Your LinkedIn profile is not your CV (pt.1)

22 January 2021
Find out all the secrets of how to best curate your presence on LinkedIn

Resource created by Anna Giannalia - Digital & Content Strategist

When I opened my LinkedIn profile, I didn't think I would actually use it. I created it right after my bachelor's degree, to find a part time job before my master's degree. Then I got to the university in Turin and a professor of the master's degree said that I would only communicate on the LinkedIn group. The most repeated phrase was "but what is LinkedIn?", followed by, "what does LinkedIn have to do with anything?!". 

It was there that I realized that LinkedIn wasn't just a virtual CV.

I know that's the first impression. You have to put in your personal information, your educational and work experience, your skills, your hobbies...but I assure you, it's not a CV.

Thinking that LinkedIn is just that is like thinking that Instagram is just a photo album, and Facebook a collection of gossip, Twitter at that point becomes an evolution of a town square and Pinterest a fashion magazine. And that's not what they are!

I admit it. I didn't realize it until after I responded to the first post and received the first requests to connect. I figured it out after posting the first article and receiving messages from people interested in the product I was trying to sell. I figured it out when I started networking and realized that connections weren't just a number, but people who can actually help you. I realized it when I started having an active profile and people started asking me for advice.

That's when love was born. My LinkedIn profile is not my CV, it's ME. It has my information, my experiences, my skills, my interests, my thoughts, my words.

LinkedIn is not my CV, it's my presentation. Every post, every article, every comment, shows others a part of yourself. It gives the world an image of you. It' s your landing page.


If you Google my name you can find a picture of me at 12 years old advertising the town calendar, my articles about Juventus and the death of my namesake in 1829 (I swear, it's all true). We are in the 4.0 era, where everything is online. Do you really think you can present yourself to the world with an A4 resume?

That's the purpose of this guide. To understand how to build an effective LinkedIn profile that can present yourself. It doesn't matter if your goal is to find a new investor, sell your product or look for a new employee, the important thing is to do it with a well-made profile.

A picture is worth more than a thousand words

Do you know what brings people to visit your profile? It's so simple that you've probably never even thought about it. It's so obvious that it seems absurd to even mention.

Your profile is opened after seeing your profile picture! Essentially for two simple reasons:

  1. the photo is so absurd that it leads the visitor to want to see it up close;
  2. the photo inspires the right confidence in the visitor and pushes him or her to open your profile.

Some time ago a friend of mine wrote to me that he had sent out a hundred applications with LinkedIn and had never received a response and I was really surprised. I know how many great experiences he's had, he has the perfect background for his industry, and he just moved to one of the cities where demand exceeds supply. Then I saw his profile picture.

He looked like he was sentenced to death. Blank face on a white background. He didn't inspire any confidence even in me who' s known him for years.

Browsing through the 'Network' section, looking at the profiles in 'Recommended for you' I saw everything. Obviously privacy prevents me from showing concrete examples of photos to avoid, but we can still work on it.

So here are the top 5 photos to avoid

  1. The one from decades ago: the "old days" let's leave them to history.
  2. The one in a bathing suit: thought I was on the wrong social, but no, it was really LinkedIn. And no, it's not good even if your job is modeling or promoting.
  3. The hidden face: how does a photo where we can' t even see your face help?
  4. Inexpressive faces or faces with negative expressions: remember when I mentioned the importance of confidence?
  5. Photos with other people: it doesn't matter if the second person in question is Steve Jobs, it has to be just you in the photo.

You don't need a professional photographer to capture a good photo, nor do you need to sit there and think about it.

What features should a good profile photo have then?

  • The face must be frontal, or at least not sideways, well visible;
  • it must be well lit: I'm not saying that even the birthmark on your forehead must be visible, but at least show all your facial features;
  • smile, you are not signing a death sentence, you just want to be recognizable;
  • not too close nor too far away, I need to be able to see your face, not count the freckles;
  • most important: the photo must be public. Why hide it? Unless you're under protection or your goal is to not be bothered by crazed fans, you need to give people a way to figure out who saw their profile or who sent them a request.

Not having a photo is equivalent to not inspiring trust. And in a social, trust is critical.

Multilingual LinkedIn profile: is it really useful?

How useful is a second language on LinkedIn? The answer is simple: it depends.

It depends on the context in which you use it, what is your purpose, what is your target audience. Of course, if you work in an international environment or if your goal is that, then the profile in English (if you’re not a native speaker) is really necessary.

STOP! Don't go and revolutionize your profile. Finish reading first!

English is now essential, but your native language is even more so. Okay, being international opens doors, but if more than 50% of your network is Italian, you don't need to write and publish in English. Most likely you'll just end up looking like someone who's showing off.

Just a few days ago I saw a post on LinkedIn that left me puzzled. My connection had shared a post from the Italian page of a famous international company, where he was showing images in Italian, and he commented in English, making grammatical mistakes. Why? Using English is not essential, it can be useful in certain contexts, but it doesn't have to be necessarily in your profile!

A multilangual profile can be useful if you are looking for a job abroad, or if you have frequent contacts with foreign people, but this does not mean that your posts must be addressed to them. Therein lies the fundamental difference. Having your profile in a second language can be useful. Writing in it doesn't have to be, especially if your audience is mainly Italian. Before I’ve talked about English because it's the most used language in the business world, but of course the same goes for French, Spanish, German…

I know an Italian guy who works for a British startup that produces smart buildings in Brazil. His profile is in Italian because that's his native language, in English because he lives in the UK, and in Portuguese because the startup targets that audience and he felt it necessary to inspire the right trust in that part of the world as well. 

But then, how to do this multilingual profile? Simple, with the option "Profile in another language".

How to do it

Go to the profile page. In the upper right corner you will find the words "Add your profile in another language".

This feature allows you to create different versions of your profile in different languages: you can use several languages, but of course you can only create one version per language.

Choose the language you want to use among the 45 languages proposed! Enter your first and last name and a short summary that represents you, and you're done.

From now on, every time you make a change to your profile, LinkedIn will ask you to update the second language of the profile.

In the edit tab, in fact, you'll find the "English" tab to update the profile in this second language as well, and you'll find other tabs corresponding to the other languages you added.

In case you forget to update the profile in the other languages, LinkedIn will remind you with a popup alert.

Just select "No thanks" and translate the new information and you're done! So what are you waiting for?


Anna Giannalia
Digital & Content Strategist

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