LinkedIn profile vs. the CV: Face off…

There has been quite a lot of argy bargy in the recruitment space recently following the launch of the ‘Apply with LinkedIn’ button, hot on the heels of their IPO announcement. A large amount of the debate is centred around the impact of the tool and, given LinkedIn’s ever extending reach into resourcing, whether it will replace/kill off the CV.

Regular readers of this blog will know that over the years I’ve definitely fallen out of love with the CV. Given the advancements in technology you would have thought we would have come up with a better way of presenting ourselves. Which I guess is where those that sit on the pro LinkedIn side of the fence are right now – This IS the CV replacement we have all been waiting for. And I have to say, I do find that appealing. Personally I’ve become very attached to my LinkedIn profile simply because it pretty much sums me up, is easy to update and I know where it is – no digging round in folders and comparing ‘last updated’ dates etc etc. Also, my LinkedIn profile points to all the other bits that reflect who I am including this blog and my twitter stream.

However, those that sit on the other side of the fence in the defence of the CV, including Steve Ward from Cloud Nine Recruitment make a valid point about how largely unflexible the LinkedIn profile is. What if, as often happens, I want to re position my experience in a certain way to highlight a certain skill set, relevant to that great job im up for? Indeed, some people maintain multiple CV’s for this very purpose.

Anyway, the whole debate got me thinking about the LinkedIn profile and how it actually does compare. Now, one of the benefits of doing what I’m doing now is that I frequently get asked to look at technology, specifically new recruitment and assessment technology. One such piece of tech that came across my path recently is www.CVScore.co.uk from the new career management solutions company Workpepper. The concept is simple but quite clever – take the requirements of several thousand seasoned corporate recruiters and distill down what they look for in a good CV. Pop that into an alogorhythm and hey presto – a CV grading device. Makes you wonder why no one ever did that before doesn’t it?!

To those of you well versed in recruitment tech this wont be new to you as it is licensed in the UK from RezScore.com in the US. However, seeing the pre launch UK version got me thinking – how would my Linkedin profile compare to my CV? So without further ado, I gave it a spin. First up, my CV. Recently updated in January of this year, results were mildly pleasing – a relatively pleasing B+! See Below:

“Your CV is Good” it stated, although at 2 pages I was still advised that “Your CV is too long”! To understand exactly what the scores mean and to get a report on how to improve your ‘grade’ you need to invest 9.95 or more, depending on how much help you want in making it hit the spot.

Next up, my LinkedIn profile. To do the comparison I simply went to my LinkedIn page, clicked on ‘view Profile’ and chose the download as PDF option. It was this PDF that I then uploaded to CVScore. The result? Drum roll please….

Oh… A resounding “Could do better” in the form of a C-. I was also advised that “Your CV could benefit from a more professional tone”. Hmm, not good given its my profile from THE professional networking site.

So where does that leave us? Clearly, even though I like the LinkedIn profile, I have some work to do! And as for hitting the spot with hiring managers, according to CVScore, my CV is currently the medium of choice if I’m to get that coveted interview.

Having said that, I’m sure it’s not going to be long before LinkedIn work out a way of allowing us to have multiple, ‘tweaked’ profiles that we can chose to rotate as necessary. And I’m pretty sure they will charge a tidy premium for it too. Attn Ariel Eckstein – if you are not currently planning for this feature, see me after class ;)

Im off to download a few of the usual suspects LinkedIn profiles and run them through the system before they get a chance to change them. Watch this space – I might just publish the grade league table…

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20 thoughts on “LinkedIn profile vs. the CV: Face off…

  1. Great post that has really taught me something! With years in HR sifting through CVs and now coaching people on how to make theirs stand out authentically, I will be keeping a close eye on your posts Gareth. Keep experimenting and sharing! Big thanks, Alison

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    • Thank You Alison! It’s an interesting tool for sure – and i have tested it on before and after CV’s not just to see how LinkedIn fairs! Thanks for the positive comments and pleased you got something from it!

