Using LinkedIn as an extension of your CV

Jun 12, 2020
Extensive developments in the world of social media combined with changing job markets have impacted the world of recruitment and job hunting. To make your job search and career planning more effective you need to be aware of these changes. Social media and in particular LinkedIn, can help you to further your career and can also contribute to a more successful job search strategy.

If you are not on LinkedIn you can’t win!

LinkedIn is now used by hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide on a daily basis.
LinkedIn is constantly used by recruiters, agencies, in-house recruiters and employers alike. They use it to source a shortlist of candidates when they are filling roles. It is often their go-to source for talent.
Some of the larger recruitment agencies and multinational HR departments will even have a dedicated staff member whose specific role it is to source and identify prospective candidates from the various social media sites, including LinkedIn.
Hirers also use LinkedIn for cross reference purposes and to verify the details that you have on your CV. You could be caught out if there are inconsistencies or irregularities!
So if you were not already convinced that a LinkedIn account is a must or you were wary of it, I am sure that you can now appreciate that if you want to identify a career move or you want a job to find you, you need to be part of the increasing number of professionals using LinkedIn as a recruitment and networking tool. Don’t fear it. It’s the socially accepted done thing and you need to spend time on it linking with and inviting new people into your network.  

Enhancing your personal brand and professional profile

Even though LinkedIn is having a major impact in the world of recruitment it is not replacing the traditional CV, but rather your LinkedIn profile now acts as an extension of your CV. With a standard CV you have limited scope to inform a prospective employer about your future potential or your personal ethos and brand. However, LinkedIn does provide you with this opportunity. With LinkedIn you have more flexibility in terms of the content and layout of your profile. You can provide a more comprehensive overview of your skills, competencies, knowledge and experience. The most important element in your LI profile despite a very professional photo is the ‘keywords’ you use on your page. These keywords need to be reflective of your ambitions for your career path and point in the direction you want your career to go. Similarly, you might want to select ‘skills’ from the list that indicate your strengths.  
If you combine your CV with your LinkedIn profile you can provide a recruiter or potential employer or client with a more insightful overview of what you can bring to an organisation and where you can add value. Perhaps include your LI profile link on your cv?
Rather than providing a historic account of your career as you do in your CV, LinkedIn will allow you the scope to focus on where you want to be. You can include a profile paragraph detailing your career plans and ambitions rather than it being a purely historic account of your experience. You have opportunity to demonstrate where your skills, knowledge and experience can benefit an organisation. It provides you with the channel to really sell your potential. 

Making the most of your profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your on-line CV. It is a means of getting your CV viewed without the necessity to send it. Your profile should be an executive biography. The same principles that apply to your CV apply to your profile - layout and content are crucial as first impressions count.
Ensure that it is professional and easy to follow. As with a CV the use of bullet points can be very useful. 
If you want to be found and considered for job opportunities, it is imperative that you include key ‘buzz’ words in your profile. Step into the world of the recruiters and think ‘What are the key words that they would use to search if they were seeking a shortlist of candidates like you?’ For example, if you are a Financial Controller here are some of the words that you should consider including in your profile:
Financial Management, Financial Control, financial and management reporting,  financial oversight,  P &L  Accountability, financial planning & analysis,  profit maximisation, people management,  team leadership, business and strategic planning, business development, systems review and implementation, project management,  policy development, process improvement ,  operational streamlining, best practice,  commercial, business acumen, decision support.

Payback

The more time and effort you put into LinkedIn the more you will get out of it. If you choose your profile wording carefully, you increase your chances of being contacted and headhunted. The news feeds that you receive will be tailored more specifically to your background as will the ‘Jobs you May Be Interested In’ section on your LinkedIn page.

Putting a face to the name

To add to your credibility and to your personal brand it is essential to include a highly professional photo on your profile. People are more likely to do business with or engage with a person if they have some idea of what they look like. 

LinkedIn as a research tool

LinkedIn, if used properly can provide you with access to a huge amount of market and business intelligence essential to successful job hunting and networking.  For example, if you are attending an interview and know the names of the interviewers you can even look up their details on LinkedIn and obtain a more comprehensive understanding of their background. This information could prove beneficial during your interview preparation and of course during the interview itself. It could enable you to make an important connection with the interviewer that could seal the deal for you. You might even be able to find the person who was previously in the role to see what background they came from and how it rates relative to your own. By going into the company profile and selecting ‘People’ you can see all employees and even refine that down to the finance dept and the team you would be working with. 

Get connected

By adding to your number of connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to recruit or do business with. It will assist you in building your profile and increasing your visibility with your peer group. In addition to appearing at the top of search results, people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust. You can therefore leverage the connections that others have and then use these to your advantage. It is a fast track way to build on your network of contacts. However, be selective about who you add to your network and never add people just for the sake of it or just simply to add to your number of connections. You only want to be contacted by or do business with people who are professional, reputable and who you trust or you know. It will serve you better if your connections are considered and strategic but do make this a daily / weekly habit and always invite with a polite message e.g. “Hi Bob, I’m a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland also and delighted to connect if you are inclined. Kind regards Dave”

People you may know

Another useful feature of LinkedIn is the ‘People You May Know’ listing. LinkedIn will provide you with this specifically tailored list through the connections you have made. It connects you with people who have studied or worked in the same places as you. It also shows the connections of your connections known as 2nd and 3rd connections that are relevant to your sector. It can be quite fascinating looking through the list and it can be compulsive reading. You never know who you might come across!

Join relevant groups

Not only should you be joining groups that your peers are in, you should also join groups which will help you to broaden the scope of your connections and your profile and your exposure in other areas. For example, if you are seeking a career change or change of discipline it can prove useful to connect with groups in this new area. 

Recommendations

If you add recommendations to your profile it will provide others with a more comprehensive overview of you as a professional. However, the recommendations you choose must be objective and should be credible. Adding recommendations that do not hold much weight can actually do more harm than good. You are hardly going to be negative about your own boss now are you!! You can ask others for recommendations and equally write recommendations for others to enhance your branding. 

LinkedIn as a networking tool

How likely are you to ring an ex colleague you have not worked with or spoken to for 10 years? In my view you are much more likely to send them an invitation via LinkedIn to connect. This is a great way to ‘break the ice’ initially. You have then made it much easier for more detailed communications to take place. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you to reconnect with people and to really work a network of contacts. It can help to take the initial fear factor out of networking and initiating that all important first contact.

Job alerts 

Set up your profile so that LI sends you jobs that match with your preference and alerts you of any roles that match your preferences for the next step in your career. This way you stay in tune with the market and with what is happening in your career space. 

Overview

Just because you are on LinkedIn does not mean that you are actively seeking a job. You should not worry about what your superiors are thinking if they see your details on it. The chances are they are on it themselves too. Quite simply, LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool. It facilitates the diversification of your network and the enhancement of your professional profile. You can’t afford not to be there.

Karin Lanigan - Head of Member Experience
You can contact the Careers and Recruitment Service here