Topic 3: Developing Authentic Professional Profiles

According to a 2014 social recruiting survey conducted by Jobvite, 73% of recruiters use or plan to use social networking sites in their recruiting arsenal, with 94% using LinkedIn and 66% using Facebook to recruit future employees (Jobvite 2014; Harris 2014).

It is therefore necessary in the growing digital age for jobseekers to build and maintain an online professional profile to stand out from the competition. Gerard (2011) recognises that professional networking is crucial in developing a successful professional online profile and acknowledges this can be achieved through purpose built online platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing as traditional networking methods become increasingly obsolete. Equally, employers need to adapt their recruiting techniques when searching for and managing new talent (Tapscott 2014).
Developing Professional Profiles – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Yet there are other methods which can help individuals stand out from the crowd as well as highlight their talents and maintain their authenticity. Artists, Photographers, and Models may create and post portfolios of themselves on social networking sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Flickr to attract a wider audience and build their professional online presence (Yore, 2015). Companies such as Getty Images and Sports Illustrated have also begun to use images posted by users on Instagram in their Stock image galleries (Hall, 2012).

Similarly, individuals in the media industry such as journalist, reporters and reviewers may use blogs or even vlogs (video blogs) to demonstrate their talent. Not only do these methods help to improve their skills but they also demonstrate motivation and display their creativity and authenticity on a public platform (TheEmployable, 2014).

Likewise, professionals in the technology industry such as programmers and developers may not see social networking sites as appropriate to display their talents and so must rely on open source projects and collaborations on platforms such as GitHub to demonstrate their skills and competency for employers and build a professional portfolio (Codementor, 2015).

Consequently, there has been a growing distortion between social and professional identities online (Mills, 2013) and if managed incorrectly the results could have a detrimental impact on the individuals’ reputation and subsequently their career, as it did with Justine Sacco in 2013 (Ronson, 2015). Therefore, any public social networking profiles need to show professionalism.

These trends show that professional profiles go beyond static webpages and online CVs. Employers and recruiters are increasingly looking for unique and creative ways future employers display and show their work as a proof of their talent and motivation for the industry and so must adapt to develop authentic online professional profiles.

Developing authentic professional profiles

Developing authentic professional profiles

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References

BBC News. (2013). Job hunting: How to promote yourself online – BBC News. [online] BBC. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Carruthers, R. (2012). Managing your Digital Footprint Presentation [online] Panopto. Available at: http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2caea677-5fec-4c1a-9ad3-70320d724655  [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Codementor. (2015). How to Land Your First Dev Job (even if You Don’t have a CS Degree). [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-land-your-first-dev-job-even-if-you-don-t-have-a-cs-degree-e83d08db4615#.y1b6agur9 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Gerard, J. (2011). Linking in With LinkedIn®: Three Exercises That Enhance Professional Social Networking and Career Building. Journal of Management Education. Vol 36, Issue 6, pp. 866 – 897. First published date: July-07-2011. Sage Publications. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1052562911413464 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Hall, P. (2012). [Shocking] Getty licenses Nick Laham Photographs Of NY Yankees Taken With iPhone. [online] Fstoppers. Available at: https://fstoppers.com/sports/shocking-getty-licenses-nick-laham-photographs-ny-yankees-taken-iphone-6131 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Harris, L. (2014). Using social media in your job search [online] University of Southampton. Available at: http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Jobvite. (2014). Social Recruiting Survey. [online] Jobvite. Available at: https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Mills, C. (2013). How social media can boost your professional profile. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/careers/social-media-boost-professional-profile [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Ronson, J. (2015). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=1 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Tapscott, D. (2014). Five ways talent management must change. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/10/don-tapscott-talent-management-millennials/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

TheEmployable. (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. [online] TheEmployable. Available at: http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/  [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

Yore, V. (2015). If You Are a Photographer and You Aren’t on Instagram, You’re Doing It Wrong. [online] Fstoppers. Available at: https://fstoppers.com/business/if-you-are-photographer-and-you-arent-instagram-youre-doing-it-wrong-96125 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].

10 thoughts on “Topic 3: Developing Authentic Professional Profiles

  1. Hi Ji,

    Thanks for a great post! I really like the way you bring out the different services and how these apply to different professions (photographers, software developers etc.). This adds an interesting perspective to this whole debate, which can often focus on the corporate world forgetting that other occupations exist.

    You talk about using the internet in creative ways to market yourself to employers, do you feel this is just another way that you should differentiate yourself. Arruda (https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2015/11/11/10-outstanding-ways-to-stand-out-in-a-job-search/#72b4882f4d5b) talks about how to stand out in job applications, so this may help with that.

    Secondly, to what extent do you feel that there is not enough emphasis on employers? Of course, there are many more employees than employers but especially for smaller firms, I feel they would benefit from more guidance in using the Web to find recruits. Given that the Web allows people to put in masks, should a business be wary of recruiting from an online profile. Also, they could use something like social media to increase the visibility of their adverts etc.

    I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks again for a stimulating post.

    Mark.

    • Hi Mark,

      Like you have pointed out, I do believe a lot of information and advice about managing authentic professional profiles are based around employees who are focused on getting corporate jobs and other technical and creative industries tend to be ignored. To add to this I also firmly believe professionals should take advantage of platforms and media not only to display their skills but also prove they are capable individuals with experience in their relevant industries. Consequently, by doing this their profiles also show authenticity due to the originality of their work, whether it is a website they have created, a collaboration with others on a project or a media production.