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  2. Nice spot Gareth.

    A good example of social media and tradition (CV) going head to head. The results don’t surprise me, as many LinkedIn profiles are written differently from a traditional CV, trying to appeal to SEO from both inside and outside of LinkedIn. And because it is ‘social’ people use a different style to share their career information accordingly.

    This one looks it has some great potential – but the old caveat still applies – having an A+ graded CV doesn’t necessarily make you a great candidate, it just means you have a better chance of an interview!! :-)

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    • Yes, there are a lot of innate differences as you well point out Andy. People with large numbers of recommendations are not going to fair well here as an example. But it provoked a few thoughts in my head for sure about the proposals.

      Also, re SEO on linkedin profiles, im constantly reminding people that their CV rarely hits the recruiter as a direct application these days due to the volumes. Many are parsed by technology first, and then only appear against searches so its important think about richness of key words as much as it is that lovely cuddly personal profile they have at the top!

      And yes, i guess we all know a few A grade students we wouldn’t touch with a barge pole ;)

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    • Hi Gareth! Great name that btw ;) To be honest I have not spent a long time looking at the algorithms as yet, but I have run a few tests on before and after CV’s and the results look pretty good. I intend to dig a little deeper obviously. your point that people look for different things is well made. From what i understand, a study was made amongst hiring managers/recruiters about what they like to see/makes a good CV/gets attention/shouldn’t do’s etc which to my knowledge is the first time this has been done, but i might be wrong.

      Certainly, the CV writing market is very fragmented and based largely on individual opinions and templates, rather than something a little more robust like this. Certainly, the cost of having your CV reviewed and re crafted is astonishingly expensive from independents and it made me think to recommend to people i know who use those services to ask about the credibility of their proposals comes from.

      Ive certainly had good fun putting other peoples LinkedIn profiles through it though ;)

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  3. We’ve just deployed this function (the “Apply with LinkedIn” button) over at yell.jobs and think we’re the first UK based ATS to do so (but I’m not here pitching – so no name, no pack drill) and I do believe it’s an exciting development – not least because it opens up applications from mobiles (where, of course, you can’t attach a CV and nor is it the platform to wade through an 8page application form (if any is!)).

    It’s early days for this facility but currently it has (disappointingly) limited functionality, but I can’t imagine that improving the API would be such a stretch for them (although it may be for other ATS vendors to get their solutions to interface with of course) – certainly we’re looking at ways we can improve the end result for clients through playing with what we can.

    I personally don’t believe that any one platform is ever going to have such a wide and deep reach that it will kill off all other comers. And the more homogenised something becomes, no matter how much “easier” it makes your lives, the more we naturally rally against it and seek out that which makes us/others different. If you’re recruiting a real person do you really want to read a CV that’s been algorythmically fine tuned within an inch of its being – or are you looking for the personality, the differentiators, the je ne sais quoi?

    So plenty of people will continue doing clever things with technology because they can, and people like us will work hard to integrate with or copy the functionality with varying degrees of success, but I’ve always believed presentation of a CV can probably tell me as much as the version of their career truth within. Or perhaps I’m just an old skool, slightly cynical, real-people person.

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    • Hi Alex – feel free to pitch! Im all for celebrating success so dont be embarrassed about it – sounds like interesting times which is good and we need pioneers like you.

      I agree totally with your analysis. It’s very early days and sometimes its hard to get something new out there and proven because of the early critics! @Clarewhitmell posted this interesting link about a company that has removed the button because of the amount of missing data from the profiles – http://ow.ly/6marH

      I think that over time, assuming it does start to penetrate the market as an application medium, it will give a momentum push to people to make sure their profile is up to date. At the moment there is no incentive as the CV rules and LI profiles are largely used just to check people out. It doesnt matter if mine is incomplete if I have given the company my CV.

      I think that CVScore is simply addressing a very fragmented market in the CV review sector. Ive tested a lot of the CV review services, from the one mand band independents to those from the likes of the Ladders and Workthing and the results from CV score seem, on initial review to be at least comparable, at a much lower price point. Clearly there are no panaceas as you say.

