Topic 3-Creating an Authentic online Proffesional profile

A theme of last week’s post highlighted the damage that can be caused when our digital profile is not established professionally, hindering employment opportunities. This week, however, I will explore the ways in which an authentic professional profile can be produced online in order to improve recruitment prospects, and how to overcome authenticity issues.

In the modern era, Online employment is very much a two way process, with job-seekers creating a digital profile that works to improve their chances of employment, while companies begin to remove traditional forms of advertising, attracting young people to their company through social media outlets in an efficient and cost effective manner (Tapscott, 2014)

Creating a professional profile

One of the best ways to develop a professional online presence is through the creation of a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is centered on the professional presentation of individuals, allowing members of the site to “Link” to other users, network with professionals, and ultimately discover new employment opportunities (Carruthers, 2012). The growth of the site has meant that around 85% of recruiters use LinkedIn before looking at any other recruitment tools (LinkedIn, 2015), therefore, the way that a person presents themselves of on the site is hugely important.

Figure 1

new-piktochart_172_9a33c6c33cfc8abdc7e8a7d74ef0a63fed37c67c

It may also be useful to establish a professional online persona on other social media sites, ways to do this successfully are outlined in the figure below.

Figure 2

Proffesional socail media

Being authentic and professional

Authenticity indicates originality and being genuine, this may prove difficult to display professionally due to the multi-dimension aspects of individuals, often causing people to fake authenticity in order to seem professional, or allowing their social activities to disrupt their professional persona (Hensen, 2011). In order to remain authentic and professional, a balance must be created in all facets of our digital self. This balance involves displaying features of social engagement where appropriate, managing our professional online self competently, and ensuring we adhere to strict online privacy settings (Hanson, 2011)

This video below summarises the important of authenticity with responsibility, Njeri Watkins highlights in the video that written online language can be easily misconstrued, so we must be mindful and in full control of content that we display online in order not to tarnish our self-image.

Summary

I feel it is vital to view your professional online persona as your own “brand” that encapsulates the most positive aspects of self-presentation across a variety of online platforms, but that is also reflective of your offline-self. When combined these factors are key to remaining authentic online both on social sites and when using formal networking sites.

Word count: 419

References 

BBC (2013) Job hunting: how to promote yourself online

Carruthers. R (2012), Southampton Careers service, managing your digital footprint

Hanson. M, (2011), The Guardian, Managing your professional reputation on social media

Hensen. A (2011) Building online trust: 7 tips for being authentic online

Huffington post (2016), your online identity: Your strongest brand or your worst nightmare?

LinkedIn (2015), why is having a good LinkedIn profile so important?

Ohio state university career services, Building your professional online profile

Ronsom. J (2015) The New York Times magazine, How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life

Tapscott. D (2014), five ways talent management must change

 The Employable (2014), how blogging can help you get a job

Watkins. N (2015), YouTube, Developing your professional online identity

Images

Figure 1: self-made using Piktochart

Figure 2: self-made using Piktochart

 

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10 thoughts on “Topic 3-Creating an Authentic online Proffesional profile

  1. Hi David
    You have raised many interesting points in your blog, and I liked the way in which you have explored elements of the web beyond LinkedIn which seems to be the go to for building your online professional identity. However, by creating your own personal ‘brand’ does this remove the authenticity of identities, and instead lead us to becoming like corporate brands that advertise their good qualities, whilst brushing all the bad practices under the carpet? Surely by just showing off our good qualities, or those that potential employers would want to see is like lying on your CV? However due to current issues of public image within the business world, I do understand why people feel it necessary to only promote their ‘best self’ and why companies tend to recruit people who have views that are in line with the companies, or that they deem to be acceptable, regardless of things such as freedom of speech.
    Rebecca
    Word Count: 159

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    • Hi Rebecca,
      You raise an intriguing point in regard to the deceptive nature of our brand image. However, I feel you misunderstand the point that I am trying to make in my post. Building a brand image to promote your “best self” (Through the creation of a professional profile) should entail elements of both specialised talents for self-promotion to indicate you are qualified for the job, while also presenting your social authenticity in a non-formal manner to demonstrate yourself as genuine. An online profile, much like the way you present yourself in reality, should never show your “bad qualities”, it should merely suggest that you’re a well-rounded person that doesn’t just tell potential employers what they want to hear. I feel that part of being authentic is not about behaving the same in all situation, but being adaptable to different environments and knowing when to express different facets of your personality appropriately. I look forward to hearing what you think about the point I’ve raised.
      Thanks, David