      Regarding your point about employers and the risks of finding suitable employees with authentic profiles, it is important for employers to see evidence of employees being genuine and having experience for their roles. Therefore, having platforms such as GitHub, YouTube and Pinterest can add to our validity and authenticity online as opposed to just having an online CV or LinkedIn profile which purely displays information and doesn’t account for other factors such as personality as well as having information which may not be able to be verified. Which is why recruiters and employers need to be careful when using such sites. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think there are other methods to verify authentic profiles for recruiters/ employers?

      Regards
      Ji

      • Hi Ji,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Interesting that you talk about unique experience adds authenticity. Therefore, differentiating your profile will make you seem more authentic online – a win-win. Also, the Web provides opportunities to bring new media to the fore, or example code or media that they have produced, that are hard to replicate in a traditional CV. What do you think?

        I like your point about content being used to prove to employers that someone is genuine. Perhaps the use of features such as LinkedIn’s endorsements could be used in order to sponsor a profile? Would you feel comfortable employing someone entirely off their profile?

        Additionally, how would you advise someone who has lots of experience to use an online profile? If a CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages, then how long such a LinkedIn page be? With a CV, you can tailor it to each role. However, for LinkedIn the appeal must be more widespread. How would you manage that?

        Cheers again for the discussion.
        Mark.

  2. Hey Mark,
    I do agree that new medias are difficult to replicate in traditional CVs which is why there has been a fundamental shift for job searching online and traditional methods such as going to a job centre are becoming obsolete. Online job applications also save a lot of time for employers who may spend a couple of seconds looking at a CV to find a suitable candidate. Having something different helps you to stand out from the crowd and attract potential employers.

    Having endorsements on LinkedIn does to some extent add authenticity to your profile but some endorsements aren’t necessarily from employers or colleagues, they can be individuals from your social sphere just helping. Therefore, looking at the quality of endorsements rather than just the number is something employers should consider.
    I also believe just like traditional CVs, online CVs and networking sites should also be tailored to focus on your career path rather than having a collaboration of jobs that aren’t related to your career such as weekend or part time work (like paper rounds) this makes for a more consistent CV and tailored for your specific career. Do you agree?

    Regards
    Ji

    • Hi Ji,

      Thanks for the continued discussion, very insightful.

      It’s interesting that you point out the opportunities in online professional profiles are making the CV obsolete. How long do you think before the CV is completely disregarded (years, decades)? Do you think that we are seeing qualitative change? It’s definitely quantitative as you mention, it’s more time efficient to send in a PDF for employee and employer.

      I love they way you bring in the quality of endorsement to the debate. That is definitely a key factor. Do you see some kind of trust graph being formed online (I trust you because I trust them and they endorse you etc)? However, I was also thinking of when previous managers and colleagues and write a paragraph about someone, is that more subjective and qualitative form of authenticity going to become more important?

      You raise the point about the makeup of CVs and profiles being important. This is an age old question, when should things being taken off your CV? Tailoring for a specific job application is one way to combat this. But this is harder when you have one ‘face’ on LinkedIn for example. Is this something you’ve experienced?

      Thanks again for the great discussion.

      Cheers,
      Mark.

      • Hey Mark,

        I think traditional paper based CVs have, for the most part, already been disregarded in favour of electronic CVs, professional online networks and online applications. I do believe we are also seeing a qualitative change as there are new medias available online which make CVs more complete and organised through the use of templates as well as advice and tips to enhance your CV like we have seen in this weeks topic.

        I do believe to some extent trust graphs and models are being formed online due to professionals working in the same industry and so which individuals and groups within recommendations hold more value and quality than others. This in turn creates a trust cycle between the employer, employee and the recommendation/endorsement similar to how references exist when we apply for a job or university.

        Personally I have included all of my work experience on my LinkedIn profile but I know after I graduate I will need to tailor it to focus on my career path and have quality over quantity. I know some of my summer jobs don’t contribute much to my professional development but they do display generic workplace skills such as time management, teamwork and planning. Therefore it is about striking the right balance between technical and generic skills to get the perfect professional profile.

        Regards
        Ji

  3. Hi Ji, great post as always!

    I really enjoyed this read, it really helped form some ideas in my head about how to be more creative when creating my online profile!
    You mentioned using a Git platform such as Github to demonstrate your skills as a developer or programmer, I also mentioned this in my post this week. I was wondering if you thought it necessary to “curate” your github profile in these cases. For example, many people use Github not only to post finished projects but also for smaller works in progress or even silly little side projects. Do you think if a user posted some code which they know not to be their best work, but it works for their intended use, that they should make this code private? Do you think you need to apply the same levels of professional standard to your private git repo as you would if you were writing code for a job?

    Thanks,
    Ed

    • Hi Ed,

      Good question. I believe that to some extent you should curate your GitHub portfolio and include your best works to highlight your talent for future employers. However there should also be some demonstration of personal development to show a project which may not have been perfect but you acknowledge this as this is more authentic and shows the ability to self assess.

      Similarly contributing to open projects and collaborating with others provides the opportunity to show teamwork and the ability to read and understand a third parties code.

      In my opinion your private git repository should be held to the same standard as your public repository as you may need to make a project public to add contributions. Similarly having a semi professional private profile can help you with your professional development in develop good coding practices such as commenting and having structure. Although there are possibilities to go off on a tangent and develop code as a hobby or “trying something new” which shows you are willing to experiment. Hope this answers your queries.

      Regards
      Ji

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