      Old skool? You? ;)

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  4. It is wonderful to be justified by an automated algorithmic tool!! :) haha

    I guess the best grade comes from a CV matching the way information is entered into the system.

    I’m all for the development of the traditional CV, so long as it is genuinely a creative improvement and content remains structured and easy to decipher. LinkedIn is not that. It’s clunky and impersonal. If anything, it represents the worst of conformed CV templates from bad recruiters.

    I think I get the point across a little bit in the Livestream link on Future Jobseekers with Jorgen Sundberg at #truLondon – http://livestre.am/10SFQ (this is part 3)

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    • lol Nirvana Steve! The system compares the CV with the results of research from a study made amongst hiring managers/recruiters about what they like to see/makes a good CV/gets attention/shouldn’t do’s etc. This is then compared with the CV.

      Certainly, initial trials with the apply now button have not worked for all – see the link in my response to Alex. long way to go. And thought you looked great on camera. Step away from the pies tho’… ;)

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      • Oi… that fine figure took hours of commitment to beer drinking to achieve!

        Yep – it’s early days for `apply now` – but the format needs to be much better. I just don’t see it as the future – only a remnant of the past.

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    • lol that made me laugh out loud. It’s compelling isn’t it -you just cant resist having a go! And as for a C-, wait until you see some of grades for the profiles i passed through it – more on my next blog! Thanks for the comment Gareth.

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  6. Great post Gareth. There seems to be a growing theme of automation vs individually customised documents. I commented last month that I was concerned that we are becoming too homogenised in our approach to CV’s – there is a standard format that is expected (partially due to systems such as Taleo having to have data in a particular format). However, even a standard format allows some choice as to the content. There is merit in being able to draft something that highlights why an individual is the ideal candidate for a particular role, whereas the LinkedIn profile is more generic. In my opinion, both CV’s and LinkedIn have roles to play, but they are not necessarily the same.

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    • Hi Kate. Yes, good points. I think ultimately what i see is the emergence of ‘supporting’ documentation or formats that help create a wider view of who and what you are. none of these alternative formats, however, are really yet acceptable as a means of application – the CV holds supreme here. And yes, standardisation seems to be a common theme.

      I guess we are moving into an era where more and more of us are creating a ‘portfolio’ to showcase who we are. It used to be that only people in certain creative niches did this – photographers, models, creatives etc. Now, with tools becoming more user friendly (and free) we can all start to expand our ‘footprint’ by creating profiles and other things like career ‘infographics’.

      LinkedIn badly want their profile to be the defacto application format whereas actually, i think it sits firmly in the ‘extra portfolio’ section. At least for now!

      Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Great experiment Gareth – CV vs LinkedIn death match is what we’ve long wanted to see!

    Logic defeats sentiment every time in my book; LinkedIn profiles are demonstrably superior to traditional CV’s in every relevant measure of data quality – currency, accuracy, validity. It’s not worth debating because the argument has been won.

    Steve’s defense of the CV is actually one of the biggest problems with it – the non standard presentation data compromises the ability of the reviewer – man or machine – from processing the information efficiently, leading to the massive problems in the movement of labour that require an ‘industry’ to solve them in the first place. Get rid of CV’s (I’d straight out ban them), establish a standard online digital identity and we’d all get jobs more quickly. Apart from recruiters, ATS vendors and the like who would, of course, lose theirs.

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    • lol, a provocative stance as ever! Interesting view though. Standardisation can indeed increase efficiency and effectiveness – we’ve seen it happen in all other areas of business. Except recruitment. Why is that? Hmm good question. Possibly too many vested interests as you mention and the fact that as humans, we just hate to be ‘standardised’. Or prevented from bending the truth, depending on which way you look at it. ;)

      I come back to the point we have both discussed in blogs – response management. Had we not built an industry around eliciting a response, we might not have created the heroin like dependency on the CV.

      Thanks for commenting.

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