#UOSM2008 Topic 3: Building your Online Professional Profile

Discuss the ways in which an authentic online professional profile can be developed

In an ever digitising present the world of employment is quickly moving online. The issue for a budding prospect at University is the rest of existence is following suit with socialising, shopping and entertainment transferring to the net. As a result, dissecting one’s personal and professional profile is no longer the case of changing from jeans into a suit. Instead, the two spheres are linked by twitter handles and Facebook pages, an issue which brings opportunity both for failure and success.

Building a successful online profile is comparable to playing cards with potential employers: although it’s important to play your aces, there are some jokers you’d much rather keep close to your chest. The latter here translates to ensuring potentially off-putting photos, posts and videos are out of reach of future bosses. Even for the non-‘tech savvy’ employers of the world, Googling potential prospects is an immediate way of delving into the person behind a paper CV with a survey by Jobvite in 2010 finding that 92% of companies who were actively hiring in the next year planned to use social media in their employee search (http://davidhallsocialmedia.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jobvite-2010-social-recruiting-report_2.pdf).  4 years on this number will be higher, while equally social media’s influence has grown and intruded more significantly. Hence, keeping potentially embarrassing items off the net entirely or at very least behind the safety of privacy settings is crucial for an online professional profile.

With the jokers taken care of, it’s now a case of laying your best cards down and presenting yourself in the best possible light. This translates to dynamic and consistent activity on the net to build a representative picture of what is unique and appealing about the candidate. The internet provides a wealth of opportunity on how best to go about this, but for me personally blogging and microblogging provide the best opportunities. The power of twitter is in its concise limitations of 140 characters where a person’s understanding and opinion all have to come across in a small package. Seeing posts relating to the profession indicate both a genuine interest and a sense of engagement with the sector outside of just one company. Employers will need no more than 5 minutes to consume an individual’s last 30 tweets, and in this they could be convinced one way or another. As for blogging (and indeed vlogging for those who are apt in the practice of new media), having a portfolio of interesting and entertaining work in the shape of a blog will create a single location to direct employers who want a full impression. Cover letters aside, there is little opportunity on a CV to shine outside of empirical achievement. Hence the blog can be seen as the heart of an online professional, giving a face to grades and pass achievements.

As for the CV, when discussing online employment there is one website which is universally utilised as the hub of the jobs market: LinkedIn. Put simply, LinkedIn should serve as both the administration of a professional online profile (i.e. contact details, education details etc.) and as a hub for the rest of it by providing links to twitter, blogs and any other online asset.  The best LinkedIn pages are accurate, precise and to the point to give a fast first impression to potential employers. From here, those who are interested can be navigated away from LinkedIn to get a full impression of their respective candidate. Hence maintaining all aspects of an online professional profile to a high standard is crucial to creating the overall impression which is intended, with each playing a specific role in the process of becoming noticed and employed.

Finally, on the idea of making a profile authentic, being truthful and original in thought are the two key aspects. The latter should be especially true while blogging and tweeting with issues of plagiarism potentially being lethal to an individual’s chances of success. Outside of being fraudulent, passing off someone elses work for your own is immoral and the sort of practise which undermines the whole point of an online profile: identity. To a degree, this also means going beyond tweeting every relevant article with a bland comment on the piece being good. Authenticity stems from original thought and as I’ve detailed there should be plenty of this as a part of a strong online profile.



Wall Street Journal article on Twitter’s role in employment: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323820304578412741852687994?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887323820304578412741852687994.html

A blog by David Hall on managing your online reputation: http://davidhallsocialmedia.com/2011/02/02/reputationmanagement/


Additional Resources

Individuals who may never get a job again thanks to racist Obama orientated tweets: http://jezebel.com/5958993/racist-teens-forced-to-answer-for-tweets-about-the-nigger-president

A voluntary weekly article at PWTorch I got through having a strong online profile: http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/The_Specialists_34/article_76807.shtml#.Ux1wofl_vuU


11 thoughts on “#UOSM2008 Topic 3: Building your Online Professional Profile

  1. Hi! I really enjoyed reading your post on this topic, and found the link you posted regarding employers using social media really helpful to demonstrate just how widely used it is! As you say, privacy settings are vital to control the dignity and employability of many of us – a comment I noticed within this article in The Guardian states that Mark Zuckerberg apparently claimed a few years ago that ‘privacy is over’ surprised me greatly; I think his more recent retraction of that comment shows just how rapidly the online world is changing. (Article here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/09/privacy-concerns-google-streetview-facebook-drones)

    Although I agree that Twitter is beneficial in its concise, short-but-sweet nature, arguably this also makes it more difficult to ‘brand’ yourself effectively and interact successfully with companies if you have much more to say! However, as you say, it could never be a bad thing to be able to engage with multiple organisations so easily on the same social platform.

    • I think of all the people to proclaim that privacy is over, Zuckerberg certainly presents an authoritative perspective. Having said that it doesn’t reflect very well on Facebook that has come under such extensive media pressure to tighten up its security and protect people from those who they dont want seeing their profile.

