In my career coaching conversations and career workshops people regularly ask how you can write your CV in such a way that it will be picked from a big pile of applicants. Let’s take a closer look at that.

There are many ways to write your CV as a convincing document. In this article I am keen to focus on your LinkedIn profile, which is increasingly replacing the traditional CV. Before you have had a moment to adapt your CV to the next job application, a recruiter may have already scanned through your details on LinkedIn.

I think the great aspect of your LinkedIn profile in comparison with a standard CV is that it can constantly work 24/7 for you. LinkedIn is a big database filled with professionals that is increasingly being used by recruiters and other searchers. Imagine that you’re being found by your future employer while you enjoy an extra hour of sleep!

Let’s look at ways of sharpening your LinkedIn profile.

What are you looking for and who can support you finding it?
Before you start cracking with creating your LinkedIn profile it is important to have a plan. What is your goal and who can support you in achieving it?

These are essential questions and yet answering them can be challenging. If you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for, then start by describing it. For instance ‘I am looking for a job in which I can bring new products to market.’

Who can help you in your search? Are these HR people, former study friends or colleagues, or do you see the need to expand your network into another direction? Answer this question for yourself so you can tailor your profile in such a way that it becomes attractive to your potential network.

Another option is to meet with a specialised career coach who can support you in identifying your goals and setting up a plan of action.

Bring focus into your profile
To start off I would like to clear up a misconception: your LinkedIn profile should give a focused and relevant picture of your experiences. This does not mean that you need to mention everything you’ve ever done! It speaks for itself, yet I have seen many profiles and CVs full of non relevant information.

It’s good to keep in mind that a recruiter or other searcher will spend less than half a minute scanning your profile. So keep it to the point.

With everything you’re writing down you can ask yourself: ‘why is this relevant for my buyer (potential employer or client) to know?’ If it is relevant make clear why this is the case. And if you cannot answer the questions, then leave it out.

Give a glimpse of what you offer
A LinkedIn profile, as opposed to a traditional CV, is about what you can offer rather than what you have done. I find this one of the main advantages. After all you are much more than just a list of job titles and experiences. There are many ways to share your offer with others.

Just start off by filling out your summary at the top of your profile. This is the perfect place to give a glimpse of what your buyer can expect once he or she starts working with you. To fill out this summary it is important to have a good insight into your added value.

Your next step is to choose a catchy headline – this is the tag line next to your name. On top of this there are lots of other fields to fill in such as your specialties and skills.

LinkedIn offers the ideal place to unite all your professional online presence. In order to do this all sorts of widgets are available, for instance to share your blog articles. Or why not upload a presentation via slideshare which illustrates your knowledge and expertise? Just have a go and experiment!

Ask for recommendations
For a down to earth person it can feel a somewhat ‘over the top’ to ask recommendations from others. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly invite you to start doing this! It makes your profile much more convincing if your offer is being supported by the opinion of others who have worked with you. LinkedIn profiles which include recommendations can be more easily found. So just get the ball rolling with asking people to endorse you.

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