8 Key Differences Between your CV and LinkedIn Profile – CV Nation

8 Key Differences Between Your CV and LinkedIn Profile

Posted by Phillip Jewell on

Both your CV and your LinkedIn profile are hugely effective tools in your job search.

But are they one and the same? Or should they be different?

Should your CV match your LinkedIn profile?

In this comprehensive article, we answer all your questions about whether your resume and LinkedIn profile should be the same.

We also detail the key differences to take into account when creating your LinkedIn profile and CV or resume.

Your LinkedIn profile should not be the same as your CV. There are many variations in the way LinkedIn profiles and CVs should be structured, written and prepared. The key differences include content, tense and tone. CVs should be more formal and they are usually written in third-person, unlike LinkedIn profiles which should be less formal and written in first-person. However, your LinkedIn profile and CV should both covey your expertise and value as a professional.

How CVs and LinkedIn Profiles are Different

1. LinkedIn profiles should be more informal

As LinkedIn is a form of social media, where your goal is to build personal relationships with professionals, you should use a more informal writing style on the platform.

On the other hand, your CV should be more formal as you’re not attempting to forge relationships with the reader. Instead, you’re simply attempting to convey your skills, experiences and achievements in the most professional way.

2. Third person/first person

CVs and resumes are usually written in third person. There are a number of advantageous to using third person on CVs and resumes.

One of the main advantages is that it allows recruiters to focus on your capabilities as a candidate, rather than your personality. As third person is used without pronouns on CVs, it also makes the writing less repetitive.

However, you should never write your LinkedIn profile in third person.

When attempting to build relationships on LinkedIn, third person would have a very negative impact on your chances of success.

Unlike third person, first person is much more personal. It reads as if you are speaking directly to the reader. Third person would seem distant on your LinkedIn profile, as if someone else was writing about you.

For this reason, always use first person narrative on your LinkedIn profile.

3. CV and LinkedIn summaries

Both CVs and LinkedIn profiles begin with a summary. However, LinkedIn profile summaries and CV summaries should be significantly different in the way they are written and structured.

CV and resume summaries are usually referred to as professional profiles or personal statements. These summaries should be short and concise, around 50 – 100 words in length. In just a few sentences, they should convey your unique selling points and why you are the ideal candidate for the role.

LinkedIn profile summaries, on the other hand, should be longer and more detailed. LinkedIn profile summaries have a 2,000 character limit, which equates to around 320 words. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to include 2,000 characters, but you should use plenty of the available character space to sell yourself.

How to write a LinkedIn profile summary

- Start by introducing yourself. Dedicate the first two or three sentences to explaining who you are, what you do and what industry you operate in.

- Explain how you achieve positive outcomes. Include a few bullet points to make this key information stand out. Try to focus on your biggest career successes.

- Using bullet points or symbols, explain a number of key projects or tasks that you have worked on.

- Keep it informal and write as if you are speaking directly to the reader.

- Close your summary with a strong call to action. Tell the reader to get in touch with you if they would like to learn more about you.

- Make use of special characters, icons and symbols throughout your LinkedIn profile to draw attention to key areas.

How to write a CV summary

- Touch on only the most relevant information, such as what you do and how you can add value to companies.

- Focus on your key selling points and keep your summary between 50 and 100 words in length.

- Tailor your CV/resume summary to the job you are applying for.

- Use a professional, formal tone.

As you can see, there are multiple differences in the way LinkedIn profile summaries and CV/resume summaries should be prepared. Ensure you take this into account when writing your respective summaries.

4. Photos

Photos are not expected on CVs and resumes for applications in the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Australia.

However, all LinkedIn profiles should have a professional profile photo – a headshot of you on your best day.

Wear appropriate attire, the kind of attire you would wear when at work. Smile and the camera and be confident. Don’t forget to avoid unprofessional backgrounds, such as nightclubs and pubs!

5. Keyword optimisation

CVs and LinkedIn profiles should both use keyword optimisation techniques.

The reason for using keyword optimisation techniques on your CV or resume is to ensure you rank highly in ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), a type of recruitment software that HR departments use to filter and rank CVs. Optimising your CV for ATS involves inserting the most important keywords in the most appropriate areas of your CV and professionally formatting your CV.

The reason for using keyword optimisation techniques on LinkedIn is to generate more traffic to your profile. This involves implementing relevant keywords into the right sections of your profile, as well as using other optimisation techniques, which we will detail below.

Unlike CVs, which are crawled by ATS, LinkedIn profiles are crawled by search engines. As such, the techniques you use for CVs and LinkedIn profiles will differ.