      Like

      • Hi David
        Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, and through reading the other comments that have since been posted on your blog, it seems that I am not the only one who believes that adapting our online profiles to brand ourselves gives off the impression of in-authenticity
        In terms of your point about adapting our online profiles, in accordance to factors such as environment and purpose, like I said in my original post I completely understand why people do this, and it definitely does simulate what happens during everyday life. I would definitely wouldn’t say that people shouldn’t do this, as it clearly works and enables people to get a job, from the ways in which they present themselves across the online world, I’m just not sure if it is what I would call an authentic identity or not!
        Rebecca

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      • Hi Rebecca,
        Interesting points. I suppose then that the level that we consider ourselves to be authentic is based on notions of how we feel subjectively towards the matter. For our digital identity particularly, it is difficult to gauge how authentic we are being when placed in an online scenario and sometimes it depends on where we draw the line of authenticity personally. I think what this stems from is the disparity between spotting inauthenticity between offline and online scenarios. In real life, it is fairly easy to see when people are not being genuine, however, this is much more difficult in a digital setting.
        David

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David,

    I’m intriqued by your discussion of authenticity! Your post made me consider the private/personal vs public/professional distinction as actually allowing people to be more authentic- as they can be themselves but just select who they share certain personas with. I can see how ‘privacy’ allows all elements of yourself to exist; if we couldn’t separate personas, people may have to choose 1 or the other, to be professional or personal, which is inauthentic. Thank you for developing my thoughts.

    However, I do still consider a ‘professional’ identity inauthentic in the sense that, as you mentioned, we use this identity to ‘brand’ ourselves. Would you agree that this process of ‘branding’ or ‘selling’ ourselves to employers could be inauthentic as we edit and exaggerate? Perhaps we need to be inauthentic to a certain extent in our professional online lives, just as we sometimes do offline (see post).
    ^What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Scott

    Word count: 155

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    • Hi Scott,
      Thanks for your comment, it raised a lot of interesting points. I can see how the idea of “branding” ourselves to potential employers may be seen as deceptive, after all, it appears that
      from this we are essentially only highlighting our most positive qualities. However, I don’t think it necessarily “inauthentic” to promote ourselves highly to potential employers. Personally, I believe that it would be inauthentic to tell the employers exactly what they wanted to hear rather than showing them that you are an adaptable, professional and social, with your own disagreeable views and flaws. This relates to the point made at the end of your comment regarding our offline selves. In any offline situation we have to be adjustable, knowing when to express different traits of our personality appropriately. This adjustability doesn’t make us inauthentic, it simply makes us controlled. Would love to hear if you agree with this.
      Thanks, David

      Like

  3. Hi again,
    I have a similar view to you! Just as I explored in Topic 2 with multiple identities, we change our personas depending on who we are with offline, so should be able to do so online too. With regards to this weeks topic, I think the same can be said – like you mentioned, we have to be ‘adjustable’ offline to deal with certain situations. When online, we may have to alter what we say and do under different circumstances (the personal / professional divide), and I agree that this shows adaptability more than inauthenticity. I guess we have to accept a small amount of inauthenticity as we can’t always be consistent online – a personal / professional display of identities is necessary and natural!
    Thanks,
    Scott

    Like

  4. […] Rebecca and Scott both posed similar questions on my blog in reference to my notion of “self-branding”, suggesting that through self-promotion of our “best self”, we are not remaining authentic. This made me consider what online authenticity truly involves. After some contemplation, I proposed to them that online authenticity should not involve remaining consistent in all facets of our online persona, but instead, make use of the multi-dimensional aspects of our personality, behaving adaptably in order to show traits of our character where appropriate (e.g. remaining formal in professional online settings). Scott agreed with this suggestion, making reference to the themes of topic 2, multiple identities, in which we adapt and express different values throughout our online personas, something I certainly believed. […]

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  5. […] Engagement with David allowed me to understand that even though a professional profile may not be completely authentic due to ‘branding’, we are both professional and social in real life, and have to adapt this brand as we would in offline situations; adaptability here is seen as a positive trait that employers may praise. My argument developed: the concept of a professional profile is itself somewhat inauthentic, but this doesn’t have to be problematic, rather, some level of inauthenticity is necessary in professional life. This discussion of authenticity is something Cherie hadn’t considered, and she questioned me further on the topic, my reply featuring ideas learnt from David’s post. […]

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