Contractors’ Questions: Was I wrong to post my updated CV on LinkedIn?

Contractor’s Question: I updated my CV on LinkedIn, irritating my employer partly, I suspect, as they know I’d like to freelance. All I said in the post is ‘Here’s my new CV; hope it’s of interest.’ I meant ‘of interest’ generally but my manager is mad and says it’s a pitch for work, even though my CV has always been on LinkedIn anyway. Now I really do want to quit! Who’s in the wrong here?

Expert’s Answer: This is an interesting scenario and we need to start with an old-adage to unpack it. And that is, ‘Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right.’ So on the one hand, I can see why your manager might be concerned – after all, no one is going to be thrilled that one of their team is looking for a new opportunity, or at least looking like they’re looking for a new opportunity! On the other hand, I’m not sure that your manager is skilled enough to deal with the situation – going “mad” seems to have only pushed you further towards the door!

Generally-speaking, there are some differences between permies and contractors in what is considered best-practice LinkedIn usage. If you are in a permanent position, the conventional wisdom is to keep your LinkedIn profile somewhat benign, as any inkling that you are ‘on the market’ is likely to raise eyebrows. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a profile that talks about your talents and abilities, but posting an updated CV with a note saying, ‘I hope you are interested’ or similar, probably crosses the undrawn ‘line in the sand’.

Whereas if you were to venture into the contract market, or were already a fully-fledged freelancer, then it is a very different scenario. You would be a freelance ‘gun for hire’ and therefore LinkedIn becomes a showcase of you and your business’ services and abilities.

So adding your CV to LinkedIn if you do make the tempting jump into contracting would be perfectly acceptable, but you would need to avoid posting a typical permie-style CV. Instead, compose, format, layout and polish the document so it becomes one that promotes your status as a ‘true business.’ This will not only impress clients who invariably want a professional, but it will also help avoid any unnecessary run ins with HMRC, which tries to use IR35 to prove freelancers aren’t really in business of their own account; are akin to employees and so owe employment taxes. To avoid this taxing fate, make sure you avoid some of the typical faux pas on your CV and LinkedIn profile, such as having a non-business-looking email address, and describing your experience as an ‘Employment History.’ These are real no-nos for professional contractors. At all times remember; your contractor CV needs to be more of a sales document, rather than a simple list of tasks performed in a variety of roles.

On a positive note, while your proactive approach to selling yourself might not work for you while in a permanent job, it is exactly the right mindset if you were to venture into the world of contracting. Making that shift in mindset – and perhaps you’ve already done it given the contractor spirit you’ve already demonstrated -- and embracing personal branding, business development, marketing, networking and thought-leadership will all contribute to your success. And all of these business areas vital to succeeding as a contractor will be covered in a webinar I outline – and which we will be hosting next week -- below.

The expert was Matt Craven, managing director of The CV & Interview Advisors.

ContractorUK has partnered with the UK's leading authority on contractor CVs to provide a FREE review of your CV and LinkedIn profile. Contact The CV & Interview Advisors and one of their team will get back to you to discuss if your CV and LinkedIn profile matches up with industry best practice.

Wednesday 14th Aug 2019
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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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