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Your Online Professional Profile

August 27, 2018 by Susan Surgener

Your Online Professional Profile

Dr Julia Richardson is the Deputy Head of the School of Management and Associate Professor of Human Resources Management. She is a dynamic individual who has not only worked in academia around the world, but has also worked in the private sector. She is particularly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about organisational behaviour and career development. 

A/P Richardson hosted the ‘Taking charge of your online professional profile’ event held on Friday 24 August as part of our Careers For Tomorrow Festival 2018.

If you attended this workshop, you’ll already know that this wasn’t a ‘how to’ guide on creating a successful LinkedIn profile. The workshop focused on managing your existing social networking presence, and learning how to handle your content with a particular audience in mind – namely, potential employers.

“Technological advancements, globalisation of professional networks and the growth of the knowledge-based economy has increased the need for individuals to take charge of their online professional profile.”

While catching up with friends on Facebook, sharing stories, memes and pics, can be a lot of fun, looking after your social networking profile – with employment in mind – takes quite a bit of work. Remember that in this digital world, you’re in the public domain.

You might be thinking that it’s getting way too hard to be private these days, and that the best way forward is to just not subscribe to anything. But rest assured, you’re out there somewhere in the digital landscape, so it’s better to manage your own online presence  than let others paint the wrong picture of who you really are.

Take control
There are ways to manage your online presence so that you are in control of who sees what.

  1. Think about your audience
    Yes, you do actually have an audience. We all have someone in mind, even when we post general comments on Facebook. But don’t forget to think about your ‘hidden audience’– all those other followers who might misinterpret the meaning of in-jokes aimed at your close circle of friends or colleagues.
  2. Start managing your content
    Make a note of all of the social media networking platforms that you are subscribed to. What was your purpose for joining the site in the first place? Which ones do you use more regularly? If you are not using sites, unregister or delete your account rather than letting them stagnate or gather unwanted additions.
  3. Separate it out
    Some people might decide to manage their content on split levels e.g. guarding Facebook and Instagram for friends only, and LinkedIn for professional working life contacts. Others will maintain totally separate identities across different social media channels, though it can take a lot of work to manage this successfully. Remember that you can’t always control what others are going to post about you or tag you in.
  4. Think before you post
    Who are your posts and pics going to? Even with a friends-only site, employers can probably still find you easily on Facebook, so you still need to keep it clean. The obvious things that recruiters look out for is drug and alcohol use, but they’re also down on political rants and incorrect grammar and spelling.
  5. Privacy.
    Regularly check the privacy settings on different platforms as these are prone to change, and carefully manage your passwords. Try Googling yourself to see what comes up including images. Untag yourself from those crazy party pics that your mates have posted. You can’t always remove what is already out there, but you can push down any dodgy content by creating new and better content.

At the end of the day who you are online should be driven by you. We’re part of a fast-moving digital world and we’re all on board. Make it work for you. If you want to stick to your values and be open and transparent know that like will attract like and that not everybody is going to share your views. If however you want to work with two personas – one public and one private, that can work too – with a bit of careful planning

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