Topic 3: Discuss the ways in which an authentic online professional profile can be developed

Your personal online branding is very important. Employers will look at what groups you’re part of, the photographs you’ve been tagged in, and comments you’ve made on other people’s blogs; negative feedback you’ve left can really go against you.” – Julie Bishop [1]

The above quote does not intend to discourage anyone commenting on this blog but instead introduce the idea of a ‘personal online brand’.  You can read more here on how this differs from corporate branding.  A BBC video mentions how, increasingly, people and brands are blending together, which supports Nyman’s view that ‘nowadays you need to market yourself, not just apply for the job’.[2]  By treating our online personas like a brand, we can start developing an authentic online professional profile.

This video has 5 great tips on developing your personal brand, and marketing yourself using social media:

Marketing ourselves professionally online echoes back to the idea of managing our online presentation and reputation in Topic 2.  In terms of professionalism and employability, we have to place ourselves in our employer’s shoes. Some recruiters, like Ashley Hever, don’t believe in checking candidate’s social media, arguing it is invasive and is ‘a bit like rifling through someone’s drawers’. [3]  However, social recruiting is now considered to be the norm, and ‘55% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile with 61% of those reconsiderations being negative’.[4]

Nyman argues this can be avoided if we ‘do an audit of [our] online presence’. [5] The first step is to ‘Google’ ourselves (we’d be idiots not to, according to this article), and from here assess our online professionalism and privacy settings.  Alternatively, websites like Reppler can do all the hard work for you.

However, a personal online brand is more than just privacy settings or having a LinkedIn account.  It’s about using social media to your advantage.  By finding the right voice for your intended audience and engaging with the right people online, you can improve and develop your professional profile in a positive and authentic way. Blogging, for example, is a great way to show your passion and commitment, whether related to the industry you intend to enter, or a hobby. Being consistent is also key – with blog posts, and your ‘brand image’.  Your photo, for example, should be of a high quality and the same across social media accounts in order to increase authenticity.

This slideshare explores how to ‘brand yourself’ with a professional, ‘external’ audience in mind:

Ultimately, social media can either support your personal online brand and your professional identity, or it can hinder it. If you are managing your personal ‘branding’ on the internet correctly, and managing your privacy settings properly, in theory you have nothing to worry about when people Google your name.  You might even welcome it.

References:

[1]             Josie Gurney – Read, ‘ Students – Use This Summer for a Social Media Clean – Up’,The Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/10214359/Students-use-this-summer-for-a-social-media-clean-up.html>

[2]               Nik Nyman, ‘Using Social Media in Your Job Search, <http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/&gt;

[3]              Ashley Hever, ‘How to use Social Media to get a Graduate Job’, The Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/11359730/How-to-use-social-media-to-get-a-graduate-job.html>

[4]               Jobvite, ‘2014 Social Recruiting Survey’, <https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf&gt; ,(p. 2)

[5]               Nik Nyman, ‘Curating your online profile’, (2013) <http://www.neilsrecruitment.co.uk/2014/01/curating-your-online-profile/>

 

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5 thoughts on “Topic 3: Discuss the ways in which an authentic online professional profile can be developed

  1. Cherrie Sun says:

    Hi Sarah, I like that you have highlighted the importance of managing an online profile effectively, and mentioned that having an online profile not only can benefits one’s employability, there can be potential negative effects too.

    I totally agree with what you have suggested, about using social media as a tool for branding oneself. I was just wondering what’s your opinions on how much information should we put out there for our audiences? In other words, when attempting to build our online personal brand, what should or should not be included, and how much information or skills should we mention or demonstrate to promote ourselves. A video* on BBC news that I have came across when doing my research for this topic suggested that either putting too much or too little information is insufficient when trying to promote oneself.

    In my opinion, I think the main consideration should be our target audiences, for example, recruiters who are looking for potential employees for a certain job. I will then think of skills that are the most required for that job, after that, I will think of ways to promote those required skills, to show my future employers that I am capability of doing the job. For example, if I wanted to work as a PR, the most important skill would be to collaborate and to communicate with others effectively. So I will participate on discussion boards, establish a blog to express my opinions on topics related to communication, and to expand my social network, epically with those who are already working in that field. Do something that would display the required skills and ability, to attract my target audience. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

    *http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962

    • Sarah Kyle says:

      Hi Cherrie!

      Thanks for your comment, sorry for the delay in my response!

      Watching the BBC video is where I decided to explore the idea of a personal online brand for this blog post, and I’m glad you brought it up! In terms of employability, I think it’s important not to overload a person with information (as discussed in the BBC video) since a personal brand should make people want to meet you offline, as much as they want to maintain or create an online connection. At the same time, it’s important to have a significant online presence and not leave out any essential skills/past experience, as this may hinder your opportunities.

      I can’t personally judge what should or should not be included in terms of specific skills since the target audience is different for every individual. However, as discussed in Topic 2, digital presentation/reputation, is also really important when it comes to a personal online branding. Like corporate brands, people can get tarnish the image of their brand too (such as the infamous case of Justine Sacco!).

      Nevertheless, the internet is a great place to join online communities with shared interests, as you mentioned in your comment. I definitely agree with you that one of our main considerations should be target audience in terms of ‘attracting’ attention, and engaging with the right people.

  2. oliviahandyside says:

    Sarah,

    I really enjoyed your post and particularly liked how you started it with a quote from Julie Bishop. I think so often when people think about their online presence they only really think about Facebook but what I personally have learnt from this module so far if that there are so many other components; Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, the list goes on. A quick Google of yourself is a really simple way to see what trace you are leaving on the internet. I’d never heard of Reppler but I definitely spent a good few hours killing time linking up all my accounts and seeing what came up, luckily no screamers there!

    I think defining what should and shouldn’t be included on Social Media is a tricky one and I think really no one has a totally definitive answer, it’s still really in its infancy. We’re the first generation who started to access Social Media in our early teens and since then for most our whole lives have been documented, whether this should be a cause for concern or an extra degree of authenticity remains to be seen. But in my opinion it is dependent on so many things (what you’ve previously shared, what job sector you’re applying for, cultural norms etc) that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to what we should be sharing online.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Olivia

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