If you aren’t online, you don’t exist

With 77% of employers Googling prospective employees there has never been a better time to develop your online professional profile (Hoffman, 2017).

In Topic 2 both Philip and I touched upon the idea of having a different online personal and professional profile and how the differentiation plays dividends in a successful job application. But how can an authentic online professional profile be developed?

I propose the best way to answer this question is to start by defining ‘authentic’.

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(Oxford University Press, 2017)

The question is; are you being ‘authentic’?

Use this authenticity checklist I have created using checkii to find out (Noble, 2017).

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This screenshot from my authenticity checklist neatly encapsulates the fine line between being authentic and oversharing (Morin, 2016).

For more information, take a look at this informative YouTube video and subsequent web page.

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(Salma Jafri Media, 2016).

According to Watkins (no date) your social networking should supplement and support your professional networking the arguably most significant aspect of your online presence.

Furthermore, the BBC (2013) suggests “you need to make sure that anything on social media that can be seen by a potential employer is going to help you get employed”.

Below is a good and bad example of this.

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Fortunately for me my innocent and uncalculated Tweet had no consequences. However, the same cannot be said for Justine Sacco who lost her job following a series of ‘stupid’ Tweets (Ronson, 2015).

While Facebook and Twitter are proven and established networking sites with 83% of recruiters using the sites in their recruitment process (JobVite, 2014) they arguably fall under the ‘social’ category and thus the information we choose to share should be filtered in such a way that like Watkins said should ‘support’ our professional networking sites.

There are a number of professional networking platforms out there enabling you to build an authentic online professional profile (Lorang, 2011; Hunt, 2013).

An example of this can be seen below in my Tutora profile.

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However, LinkedIn is a good starting point as it covers the basics of professionalism such as past employment and an opportunity to show off key employability skills. A profile can be tailored to a user’s specific requirements but can also be used to show off personal qualities and interests which allow the user to show a well-rounded picture of themselves in a professional platform (Watkins, no date).

Inspired by my research I have decided to set up my own LinkedIn profile using these 6 steps.

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It’s not only LinkedIn and other online professional profile builders that can help you get a job. Blogging can too! Take a look at this presentation I have made using Canva to find out more.

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Take the test

Word count: 398


BBC (2013) Job hunting: How to promote yourself online. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962 (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Dekmezian (2016) Why Do People Blog? The Benefits of Blogging. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-dekmezian/why-do-people-blog-the-be_b_8178624.html (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Harris (2014) Using social media in your job search. Available at: http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Hoffman (2017) Job Applicant, Beware: You’re Being Googled. Available at: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/hr-googling-job-applicants (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Hunt (2013) 5 Best Apps to Build Your Online Professional Profile. Available at: https://socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/5-best-apps-to-build-your-online-professional-profile/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

JobVite (2014) Social Recruiting Survey. Available at: https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Liubarets (2016) Top Blogging Statistics: 45 Reasons to Blog. Available at: http://writtent.com/blog/top-blogging-statistics-45-reasons-to-blog/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Lorang (2011) 7 Free Sites for your Professional Online Profile. Available at: http://www.imagemediapartners.com/blog/bid/48836/7-Free-Sites-for-your-Professional-Online-Profile (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Morin (2016) There Is A Clear Line Between Oversharing And Being Authentic –Here’s How To Avoid Crossing It. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/10/22/there-is-a-clear-line-between-oversharing-and-being-authentic-heres-how-to-avoid-crossing-it/#4905ef6756e3 (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Noble (2017) Truth Will Out – Why Authenticity is the Key to Growing Your Business. Available at: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/truth-will-out/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Oxford University Press (2017) Authentic. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/authentic (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Ronson (2015) ‘How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life’, The New York Times, 12 February. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=3 (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Salma Jafri Media (2016) Are you being real and vulnerable or oversharing on social media?. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOWopi7Fvn4 (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Tapscott (2014) Five ways talent management must change. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/10/don-tapscott-talent-management-millennials/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

The Employable (2014) How blogging can help you get a job. Available at: http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/ (Accessed: 12 March 2017).

Watkins (no date) Developing Your Professional Online Identity. Available at: https://cstudies.ubc.ca/sites/cstudies.ubc.ca/files/cs/documents/program/tmap/Developing-Your-Professional-Online-Identity.pdf (Accessed: 12 March 2017).


12 thoughts on “If you aren’t online, you don’t exist

  1. Hi Harriet,

    This was a really good post to read and follow, it gives plenty of tips on how to build a professional profile and examples of things to watch out for, especially the idea of oversharing which is something I hadn’t considered. Additionally, you include advice for people who haven’t created a profile, in this case LinkedIn, on how to begin the process.

    You touched on the face that some platforms can be seen as ‘social’ even though employers check them anyway, so what would your advice be on avoiding another case similar to that of Justine Sacco? How could people set up their profiles so that they wouldn’t have to worry about everything they say or post? And if it is not possible to draw a distinct line between the two, why?


