Why LinkedIn Profiles are the New CV
Whenever we are on the move job or career-wise, we blow the dust off our CV and attempt to rewrite it, bring it up-to-date and put the best spin on it that we can. Why do we do that? Because we believe that it is the passport to transitioning to a new job and we are going to be asked for it constantly throughout the recruitment process. And we’re not wrong, are we? It’s still the prevailing view that we have of job transition. But actually there is a strong case to be made for going a different way.
In the 10 years since LinkedIn was established, it has built out its membership to well over 250 million in over 200 countries, and that number continues to rise as the website continues to develop as the dominant professional social media based network in the world. But how many people who are members are actually using it? I mean really using it as a proactive tool for their career, rather than just being a member and being dormant. And how many of us who are members have actually thought through what we want to use our membership for?
History tells us we only get active in our career when we hit a point where we’re in desperate need because we’ve either lost our job or we’re deeply unhappy with our current work situation. What we do is switch on our proactive selves at that moment of need. Whilst we could perhaps get away with that in the past we now have a digital culture that allows us to stay up-to-date, up-to-speed and connected in real time. If you like, you can think of it more as a continuous plateau of energetic activity.
Here are some interesting statistics to ponder. 95% of employers now use LinkedIn, which is the largest job movement site that exists. Those employers use LinkedIn either directly, through their own or outsourced recruiting processes or through third party agents who will use LinkedIn as part of their search strategies on behalf of their employer clients. In the UK we believe that something like 80% of jobs available are hidden from the open market. In other words they do not appear as mandates from recruitment agencies, in the newspaper classifieds or on online job boards. In the US, only 3% of jobs are actually seen on job boards.
So what do these statistics mean? The first conclusion is that we must take LinkedIn seriously. We would do well to shift our focus to our LinkedIn profiles. CVs still have their place but they are no longer the dominant profile of the job seeker. We think of LinkedIn as a live environment or, if you like, a talking avatar of our professional selves. There are some distinguishing features that make LinkedIn differ from CVs. No longer are we working to a structured arrangement where we shouldn’t use first person singular in our language or go beyond the two pages of a CV. When it comes to LinkedIn we should use ‘I’ and we should put as much information onto our profile as possible. Whilst our CV is based on historic information, LinkedIn is about the past, the very present and the future. State your intentions on LinkedIn and show those intentions through your activity on the site – by the groups you’re a member of, for example.
If you give your CV to a recruitment agency or the like, it will go into a database, which will seem to us like a black hole over which we have no control. With your LinkedIn profile being live, you’re more likely to be interacting. Try encouraging interested parties to go offline into face-to-face relationship-building mode – one of the biggest criticisms of job searching in the digital age has been the discourtesy and the inability to build relationships with potential agents and people who can give us work.
The CV is increasingly becoming a marginal document whilst active involvement on LinkedIn is the most appropriate and relevant way of keeping connected, specifically when you’re looking to progress in your career.
By Position Ignition (www.positionignition.com) and the Career Ignition Club (www.careerignitionclub.com), the UK’s leading career change and career development company and platform. Also the author of 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips (http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips). Follow @PosIgnition for more help with your career challenges.