Tips for optimising your LinkedIn profile for search engines

- Conduct keyword research by analysing job descriptions. Identify three or four keywords that are most important for your LinkedIn profile.

- Include important keywords in your LinkedIn profile’s headline and throughout your summary.

- Include a list of your ‘specialties’ at the end of your summary. This way, you can list all relevant skills and keywords to help rank your profile.

Tips for optimising your CV for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

- Ensure your job title is included in the early parts of your CV.

- Identify relevant keywords by studying job descriptions and the websites of companies you want to work for. Then pepper these keywords throughout your CV.

- Don’t include images, tables, graphs, special symbols. ATS can’t read these and, as such, it may not rank your CV well.

- Use consisting formatting and structure your CV in an easy-to-follow manner.

- Include the names of universities/colleges attended, previous employers, as well as details of your total years of experience. These are details that ATS look for.

6. Images, videos and interactive media

One of the key features of LinkedIn that sets the platform apart from CVs and resumes is the opportunity to upload images, videos and interactive media. This feature enables you to add another dimension to your LinkedIn profile and showcase your achievements in the most effective way.

Many people consider LinkedIn profiles to be very text-dominated. However, LinkedIn lets you insert images, videos, documents and presentations to help optimise your profile and make it more personable.

For example, construction managers could upload engaging videos that show off the projects they have delivered. Graphic designers could upload compilations of their completed work.

Another benefit of images, videos, documents and presentations is that they can be liked and commented on, which encourages engagement with your followers.

Images, videos, documents and presentations can be inserted in the summary, education or work experience section of your LinkedIn profile. The type of media you insert into these different sections will vary.

For example, when describing key projects you worked on in your work experience section, you may want to add photos that show the end result. But when detailing your education, you may want to include videos of presentations that you delivered.

Images and interactive media are a fantastic way of enhancing your LinkedIn profile and selling yourself. Unlike CVs, you have the chance to show recruiters and connections how you achieved success in a very visual form.

CVs and resumes, on the contrary, should never contain images (apart from CVs and resumes for Continental Europe, which should include a professional headshot).

7. Additional information

Some information should not be included on your CV, but can be included on your LinkedIn profile. For example, you may have some work experiences that are not relevant to include on your CV. Or you have relevant, less recent experiences that you simply don’t have space for on your CV.

Such experiences should be included on your LinkedIn profile.

Your LinkedIn profile should be accessible through a link on your CV, so recruiters can naturally progress to your LinkedIn profile where they will be able to view your less relevant experiences if they wish to do so.

The same goes for hobbies and interests.

While we don’t recommend adding hobbies and interests to your CV, they can be highly effective on the more personal LinkedIn profile.

Try to link your skills into your hobbies and interests if describing them on your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you managed a sports team, demonstrate the leadership qualities that you utilised while managing the team.

Other information that can be included on LinkedIn profiles that is often not included on CVs is specific projects. LinkedIn users can make use of a ‘Projects’ section, where they can include comprehensive details of projects they have worked on. In most cases, you wouldn’t have space on your CV to include details of every project you've participated in, but you would have on your LinkedIn profile.

Remember, when filling out your LinkedIn profile, include any additional information that you can’t include on your CV.

8. Broad appeal or tailored to a specific role

CVs should be tailored to specific jobs. This is because, when applying for jobs, you need to focus only on your key skills and experiences that are relevant to that job. If and when you apply for other roles, you should create a new version of your CV.

But LinkedIn profiles can appeal to much broader audiences. Recruiters won’t necessarily be viewing your LinkedIn profile with a view to assessing your suitability for a specific role.

Bear this mind when writing about your experiences on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t box yourself into one role. Show transferable skills that you have gained. Include keywords that are pertinent to other roles in your sphere.

This will make you an appealing candidate to more recruiters as they view your profile. It will also help you build more connections.

However, it’s important not to go too broad with your appeal. If you do, you might end up with too significant a disparity between your CV and your LinkedIn profile.

Try to find the balance between tailoring your profile and widening your appeal.

Similarities between LinkedIn profiles and CVs

Of course, while there are many differences between CVs and LinkedIn profiles, there are also a wide range of similarities. These include:

- Both have the ultimate goal of selling you to potential recruiters and employers.

- Both convey key career information.

- Both use (usually) the reverse chronological format to describe your career experiences.

LinkedIn and CV differences


There are many differences between LinkedIn profiles and CVs. They should correspond with each other and detail the value you provide as a professional, but they should not be the same. The main differences are the tone of the writing, the amount of content to be included and the type of content that should be included.

We hope this guide has been helpful in establishing the differences between CVs and LinkedIn profiles.

If you would like further assistance with your CV or LinkedIn profile, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our career specialists.

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