What’s this all about then? Topic 3: Building a professional digital profile

Image result for linkedin generic profile
Image 1 (BetterTeam)

As a third year undergraduate, having a professional digital profile has certainly grown in importance recently. I have been applying for jobs over the last few months and having a professional digital profile is essential, if not, a requirement.

So the first thing I had to do back in August was find out the best way to create a professional profile. My father said LinkedIn was a great place to start. Craig Smith claims that a staggering 94% of recruiters use the website to vet candidates (Smith, 2016). This claim is consistent with the findings of the Social Recruiting Survey (Jobvite, 2014) where Facebook and Twitter profiles are also mentioned to be used to vet candidates with 66% and 52% of employers using these websites respectively. Even the University of Southampton encouraged the use of LinkedIn and say it can be great to “increase your visibility”, (Carruthers, 2012).

I was already aware of Facebook and Twitter and had been an avid user of them both for a number of years. One concern I had was the lack of professionalism both accounts had. Having pictures of me drinking alcohol, or comments in which I am controversial don’t cry out ‘Employ Me’. The prospect of becoming the new Justine Sacco did not seem to be a great way to begin my career (Ronson, 2015). But I did know that my profile picture wasn’t the most appropriate for an employer to see, although it would be authentic.

Image 2: A previous profile picture of mine where I (left) am clearly entoxicated.

So I looked for ways to make my Facebook account private and stumbled across the following video.

Fittingly for this module, blogging can also be a great way of creating an authentic online professional profile, having a well-maintained blog demonstrates passion, shows creativity and makes you ‘different from everyone else’, (theemployable, 2014). Blogging was alien to me prior to undertaking this module but my experience thus far leads me to agree with theemployable, especially after being informed first-hand by Nic that a UOSM2033 student was given a job based on her photography work, which she used on her blog. However, I don’t see how I could demonstrate my talents as clearly in my line of study.

From my research it seemed clear that LinkedIn was the best way to create an authentic professional online profile largely due to its great network of employers/employees, its main purpose is for professional use, most employers use it when vetting candidates and even the BBC acknowledge its benefits (Bowes, 2013).


Bowes, P. (2013) Job hunting: How to promote yourself online. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962 [Accessed: 11/11/2016]

Carruthers, R. (2012) University of Southampton: Managing Your Digital Footprint. Available at http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2caea677-5fec-4c1a-9ad3-70320d724655 [Accessed: 11/11/2016]

Jobvite (2014) Social Recruiting Survey. Available at https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf [Accessed: 11/11/2016]

Ronson, J. (2015) New York Times: How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=2 [Accessed: 11/11/2016]

Smith, C. (2016) LinkedIn Job Statistics. Available at http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/linkedin-job-statistics/ [Accessed: 12/11/2016]

theemployable.com (2014) TheEmployable: 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: 11/11/2016]

Video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZYV0HPLw20 [Accessed 01/08/2016]

Image 1 Available at https://www.betterteam.com/linkedin-job-posting [Accessed 12/11/2016]

Image 2 no longer available on facebook. 😉






9 thoughts on “What’s this all about then? Topic 3: Building a professional digital profile

  1. Hi Zac,
    I really enjoyed the balance that you had to your blog post, with both statistics and humorous elements. I think this really engaged the reader whilst still being informative on the subject.
    When referring to your old profile picture, you mention that it’s not the most professional albeit authentic. You seem to have prioritised professionalism in this case. While i agree that its probably the best thing to do, would you consider your current update profile to be as ‘authentic’ now that certain pictures have been deleted? Obviously these photos may have been deemed inappropriate by your employer and weakened your chances of securing a job. With this in mind do you not think that most other candidates have probably done the same? I wonder if this is a problem for employers to understand the true personalities of everyone applying.
    I look forward to your blog post next week!


    1. Hi Hannah,

      In answer to your first question, ‘Is my current profile picture [on Facebook] more authentic?’ I’d say its no less or more authentic than before – both are me being me. Feel free to check it out yourself and give me a poke on Facebook on sometime. https://www.facebook.com/zacwhu

      In regards to what you say about other candidates doing similarly to myself, I’d say the majority would have done, yes. I know many of my friends have deleted photos and comments they have made in the past that may be controversial, have you done the same?

      I think people deleting certain aspects of their lives is a small problem employers face compared to the mammoth task of determining someones direct ability to perform at the job.

