8 ways to make your online CV stand out

Pam Mills

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. But, with 97% of recruiters using LinkedIn as their main candidate sourcing tool, you simply can’t afford to ignore it completely.Even if you’re not currently job hunting, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn for sharing your expertise, making connections and developing your career. LinkedIn is the social media platform for professionals. Social media isn’t just for teenagers making YouTube videos from their bedroom.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable marketing yourself, you should still have a well-written, key word optimised LinkedIn profile. This is like a CV, but online you can make it more personal, conversational and flexible. LinkedIn now has around 470 million professional users worldwide. Despite this, most people simply copy and paste their old CV or job description into their profile and then abandon it completely. This is a massive wasted opportunity. Here are my tips for making your LinkedIn profile professional, credible and effective:


These are the words or phrases a recruiter types into LinkedIn when they are searching for candidates. Look at some job ads you’re interested in and make a list of the specific key words used. They could be job titles, skills, knowledge or expertise that a company needs. Sprinkling key words throughout your profile will make it easier for recruiters to find you. But use them in a natural, engaging style. Your profile still needs to read as though it has been written by a human for a human.


When searching, the first things recruiters, or potential clients, will see are your photo, name, headline and location – so focus on getting them right. YOUR PHOTO A photo makes your profile seven times more likely to turn up in searches. It is worth investing in a professional shot. But, at the very least, make sure you look presentable and approachable. Use a plain background and face forward so you look like you are making eye contact. Avoid anything too wacky. You can show off your new puppy, private jet or Prosecco party on Facebook or Instagram but not here.
The aim is to trigger a positive impression in a hiring manager.


Most people just automatically throw in their current job title. That’s a bit uninspiring and misses a trick. LinkedIn allows 120 characters here so use them all if you can. A powerful snapshot of your strengths, with appropriate key words, will significantly increase the odds of people clicking on your profile.


You can make this the city or region where you would like to work, rather than where you live or currently work.


LinkedIn is less formal than a CV and far more interactive, so you can be a bit creative. Your profile can reflect the tone, style and level of detail that best suits you and your audience. You can also add links to examples of your work. You have up to 2,000 characters for your summary section. Use them wisely to tell a key word optimised story that captures your personality. Short sentences, paragraphs and bullet points all help to make your profile easy to read and more engaging.


The more connections you have, the higher your LinkedIn ranking. That makes it easier for recruiters to find you. Start by re-establishing contact with former colleagues and university friends – you never know where these contacts may lead. Sign up to career groups that are industry and region specific. Recruiters establish groups so that they have their own captive audience of industry-relevant individuals. These sector-specific groups bursting with job seekers tend to be where they will post new vacancies first so this is a great way to hear about the best jobs. Not only that, but when you join one of these groups, recruiters will immediately become aware of you and check out your profile. Social media is all about engagement; so, connect with the most relevant professional interest groups and join in the discussions. But remember, it’s not all about you. You can show your interest in a particular sector by liking, sharing and commenting on other members’ updates. When you share articles by or about people and their companies, make sure to tag them in your post. You can do this on LinkedIn as you would on Facebook or Twitter, by using the ‘@’ symbol before their name. This encourages people to share your posts, which will increase your profile views and help position you as an ‘expert’. Try to make polite, insightful comments and share relevant content. That will help you connect with like-minded people, improve your knowledge and hear about the best jobs.


Do your research and keep your writing relevant to your audience. And don’t forget to proof read carefully. It normally takes us at least eight to 10 hours to develop a polished, professional CV or LinkedIn profile for a client and we do it all the time, so allow yourself plenty of time too.


LinkedIn, when used well, should be more than a boring list of job titles. It is the perfect opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise. By including your voluntary work, interests or boards you sit on, you will also give potential employers, clients and business partners a real sense of your personality.

Visit Victoria Mclean’s website here.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter