise invites rather than sending the boring default message.

Get endorsed – Your profile is significantly improved if your skills are endorsed. Contact people you know and ask whether they would be happy to endorse you for the skills listed. LinkedIn also gives you the option to endorse people with regular pop-ups. It is advisable to do this in the hope that you receive some through this method. Make sure your settings allow endorsements.

Request recommendations – These really help with proving your skills and experience. Contact colleagues, previous employers, customers or clients and request recommendations for each role. The more the better.

Join relevant groups – You can get involved in discussions or simply receive useful articles, information and news relating to your industry.

Turn on activity broadcasts –

Add your new LinkedIn URL to your CV

Wait for the job applications to come rolling in! Not really, you still need to be as proactive as ever in sending your CV and cover letter for suitable roles but now, when the employer looks at your LinkedIn profile along with your CV and cover letter, they will get a brilliant overall idea of your skills, experience, personality and suitability for the role and the company.

By Meg Murphy, Director of Red Recruitment Solutions and Owner of Red CV Writing | Meg Murphy LinkedIn