Professional Online Identity: Annoyance or Opportunity?

While in Topic 2, I discussed how the ability to have an anonymous online identity can be positive, as it encourages engagement in important debate, it must be noted that the importance of having an authentic online identity is, in this day in age, even more important.

This is because it plays an increasingly significant role in recruitment. With 99% of employers using LinkedIn to search potential employees, while 66% use Facebook and 54% use Twitter. [Jobvite], employers can judge our professional capabilities before even meeting us.

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Indeed, with today’s society being so present on social media- spending on average four hours a day online- it has become very important to employers. And, as the aforementioned statistic shows, this doesn’t only include our favourite ‘professional’ site, LinkedIn, but the likes of Facebook and Twitter too.

As soon-to-be-graduates, what does this mean for us?

On one hand, it is a scary thought. According to surveys, more than 70% of employers have stated that they’ve ruled out a job candidate because of something negative they found online [Dumas]. This piles on the pressure, as social media becomes a platform that must be constantly checked for anything that could deter employers. The case of Justine Sacco demonstrates just how damaging one act- in her case a “stupid tweet”- can be.

But this is looking at it with the glass half empty. Yes, the importance of social media for recruitment can be daunting, but we must see it as an opportunity to showcase our potential employers what we’ve got to offer. While previously, our chances on getting this or that job would have sat just on one CV and one interview, now we can take advantage of social media to- well- show off.

As an aspiring journalist, I try to use social media to my advantage, by both posting links to articles I’ve written and by sharing published stories that I find particularly interesting. Additionally, I use both LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with professionals in the industry to develop my journalistic networks.

One thing I would like to do more of having read up on it in my research for this topic, is blogging.

The Employable describes how blogging can help you get a job, as it shows passion, dedication, motivation and creativity, and also demonstrates ability to write well, as well as keeping you in the loop ad making you stand out.


Photo credit: Chris Olin via Flickr

While, like many, I have a travel blog, plus this blog for the UOSM2008 module, I believe that maintaining a professional blog that discusses and shows my passion for the industry I want to go into could really help in my job search. It may well be the same case for you!

To round things off, I’ve created a prezi (for the first time!) to sum up my thought processes about Topic 3.

I’ve had feedback telling me that the Prezi isn’t working! If this is the case, this link should take you there:

Don Tapscott, ‘Five ways talent management must change’, World Economic Forum <;

‘2014 Social Recruiting Survey’, Jobvite <;

Michelle Dumas, ‘Infographic: How to improve your online identity and personal brand’

Jon Ronson, ‘How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life’, New York Times Magazine, <;

‘How blogging can help you get a job’, The Employable, <;


12 responses to “Professional Online Identity: Annoyance or Opportunity?

  1. Hi May,
    I found similar findings as I did my research for this topic. I completely agree with you that employers are looking at social media sites to find more about employees and hire them also LinkedIn is the main one and then facebook, twitter etc.
    Your blog is quiet informative and one of my favourite part of your blog post was “70% of employers have stated that they’ve ruled out a job candidate because of something negative they found online” This is an interesting point and does persuade towards authenticity and being professional online and not posting something stupid that will let you down when It comes to employers searching on you in order to hire you for the job you are after.

    You have mentioned about todays society being present online and spending about four hours per day online. Personally in a day, on average how long are you present online and are all your profiles on all social networks up-to-date?


    • Hi Namat,

      Yes, that 70% is quite shocking! It just goes to show how important it is to maintain an authentic online identity, avoiding anything that could deter potential employers from hiring us. It would be awful to be turned down from a job due to a mere photo or comment!

      In response to your question, I personally probably spend even more than four hours online. As Editor of the student newspaper (Soton Tab), I find myself on the Internet a lot- whether it be editing and publishing articles, speaking to my team or researching information.

      Saying that, even if I wasn’t in this role I think I’d still spend a lot of time on the Web, as the Internet is where I keep up to date with the news and where a lot of communication happens in this day in age.

      I do try to keep my social networks up to date, as I’m eager to impress any potential employers who may be looking at them. What about you?


  2. Hi May,

    I enjoyed the smooth transition from Topic 2, and the fact you underlined the importance of authenticity. I definitely agree with this argument.

    Your thoughts on using a blog to help your journalist career are interesting as well, possibly because I also thought about writing :). However, there seems to be a debate whether the blogging is dead already. What seems to be a good argument mentioned in this article:

    is that the focal point of blogging has moved from independent author’s sites to a more consolidated once. This process, in turn, helps authors gain attention.

    So my question is: did you think about where to start blogging? Possibly a more ‘centralised’ writing platform (such as would be a better option than a standalone website?


  3. I forgot to mention: I don’t know if it is just me or a general problem can’t see your prezi embedded.

    I actually struggled with similar issue and did not find any way around, so had to include a link in the post. Prezi seems to be not supported by WordPress. However, I hope you will be more lucky in embedding your presentation and please let me know if you succeed! 🙂


    • Hi Paszcza,

      That Guardian article brings up a really good point about how having an independent author site is perhaps not the best route to go down if one wants to get their writing out there. Like you say, more ‘centralised’ writing platforms, as opposed to a standalone website are far more likely to get people engaged in your writing.

      Interestingly, while I do have my own blog, I hardly really update it anymore. Instead, I focus on getting my content published on news sites. I think personal blogs can be good if someone is doing something out of the ordinary, like travelling the world. However, if it’s a case of getting your writing read and engaging people in it, getting bylines on existing websites is probably the route to go down!

      As for the Prezi, I’ve discovered that you’re right, it doesn’t seem to be supported by WordPress 😦 I’ve now provided a link. A friend of mine has also suggested having a screenshot of the first slide of the Prezi linking to the presentation, which might look more presentable than just the URL link! Do let me know if you find another way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Regarding having a screenshot of the initial slide of a Prezi: that is exactly what I did on my blog – and it seems to work fine!

        And I completely agree with you that it is more beneficial to write for other websites, simply because more people are going to appreciate your work. That certainly is a reasonable strategy!


  4. Hi May,

    I like your positive outlook on authenticity and professionalism. I agree that we should use the Internet and technology to our advantage, an option many soon-to-be graduates of the mid 80’s never had! As a blogger too, every day I come across and learn new things, which provides knowledge and develops professionalism.

    Additionally, I like how you used statistics to justify points you make and I will consider stats when writing my next post. Statistics such as 66% and 54%of employers using Facebook and Twitter makes me reevaluate how I use these sites. I agree that blogs allow you to portray skills that would be listed on a CV but in a creative format. However do you think more people are now just creating blogs for the sake of it and therefore blogs are losing the creative edge they once had?

    FYI, prezi didn’t work for some reason.


    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks- I did find those stats quite striking! They definitely highlight the importance of maintaining an authentic professional identity.

      In response to your question, I think yes, now that blogging has become such a ‘thing’, there are simply so many out there that it can be very difficult to stand out. However, as this article- suggests, the ‘blogosphere’ has actually improved in quality in recent years, as it focuses less on the casual bloggers and more on blogging on more consolidated, ‘centralised’ websites, where content is monitored and is guaranteed to get read.

      Indeed, while I have my own blog, I’ve recently been far more focused on getting my stuff published on existing, widely-read websites, as I think this is more beneficial than having a personal blog that gets very few views.

      Thanks for the heads up on the Prezi!


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