    (Word Count: 135)


    1. Hi Oliver, thank you for your positive comments I was rather dishearted with my post seeing the incredible quality of everyone elses so that’s a great confidence boost.

      If you would like to find out more about ‘oversharing’ take a look at these two (1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29744828, 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5IefzzEbcI) links I shared with Charley earlier today.

      Really interesting point! I was so adament that there was a persisent need to keep our personal separate from our professional but through reading other peoples blog posts I have began questioning whether this is even possible? So my suggestion would be to keep your personal platfroms private (as there is no harm or law against doing so) but became more vigilant with what you share. Like in Topic 2 the YouTube Video I used neatly encapsulates this idea and suggests that you should “keep it professional either way when you’re being personal – you never know who’s Googling you”.

      Thanks again.



  2. Hi Harriet,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and found it to be very informative. I did not previously know about Tutora for finding tutors.
    You have provided many tips on how to build up and improve a professional profile, which is very important today.
    When going through your Canvas presentation, I thought more about if I would have a blog to show employers what I am passionate about and the areas of industry I am interested in. would you build up a blog to show employers?
    I also looked at Justine Sacco and her story, and thought about how it is important to maintain a brand and therefore remain professional enough across all platforms of you online identity.
    I also took the test and got the result that I am a Campaigner which I find to be accurate, so it is a useful tool to be able to find out what sort of positions you should be aimed at.



    1. Hi Charley, thank you for your positive comments. I was also unaware of platforms such as Tutora and was only when looking on Indeed jobs I came across it. I subsequently stumbled across other similar platforms such as ChildCare.com, in which babysitters, nannies etc. can create a profile as well as prospective parents seeking a babysitter or nanny.

      Will you or have been able to use any of the tips?

      I most certainly would especially after my participation in this module which has shown me just how easy and simplistic WordPress and the world of blogging is. I would have always been the first to dig my heels into the ground when asked to do something out of my comfort zone however have really welcomed the chance to participate in this module which has subsequently enhanced my very basic skills and knowledge of the areas we have touched upon so far.

      I completely agree! I no longer think it is possible to keep our online identities completely separate and cases like Justine Sacco just emphasise this and the importance of maintaining a professional and arguably respectful image online.

      I’m so pleased you tried it out and maybe you can incorporate it within your new blog too!

      Thanks again.



      1. Hey Harriet,
        I think i defiantly will be using most of the tips from this week and this module, i have already started to make my own Linkedin account after this week, I think it is a really useful tool to get your foot in the door.
        I agree this module has been very useful and very welcoming in learning new aspects to the online world and how to navigate it safely and properly to gain as much from it as possible.
        Thanks for he reply


  3. Hi Harriet,

    Debates around professional online profile authenticity were outlined well: references beyond key sources expand debates, like Morin’s article about oversharing. My personal experience using social media implies the opposite problem, I ‘undershare’, something Crawford outlines http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2015/04/06/how-to-be-authentic-but-not-totally-transparent-in-the-workplace in balancing personal and professional.

    The canva slideshow, discussing how personality develops authenticity in professional online profiles, complements Marriot and Buchanan’s research http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563213004354 around different personality traits predicting our ‘offline and online selves’, but they find no evidence for more authentic self-expression online.

    They also debate whether presenting authentic personality is easier online over face-to-face daily interaction: perhaps, oversharing, discussed in previous comments with Ollie, is a consequence of online personality loss, overcompensating due to limited face-to-face mechanisms online through which to convey authenticity. I wondered what your views were around this: do online profiles need personality interjections, to overcome cyberspaces reduced face-to-face interaction mechanisms, which shape profiles perceived authenticity?




    1. Hi Will, thank you. I have never come across ‘under sharing’ so thank you for bringing that to my attention. It is interesting that you admit to being an under sharer as I would have argued those who under share would be those occupying the visitor end of the continuum, people I still predominately associate with being immigrants born before the digital immersion. So please remind me where you place yourself on the continuum discussed in Topic 1?

      Very interesting research by Marriot and Buchanan (2014) that you have presented there. What is your opinion regarding a person usually identified as an introvert offline but warranting that of an extravert online? I suggest this poses a plethora of other issues, bringing back the old and frequently used term ‘keyboard warrior’ during my secondary school years. It also supports the idea of anonymity discussed in Topic 2 in that introverts are able to hide behind a veil of anonymity online, something which isn’t possible offline unless you walk around with a paper bag over your head for the rest of your life.
      I believe they do and feel that such point has actually already began to be addressed by some online professional profile platforms, such as Tutora, which enables the user to pre-record a video of themselves to upload to their profile. I would also argue this is of great benefit to those dyslexic people like myself who often struggle with getting what they want to say on paper and find it much easier to convey information verbally without the worry of coming across as rude or any other emotions in which they never intended to imply.

      I look forward to further discussion and thanks again for the positive comments.



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