For most people looking to switch jobs, the first step will probably be to update your CV. For a simple summary of your career, it’s astonishing how much of a minefield the common-or-garden resume can be. In addition, fashions change, even for CVs, and If you’ve been in the same role for a while then you might find you need to revamp the whole thing!

But what about your LinkedIn? The temptation, once you’ve invested all that time in getting your CV right, is to copy/paste text from one to the other. After all, it has all the same fields….

Stop right there. If you want your job-seeking tools to work as hard for you as you can, you need to understand the difference between LinkedIn and your resume.

Who’s reading?

Your resume is a precise tool. It’s one or two sides of A4 that you hope will catch the eye of the person sifting through them. It has one job: to get you an interview.

Most experts agree that your CV has under 30 seconds to attract positive attention. As a result, it needs to get right to the point, showcasing what it is about you that is right for a particular role. Depending on your field and where you are in your career, you may switch sections around to reflect how your experience, education, research or whatever else best makes your case.

Think of a CV as a letter, personally addressed and with a message to get across: I am the right person for the job.

By contrast, a LinkedIn profile should be saying: This is what is unique about me. Your profile may be read by potential employers, but it might also be read by past or present colleagues, your ex or that person you met at a conference twelve years ago.

Desperately seeking

There’s no doubt that LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for job hunting, but its primary function is as a networking site. It’s about making connections and building relationships, and that means you need to tell stories. While on your CV you might include a single bullet point, on your LinkedIn profile you could go into more detail. Make it conversational; imagine you were telling the story at a networking event.

Important point: Your LinkedIn profile is visible to your current employer. No matter how desperate you are to move on, it’s best not to show that on your profile. Don’t put what you’re seeking in your LinkedIn headline, but have one on your CV that makes that very clear indeed.

One profile to rule them all

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two things is that you have only one, single, LinkedIn profile.  Because you can’t know who is viewing it, your profile needs to be ‘one-size-fits-all’. Your use of language and what you choose to say should be in support of your general career goals.

When it comes to your CV, it’s well worth making slight adjustments for each role you apply for. Tailoring your application can pay dividends. You can do this by making sure that you eemphasizeyour relevant experience for the role. You can also subtly weave in the company’s values, so you align yourself as ‘one of them’.

Important point: This is not in any way to suggest that you should be dishonest. Make sure that your CV and LinkedIn profile complement each other; you really don’t want them to contradict.

Reading on the screen

It’s acknowledged that the experience of reading on paper is different to reading on a screen. Of course, in this digital age there’s every chance that your prospective employer is scanning an electronic version of your CV. But people do tend to print out documents they want to mull over or write notes on.

When writing for the screen, you need to break up large chunks of text. You’ll notice that most blog posts (this one included) have short paragraphs of only three or four sentences. That’s not an accident; it’s because keeping your place on the screen is harder than on a piece of paper. Regular breaks help orient the reader.

TL;DR – Rewrite

Even though resumes and LinkedIn profiles share a lot of common information, it’s worth making them distinct from each other. Most employers will check our your social media presence to find out more. Ensure they’re not disappointed!