      Also I’d agree with you that creating a brand on Twitter can be tricky, I’d argue that your last 10 tweets should be a fairly accurate presentation of yourself and some sort of brand. Then again for me that would my brand is equal to some bands I like and an argument about battle rap which either makes me wrong about Twitter, or bad at following my own advice. Sigh. Oh well, thankyou very much for your comment 🙂

  2. Hello George,

    Good post, especially the allegory at the beginning – comparing presenting self with cards.

    Great description of the current situation on the current labor market. The only thing I thought you could have explained more is the last bit, where you discuss authentic profiles – are there any ways to protect authenticity or prove it? Does it have a direct impact on employability?

    Anyway, that was an interesting text and interesting articles you’ve chosen.

    Best Wishes,

    • Yeah, good point indeed. I think I should have discussed more linking with professional profiles online and hence being given credibility through their reputations and community. A very good point, that with a couple of hundred of words extra would have improved my blog. Thanks for the advice 🙂

  3. I love the way you have written this particular blog post George! It is extremely readable and relatable!

    I want to understand more about your views on blogging as being used to create part of an authentic online professional profile. Although I totally agree with blogs being able to give more of an insight of the ‘whole’ individual if employers and recruiters want a bigger picture of the individual, but do you think employers will take the time to read through our blogs? Especially graduate level jobs, where they have thousands of applications.

    Here’s an interesting ‘How Do I?’ article (http://www.bandwidthonline.org/howdoi/social_media.asp). Check out the one which talks about Blogs. Not only is it important to have a portfolio of interesting and entertaining work on blogs, but also to use blogs to comment and express views on other blogs in the industry of interest.

    • This is a very, very good point and one that I hadn’t really considered enough. I think that I perhaps approached the question too narrowly and was considering one of two circumstances. I was firstly considering a situation where applicants go after a job and then their potential employer does some google searching to discover more about them. Secondly I was considering more the sort of really specific, few candidate drawing kind of job and you’re absolutely right that blogging is too time consuming outside of these parameters.

      In that situation, LinkedIn really serves a bigger purpose than I’ve given it credit for here so thank you very much for your comment.

  4. Hi George,
    Another great post. I completely agree with your emphasis on honesty forming the cornerstone of an authentic profile, however, before reading your post I hadn’t previously considered originality as a mark of authenticity. After reading your post I am inclined to agree with you that being original does play an important role in producing an authentic professional online identity, in terms that simply reproducing a formulaic CV or re-tweeting everything that something else posts as your own and passing it off and your own work, originality is key but it could be argued that both these cases originality is an example of integrity. There are notable examples of the use originality as a way to stand out to employers such as Adam Pacitti, use of a billboard and website (http://www.theguardian.com/money/shortcuts/2013/jan/07/do-job-hunting-stunts-work) and The Twitter Job Hustle campaign by Bas van de Poel and Daan van Dam (http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/the-twitter-job-hustle-experiment/). However, the problem with originality is that it often becomes difficult to think of things which haven’t been done before. Do you think there is a risk that in an attempt to be original we will see more and more people attempt less than professional gimmicks which end up being extremely detrimental to their integrity as viewed by employers.
    I do feel you missed a key aspect of building an authentic professional online profile which is engagement with your area of interest and companies in the field. Brad Schepp, the co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ strongly recommends that you ‘Follow’ individuals companies on LinkedIn and Twitter and “Like” companies on Facebook. In this way you will be automatically notified about job opportunities and developments in the industry and new hires. He goes on to recommend you join the conversation about industry trends as this is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and value to employers. There is some really great advice available here http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2013/07/19/engage-employers-through-social-media-7-great-tips/

    • Hey there Francesca 🙂
      Thank you very much for such a detailed response 🙂 The idea of originality serving as authenticity is definitely a philosophical one but one as a politics student I really subscribe to. Even trying to write in an original way through word choice and sentence structure are important to me as it adds to my personal brand especially on Twitter.
      I’d also say that the jobs market will, through the power of supply and demand, cut out anything which is too gimmicky and unprofessional. The point when something becomes unprofessional is when it stops people getting jobs, and at that point they’ll have to change it up to get employed. Plus what may be gimmicky to some could well be another’s perfect candidate, a point which increasingly important to my own career plans!
      Finally I completely agree that engaging in the industry is a very important asset for an online professional profile and I should have explicitly included this with the idea of twitter and blogging being the best ways of engaging with this.aspect. I will add that I’ve had some success with this myself, getting a voluntary position as a data reviewer for EA Sports 🙂
      Thank you very much for taking the time 🙂

  5. Pingback: UOSM2008 Reflective Summary -Topic 3 | Samantha Eslinger

  6. Pingback: #UOSM2008 Topic 3 Summary: Authentic Online Professional Profile | Yee-Ping

  7. Pingback: Summary for Topic 3 #UOSM2008 | FrancescaGerard

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