What is an ‘authentic online professional profile’? Well, Google seems to mention the words ‘personal branding’ in the results returned. For those who already have some sort of social media presence, this normally includes checking you’ve got everything right (a good checklist here) and polishing up existing profiles rather than starting from scratch. Lisa Johnson Mandell talks about injecting a little ‘botox’ to establish an authentic personal brand.
A study has shown that more than a fifth of 18-34-year-olds are now recruited on social networks (Haggerty, 2013). Check out my mini movie on the facts and figures presented by the JobVite survey from 2014.
So if 93% of recruiters review our social profiles before making a hiring decision, what can one do to make their online profile both authentic and professional? (Some of you may find this link useful when thinking about this question.)
The first step is to try to ensure no negative documentations of you can be found online. I mean inappropriate photos, extreme opinions or comments that can be traced back to your profile, even rants on a social network might be enough to put an employer off as it suggests a bad attitude (Cooper, 2011). I personally believe in developing a fine line between personal activity and professional as outlined in Topic 2: Online Identity. This article details a list of employees that got fired for expressing themselves over social media… so think twice! Also, you may want to check out the LifeHack Google Chrome extension that adds privacy reminders to Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail every time you’re about to post something that could be risky –Internet Shame Insurance. This video shows just how important professionalism and personal accounts are when job searching.
The second step is carving a positive professional online presence. One of the key attributes employers look for is evidence of a presence on a business network such as LinkedIn (Cooper, 2011). We can also take on advice given to business to keep their profiles authentic and apply it to ourselves to ensure we get the most out of our online presence.
Other notable tips include: Making sure that your profile is complete, keyword-rich, typo-free and that you are representing yourself honestly and in a positive manner (Hyams, 2012). By upgrading your LinkedIn account, you can also benefit from commenting in discussion boards, engaging with professionals and following articles posted by companies in the relevant field you want to go into. In this way, your profile will develop authenticity and you will improve your job prospects.
However, we don’t need to limit ourselves. For example, if you are trying to get a job in the film industry consider signing up for video services such as Vimeo and using them to exhibit your material.
Another option is to use social media to find a way to stand out from the crowd. An example of this is The Twitter Job Hustle experiment, a clever campaign by Bas van de Poel and Daan van Dam to get a job at a leading advertisement agency. It sure worked!
Tapscott, D. 2014 Five Ways Talent Management Must Change Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/10/don-tapscott-talent-management-millennials/ [Accessed: 7 Mar 2016]