In recent years, the importance of owning a professional online profile has skyrocketed. In the past all an employer had to represent you was your application, the 60 minutes in an interview and selected references. Today, an employer could see my political interest, my tastes and hobbies and my family holiday photos in just a few clicks.
Statistics in Infographic from Jobvite (2014).
Ensuring what you show your employer is key to mastering the art of a professional profile. Just like a company would never advertise their losses or faults, you should do the same. We are in a world where us jobseekers are now our own brand (Peter Bowes 2013), and to keep your brand authentic you must keep it consistent. You should use the same profile picture and handle across all your platforms (Nik Nyman 2014) and ensure obvious access to all of them; this can provide more evidence to improve your authenticity.
You are now the Chief Marketing Officer of your own professional brand.
Regardless if it’s your professional profile or not, inappropriate content should never feature on your social media. This is where the issue of “what classifies as inappropriate?” comes into play, there are some obvious things that come to mind; but what may be “banter” to some, may not be to others. In my opinion, if in doubt, DO NOT publish it; it is never worth the risk of someone misinterpreting it the wrong way; just as Justine Sacco will tell you.
Jayraj believes you should keep your personal stories beyond the workplace and to familiarise yourself with privacy settings to ensure a professional view is maintained (Jayraj Joshi 2014). Depending on your industry, you may want to isolate your personal life, there are industries with stricter connotations like law and finance, whilst in the music or film industry your personal lives are very public. This will affect how personal your posts are, a fashion blogger may tweet about London Fashion Week; but this may be considered irrelevant for an engineer. You should aim to keep all content relevant to your industry, to exhibit enthusiasm and passion; an exceptional way to do this is by creating a blog (The Employable 2014).
My brother has created 2 separate Facebook accounts to maintain his professionalism amongst colleagues and employers. This way, he can share more controversial articles (mainly political or comical) without the fear of his personal views disrupting relationships at work.
- The Employable, How blogging can help you get a job (2014) http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/
- BBC, Peter Bowes, Job Hunting: How to promote yourself online (2013) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962
- New York Times Magasine, How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life (2015) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=1
- Jobvite, Social Recruiting Survey (2014) https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf
- Jayraj Joshi, LinkedIn, 8 ways to build an unbeatable professional profile (2014) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140409120125-45727283-7-ways-to-build-an-unbeatable-professional-image
- Nik Nyman, Using social media in your job search (2014) http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/
- Lyra Communications, LinkedIn tricks to make your profile awesome (2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fqrRLSrp8E
- Entrepreneur, The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Business (2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm51OKTTWec
- Image made myself using Piktochart