Standing Out in a Crowd – Developing Online Professional Profiles
Professional online profiles matter! This is not just a personal opinion, but an increasingly universally accepted fact. A quick look at the BBC’s ‘How to get a job now‘ page reveals six lead articles relating to online recruitment and digital profiles, aimed at people of all ages. This is not just a form of recruitment aimed at the technologically savvy, but at pretty much anyone who wants to get a job, with Schawbel (2011) declaring that it is difficult to get a job the traditional way. But how can an authentic, online, professional profile be developed? I believe it is in the following ways.
Build a Professional Online Profile
Professional online profiles are now becoming easier and easier to create, with the most renown website being LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, boasting more than 332 million members in over 200 countries (LinkedIn, 2014), where users create their profile and interact with millions of other professionals both in and out of their sectors of employment. It provides a visual, easily accessible overview of your qualifications, interests, employment history and employment desires, as well as the ability to network and socialise with friends and co-workers. LinkedIn is one of the best places to start when creating a professional online profile. One other way online profile aid employment prospects is that they can be used to portray a passion for a job much more effectively than a written CV can (Schawbel, 2011).
Make your profile visible
Visibility is key. Employers are increasingly searching for candidates online, and so the more details you have about yourself, the easier it is to be discovered. This is done by having as many details about yourself as possible online, for example uploading an online CV multiple times to as many places as possible (The Guardian, 2011), or being engaged with a reasonable number of social networks.
Maintain a professional social profile
Schawbel (2011) details that an online presence should include social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Google, but It would be a mistake to assume this is directed at the younger generations; Facebook’s largest growing demographic has been women over 55 (Smith, 2009). However it is not enough to simply have a profile; it needs to be maintained in order to reflect positively on your professional life, as 37% of employees reportedly look at the social networks of prospective employees in the decision-making process (Huffington Post, 2012). This means monitoring things like the appropriateness of tweets and comments, checking grammar and spelling in posts and displaying photos that only shows one in a positive light, the failure of which is demonstrated in videos by The Onion and IndyCityEnt, though the former is heavily satirical.
Stand out from the crowd
While it is important to build a professional online profile, they are becoming increasingly popular as both employees and employers recognise their benefits, and so it is incredibly easy to get lost in the crowd of LinkedIn profile and online CV’s. The ideal profile has employers coming to the employees, not the other way around, and even looks at creating new jobs for the employee themselves, named ‘Careerpreneurs’ by Schawbel (2011). Examples include ‘Employ Adam’ (Art Jonak, 2013) which worked well because it was simple, concise, memorable, real and, most of all, it stood out.
To conclude, an authentic, online, professional profile is about more than putting a CV online. It involves both the professional and social sides of one’s online identity and their increasing merger (see Topic 2), together with appropriate content, visibility and a unique quality that will help stand out from the crowd.
Art Jonak (2013) ‘Case Study: Lessons from Employ Adam’. Simple Sells Tumblr. 3rd January. [http://simplesells.tumblr.com/post/39581510026/employadam]
BBC News (2014) ‘How to Get a Job Now’. BBC. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24720378]
The Guardian (2011) ‘Why online CVs are essential in your job search’. The Guardian Online. 21st April.
Huffington Post (2012) ’37 percent of Employers Use Facebook to pre-screen Applicants, New study Says’. Huffington Post. 20th April. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/employers-use-facebook-to-pre-screen-applicants_n_1441289.html
IndyCityEnt (2011) ‘The Professionalism Project: “Social Networking”‘. IndCityEnt YouTube Channel (Video). 16th March. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqAz-xSQHtk].
LinkedIn (2014) ‘About LinkedIn’. LinkedIn. [http://press.linkedin.com/about/]
The Onion. (2012) ‘Report: Every Potential 2040 President Already Unelectable Due to Facebook’. The Onion YouTube Channel (Video). 26th April [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2bniFJigI].
Schawbel, D (2011) ‘5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years’. Forbes.
Smith, J. (2009) ‘Number of US Facebook Users Over 35 Nearly Doubles in Last 60 Days’. Inside Facebook. 25th March, [http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/03/25/number-of-us-facebook-users-over-35-nearly-doubles-in-last-60-days/].
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