#UOSM2008 Topic 3: Creating Professional Online Identities

Discuss the ways in which an online professional profile can be developed.

According to Smith(2013), ‘social media is a key player in the job search process today’; it is crucial to maintain an online professional presence, as it is essential in increasing an individual’s employability.

As the job market is becoming increasingly competitive (Couch, 2013); getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult. Therefore, it is important to attract prospective employers on as many different platforms as possible, for example LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Blogspots.

LinkedIn allows users to advertise and update their CV online for prospective employers to view experiences, recommendations, skills, projects, connections and endorsements. A profile with endorsements from other users may significantly improve authenticity (Doyle, 2013).
Users can follow a company to receive updates on their developments and internships or job postings and similarly, companies can used LinkedIn to contact prospective employees; in my personal experience I have had various local companies connect and communicate with me in regards to prospective internships and student jobs.

I have found an interesting article (http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/jun/18/social-media-to-boost-student-employability ) that describes how the University of Central Lancashire encouraged students to engage with potential employees through Twitter. By tweeting sketches of their work using the hashtags #twittercritter and #practicereviews, students could connect with industry experts who gave students feedback and advice on their final year degree show.
Twitter is essential to increase employability as users can follow employers for the latest news, read articles related to their chosen industry, interact with executives and attract potential employers through interesting and concise tweets.
Companies are using Twitter to post job openings in hopes that their potential applicants will be following their company (Russo, 2013). I myself have used the search bar to find relevant key words relating to my placement year such as ‘Undergraduate’, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Internship’ as I understand that more and more companies are using Twitter to attract candidates.

Websites or blogs can also increase employability; by maintaining a personal online space shows how passionate and interested in a particular industry an individual is. Additionally, employers can get to understand the blogger as a person and as a ‘brand’; writing, knowledge, experience, interests and achievements. By encouraging discussions with others, reading their work and connecting with those who share similar career interests can form a set of useful contacts.

It is important to acknowledge that over 40% per cent of employers use social media tools to screen candidates so it is important to regularly update online profiles in order to promote themselves. Similarly, it is important for candidates not to disclose too much information about themselves; for example it may be advisable for Facebook settings to be altered to ‘private’ so personal images and posts cannot be accessed.

Whilst creating and maintaining online professional profiles is time consuming and require effort, they are vital in establishing a digital presence and therefore affect job prospects. I have found an interesting article in the ways students can increase their exposure online ; (http://technologyenhancedlearning.net/blog/social-media-for-employability/ )

References

Holmes, R. 2013. How social media is making job hunting better – for candidates and companies. Hootsuite [online] http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-job-hunting/

Doyle, A 2013. Don’t waste your time on LinkedIn
[online] http://jobsearch.about.com/b/2014/02/15/dont-waste-your-time-on-linkedin.htm

Smith, J., 2013, How Social Media can Help (or Hurt) you in your job search
[online] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/16/how-social-media-can-help-or-hurt-your-job-search/

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5 thoughts on “#UOSM2008 Topic 3: Creating Professional Online Identities

  1. Hello Georgia,

    Great post! I see you’ve mentioned different platforms that may attract employers – YouTube, Instagram – it would be really interesting to see an example of using those particular websites as a portfolio for an employer. I do understand it’s possible, it’s just that you’ve only provided an example of LinkedIn account.. well, all of us did :/
    Interesting article you’ve found as well, quite a creative way they used I’d say.
    And other small thing, where did you get the data about employers using social media tools to scan applicants? As there is no reference there..

    Best Wishes,
    Vlad

    • Hi Vlad,
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      In regards to using YouTube as a professional online platform, it may not be for everyone ( I am not sure if I would use it to showcase my marketing skills!), however I think it is important to acknowledge that for a musician or film producer, this may well be a vital online profile. Did you know that Justin Bieber, along with many others, has become successful after being noticed on YouTube? From this, we can understand that platforms such as YouTube can be an important tool for exposure in some career paths.
      As with Instragram; I have found an interesting read ( http://www.photoswarm.com/blog/photographers-use-instagram-to-grow-business/ ) detailing how photographers can utilise Instagram as a professional tool in seeking publicity and engaging with others who may be interested in their services, which ultimately lead to sales and increased success. This could be linked to professionals who choose to use LinkedIn, using the Online CV Builder to showcase skills and talents to attract potential employers.
      In regards to the data comment, I had previously used the statistic in a previous post, but here is the link (I am aware that various websites have a varying percentage!) ( http://www.workforce.com/blogs/3-the-practical-employer/post/is-your-company-looking-at-the-wrong-info-to-screen-candidates-using-social-media ).
      Hope that clarifies your questions!
      Georgia

  2. Hi Georgia!

    I liked that you had another approach to the topic than I did, which was the reason I wanted to read further and comment on it. I liked the structure of your post, very clear arguments. I particularly liked that you did some reflection in the middle of your post, and both started and ended with the use of references.

    I found the paragraph about the students using twitter at university to showcase their work (in this case, sketches) really interesting. I think more universities should do this as times are changing and there are a lot of students that are not very active (or have a professional presence at all) online besides obvious sites such as Facebook. Being engaged with companies makes it more ‘fun’ and you’ll be able to use your knowledge in a new context, which I find very exciting and motivating.

    I also, have tried using Twitter to find companies for my placement, really cool how many that posts vacancies on twitter, and contacting the companies will probably give you a competitive edge (fingers crossed)

    I think another reason why following companies you’re interested in working for is important is that when engaging with them over social platforms such as twitter, you can use this engagement as a constant reminder of your name so you’ll be recognized when they are screening the applications in the recruitment process

    Good point about the blogs as well, I think we are really lucky that we are able to do this module as a part of our degree as we are creating ‘brands’ for ourselves. Not necessarily because of the topics we do in the module, but me for an example probably wouldn’t take the step to create a blog in the first place without doing this module. As well as using Twitter more actively. I had a twitter account for many years without using it much, and I started using it more actively after starting UOSM2008 and I now really understand why a lot of people enjoy it so much.

    Would be fun to create a hash tag for us marketing students to use on twitter to share stuff as well.

    Great read!

    – Kaya

    • Hey Kaya!
      Thanks, glad you enjoyed – I think it’s so interesting how we all approach, understand and reflect on each topic so differently, peer learning is so rewarding!
      I really liked the article too – I wish more Universities encouraged students to share work through social media as more and more people are interacting and engaging with users with similar interests.
      With regards to using Twitter to find internships, I am glad I am not alone. I found that so many placements with smaller and lesser known companies (who maybe did not have the budget to advertise on RateMyPlacement.co,uk, for example, were turning to Twitter to advertise. I do think that if we communicate with employers regularly it shows that we are actively seeking them out and making the effort to contact them!
      Great idea about the hashtagging for our course, it would definitely be easier to find and share articles, especially as Twitter is so fast paced and ever changing (its hard to keep up with everyone!)
      Thanks for your comment,
      Georgia

      • Oups.. Didn’t receive the notification that you had replied. However, if everyone did use twitter in their degrees the few of us that do already wouldn’t have that competitive edge in the job market. (haha)

        – Kaya

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