Topic 3: Professional Online Profiles

Why should I have a ‘professional online profile’?

Nowadays, the recruitment landscape has changed massively (Tapscott, 2014) and a generic CV is simply not enough in the job market (White, 2016). As Nik Nyman (2014) contends, more and more companies are now using social media to recruit talent, in particular, the platform of LinkedIn (White, 2016). This was supported by the 2014 Jobvite survey (p.7), which showed that 94% of the companies asked used LinkedIn as a social media recruitment portal. For my generation in particular, not being online will quite simply equate to missed opportunities (Nyman, 2014).

The BBC video below explains how to promote yourself well online.

Figure 1:

Staying professional online

Being careful what you put online is now more important than ever. As discussed in my last post, everything you do online can leave a trace , and this video I’ve created provides some top tips on how to create, or maintain, a professional online profile across various platforms.

The case of Justine Sacco illustrates what can happen as a result of non-professional behaviour on Twitter (Ronson, 2015). Just before an 11 hour flight, she tweeted a racist AIDS joke, and it had gone viral before she had landed. She became a worldwide trend, and also a shame to her family and employers.

Image result for going viral

Figure 2: ‘Going Viral’ (Anderson, 2015)

The story of Justine Sacco really shocked me. I can’t even begin to imagine the devastation, embarrassment and regret she must have felt, really drumming into me the importance of watching what you post online. Where professionalism online is concerned, LinkedIn typically comes to mind (Moritz, 2015), but how does one stay professional online across all social platforms? Twitter is rather different to LinkedIn, and for me, I see it as more a personal, recreational social media platform, than a professional one. This spurred me into thinking about how to develop a specific professional profile for each of the main social media platforms that I use, as seen below:

topic 3 infographic

Figure 3: (Infographic created by the author)

Each of the points highlighted above can transfer across all social media platforms, and this links directly to the points raised last week about managing various online identities. I personally think the key to developing an authentic, professional, online profile is consistency across the web. Having a professional manner in the execution of all web activity is a great way to take ownership of your digital footprint (SouthamptonCareersService, 2012)... meaning that you are always in control of the ways you are represented on the web.

(Word count: 409)


Anderson, W. (2015). Going Viral | Go Code 7. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

BBC News, (2013). Job Hunting: How to promote yourself online. Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Garst, K. (2013). 9 Tips for Making Instagram Your Professional Secret Weapon. [online] Kim Garst | Marketing Strategies that WORK. Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Jobvite, (2014). Social Recruiting Survey 2014. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Moritz, D. (2015). 5 Ways to Visually Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile using Professional Portfolio. [online] Socially Sorted. Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Nyman, N. (2014). Using social media in your job search. [Blog] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017]., (2012). Top 25 Twitter Tips for Your Professional Development – Online College Search – Your Accredited Online Degree Directory. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017]., (2016). Maintaining a professional image online. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Ronson, J. (2015). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. The NY Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Samuel, (2015). Being Professionally Personable on Facebook. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Southampton Careers Service, (2012). LinkedIn. [podcast] Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Tapscott, D. (2014). Five ways talent management must change. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

TheEmployable, (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. [online] TheEmployable. Available at: [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

White, M. (2016). The 9 Things Your Online Professional Profile Must Have. Time. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].


4 thoughts on “Topic 3: Professional Online Profiles

  1. Hi Madeline,

    I enjoyed reading your post and liked the techniques you mentioned. It’s good to know that you could create a separate friends list in Facebook.

    I definitely agree that a consistency is important when trying to develop an authentic profile. However, I’m not sure that one has to uphold the same level of professionalism across every platform. It may even start to appear inauthentic if the profile is purely professional [1].

    Some platforms are by their nature are more personal and informal than others. For example, you would expect posts on a Facebook account to primarily be based on their social activities rather than their work [2]. I agree that you should still be cautious of what you post, ensuring it is appropriate, but I don’t see any harm in making personal posts.

    How much space do you think there is for personal and professional profiles to coexist?


    1. Roberts LM. Changing faces: Professional image construction in diverse organizational settings. Academy of management review. 2005 Oct 1;30(4):685-711.

    2. Van Dijck J. ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society. 2013 Mar;35(2):199-215.

    [150 words]


  2. Hi Jordan, thanks for your great comment.

    Yes I do agree with your point in that there is no harm in making personal posts – some profiles are typically used as more personal platforms, just as I’d never thought of the professional use of Twitter . You shouldn’t uphold the same manner of professionalism across all social media platforms (unless you want to project that particular image) but I believe you shouldn’t deviate too far from it, so as to sure it doesn’t compromise/falsify your professional profiles. I feel that this means there isn’t actually that much space for personal and professional profiles to co-exist – they have to remain relatively similar to maintain an authentic ‘personal brand’. I think a way around this is to make sure the privacy settings of the platform are in use if particularly personal things are being posted. As I articulated in another comment I posted on Ausaf’s blog, things posted online can often be taken out of context or misconstrued, so it’s best to be careful of this as you never know what can get dug up, and who it’ll be read by (just like the unfortunate case of Justine Sacco).

    On the other hand, I agree with your point also because if you’re mindful of what you post, personal posts can be quite complimentary and successful in that they can reflect your true character and may also boost your likeability to recruiters, clients, customers etc.



    1. I’m glad you concur with my ideas, it seems like we share a similar approach. I think that the people who would most benefit from the advice are the post first, think later types who are more likely to get themselves into difficult positions that they will later regret. But I think it serves as a good reminder to us all.

      Thanks for the discussion.


      Liked by 1 person

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