      Thanks for the comment, looking forward to the poke 😉



  2. Hey Zac!

    This was an interesting read and I liked your personalising it to your own experiences

    You mentioned not being able to direct blogging to benefit all lines of study, however I think the skills required in blogging are skills that are necessary in any line of work. http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/ explains how blogging demonstrates writing and technical skills and http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/ discusses the demonstration of creativity and ability to dedicate yourself to a task. It requires ability to write concisely and appropriately for all audiences. These are all skills that employers look for, hence regardless of whether what you’re blogging is relevant to your subject, it still demonstrates your evidenced skills as a potential employee.

    You discussed linkedin to great extent, have you personally found linkedin to be useful in forwarding your career?
    You might this article discussing why companies consider Linkedin to show authenticity interesting https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YfIgDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA167&lpg=PA167&dq=authentic+online+professional+profiles&source=bl&ots=1kMMxw5Ab_&sig=isSBNTJxzXzprB_9Un-OAZAZY3U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjsjsymu57QAhWqJcAKHaUUDeA4ChDoAQgaMAA#v=onepage&q=authentic%20online%20professional%20profiles&f=false You could use this to evidence how certain websites (e.g. Linkedin) show more authenticity


    1. Hi Claire,

      I suppose I may have appeared a tad on the cynical side in regards to the benefits blogging could have in some lines of work. I think the point I was making is that perhaps it is more beneficial to some than others, and I have certainly enjoyed blogging so far!

      The article you linked at the bottom of your article really reinforced my ideas that LinkedIn seems to be the best way of creating an authentic digital profile, (certainly in the professional sphere). Nevertheless, I haven’t found LinkedIn to be useful in my searches for employment thus far.


  3. Hi Zac,
    First of all I really enjoy your initial use of statistics and the application of them to what people have mentioned to you, ie your father and the University. I wanted to draw attention to the way you viewed your activity in Facebook pictures as unprofessional. Given that it is a social media site and that your antics were indeed ‘social’ do you think that the social aspect of these sites is diminishing the older and individual gets. Meaning that despite an increase in professionalism, a potential decrease in authenticity?
    You go on to mention that from your research ‘LinkedIn’ is the best method for creating an authentic professional online profile. Bar employers statistics, was there anything else which you came across which helped form your opinion?
    I agree with you when it comes to the blog discussion, I also feel that it just increases your internet ‘savviness’ if your line of study isn’t heavily focused on the digital realm.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts.



    1. Hi Alex,

      I received your tweet from you during the week so I was anticipating a comment from you!
      That’s an interesting point you raise about authenticity decreasing as professionalism increases on Facebook. I suppose I agree, removing photos of myself acting unprofessionally removes a slice of the real me – The authentic me. that said, deleting a photo I deem inappropriate for an employer to see doesn’t make my profile less authentic per se, I’d say it’s merely less revealing. It’s not as if I’m posting staged photos of myself partaking in activities that I wouldn’t normally do.

      In regard to what has helped me formulate the opinion of LinkedIn being the best choice, obviously the statistics played in a key role in me drawing that conclusion, although I’d say my personal experience of using recruitment websites such as TargetJobs and GuardianJobs, the job advertisement often have a LinkedIn hyperlink on them, so I was very aware of the presence LinkedIn has in the professional digital world.



      1. I completely agree that the ‘filtering’ of certain images off social media sites is essential to keep your profile professional. Moreover that everyone has images they do not want sharing with a potential employer and therefore this ‘filtering’ provides users of social media sites with the relevant tools to effectively take down the pictures they want to. It is effectively a ‘slider’ scale. Those applying to roles in government for example may want to get rid of any and all pictures which could be ‘unprofessional’. Where as an individual who plans on working in a small family business may not care as much. Obviously it is subjective to an individuals preferences, coupled with their ideas on what a future employer expects. I was wondering whether the jobs you looked at helped you decided what you thought that they expected of you?


      2. I am definitely towards the end of almost complete censorship. I went through my facebook and removed or/and untagged myself from anything I deemed immature or inappropriate with sight on future employment. This was mainly due to the aspect of work I intend to follow, however everyone has aspects of their past they would like to ‘censor’, its useful that on facebook its done with the click of a button. I think it unfair to potentially punish people on their past comments, photos or tweets, hence the arrival at my opinion.


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