Contractors, don’t just copy and paste your CV straight into LinkedIn

There’s an awful lot going on at the moment, and we’re all busy – not just from constantly washing our hands, so it’s incredibly tempting to simply copy and paste your CV straight onto your LinkedIn profile, writes Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors.

But what might seem like a time-saving measure (even those 20 seconds of soap and water time are precious to the hard-pressed contractor), is actually a mistake. At the least, your quick duplicating really overlooks some fundamental differences between the two formats.

Mind your 'Is'

No, I’m not referring to the very latest health advice to beat back the Coronavirus (although not touching your eyes is in fact recommended). Rather, when writing a CV, it’s best-practice to use a style that’s known as ‘Implied First-Person.’ This is where pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘my’ are dropped i.e. the first person is implied and not explicit.

This creates a more adult, formal and professional feel to the CV. It also prevents the word ‘I’ having to be written countless times throughout the CV.

Conversely, when writing a LinkedIn profile, a less formal style of writing should be adopted and using pronouns actually helps give the online profile a more personal feel.

Short, sharp summary

A typical contractor CV will list the ‘Key Tasks’ (‘Duties and Responsibilities’ on a permanent job-seeker’s CV), from each assignment in a ‘Work/Experience’ section. This is expected by recruiters and clients. It helps them match your experience and skills with the requirements of the contract or brief.

When people have a nosy at your LinkedIn profile on the other hand (and yes contractors, ready your bent elbow or tissues for your own nose), they are not looking for the same level of detail. So you can simply provide a short, sharp summary of the role, and then quickly microscope-in on and emphasise any achievements / outcomes from that particular contract.

Inject some personality

By and large, CVs are ‘colder’ documents that focus on your professional abilities rather than your personality. Reference to being a ‘Dynamic self-starter who can work well in a team as well as on your own with great attention to detail and a passion for IT’ sounds lovely but -- in reality, it would simply provoke a ‘So What?’ response.

A CV should focus on ‘hard’ skills more than ‘soft’ skills.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a more informal channel of communication and due to its existence as a social media platform, it invites a more personality-based approach. I wouldn’t recommend overdoing it, but a mention of your professional philosophy and what you are passionate about is appropriate. So injecting (but not infecting please), a little personality is key.

Resist the 007 syndrome

As contractors become more senior and work on more high-profile or sensitive projects, it’s not uncommon for them to sign an NDA, or some sort of confidentiality agreement.

As difficult a decision as it might be, I would advise anyone to be very careful about signing an agreement that prohibits you being able to talk freely about the assignment or role on your CV.

We have worked with people in the past who have confused a modicum of confidentiality for the Official Secrets Act! They even worked themselves up into a bit of sweat (not a fever mind), coming astonishingly close to mistaking themselves for James Bond. Taking great pride in declaring that you can’t talk about a certain contract on your CV rarely sounds as impressive as you think.

In short, even a mild case of the ‘007 Syndrome’ can be extremely detrimental to securing your next contract. To reassure those feeling the symptoms, CVs are generally a confidential document anyway. But between the parties involved, most pieces of information are in play unless there has been a very clear agreement to the contrary.

By contrast, LinkedIn is a public forum. So what you write on this online public domain needs to be slightly more considered than what you might write on your CV where, say, it’s just you, an agent and a hiring manager. Often achievements and case studies might need to be watered down or condensed, with less tangible / statistical evidence of success.

Need to health-test your contractor CV?

If you would like to know about an 8-Point Plan to achieving your own World-Class Contractor CV, you can register for my upcoming Contractor UK webinar, this Thursday March 19th at 7.15pm here:

We’ll be covering the following:

1. How to define an attention grabbing go-to-market pitch
2. What’s a value proposition and why every great contractor CV should have one
3. Using ‘FAB’ statements to showcase your talents to recruiters and clients
4. Learn why a high percentage of CVs never get read by a human
5. Discover the single most effective CV strategy on the planet
6. How the pros optimise the information architecture of a CV
7. Learn the single biggest mistake contractors make on their CV
8. Why social proofing increases success by 300%

Need even more of a cure to your contractor job-searching ailments? No problem -- we'll also be explaining how to do all of the above while creating a CV that promotes your outside-IR35 status. Get my World-Class Contractor CV treatment here.

Tuesday 17th Mar 2020
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Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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