Developing your online professional profile: are you still living in the stone age?

‘On average we spend four hours per day on social media, that’s half a working day’ (Nyman, 2014)

So what if instead of simply using these sites to socialise, we are also using them to make professional connections and further our careers? Such use of social media is an incredibly powerful resource, with 93% of recruiters utilising social media to support recruiting efforts (Jobvite, 2014).

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The most popular sites for recruiting are Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. (Jobvite, 2014)

Professional online profiles offer so much more than a standard CV, you have the ability to constantly keep them updated at the click of a button, instantly informing potential employers of additional content. You should ensure all of your online identities portray the professional persona you are trying to present without excluding any form of communication than may assist you in accomplishing this. Your aim is to sell your brand; this is yourself, your own personal brand.

The TEK Talk video above gives numerous tips on how this can be achieved

Through this video and further reading, I have selected some key points that can help develop an effective professional profile:

  1. Your online profiles must be consistent – Include the same full name, username and picture on all accounts. Continuity ensures employers can be sure they are searching for the right candidate.
  2. Professional profiles aren’t just limited to Linkedin and Facebook, blogging can also help you get a job. Blogging about a professional area of interest is a great way to demonstrate dedication, genuine passion and creativity to future potential employers.Typically you are competing against 100-300 applicants for the same job (Nyman, 2014), a blog may be your way of standing out from the crowd.


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Since writing a personal blog post about coffee, I have already made a professional connection with a coffee company
  1. and Linkedin deserve special mention. is a unique site, acting like an online business card, improving your searchability and allowing individuals to easily access your Linkedin, blog and professional portfolio.


Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 09.37.36 allows individuals to access all your social media accounts from one page

Linkedin is the most popular recruiting website, therefore it is important to have a eyecatching profile. Demonstrate passion for your area of interest, join groups, follow companies you admire, connect and network.

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My shiny new Linkedin page!

5. Email signature – this is another form of online business card, everytime you send an email is another opportunity to promote your brand. As a committee member for a medical peer teaching society, promoting the ‘Students4Students’ brand is vital. A brief email signature is one method to help with promotion.

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Our email signature includes information about our next event and allows individuals to access our website or Facebook page in a single click

6. Google yourself – do all the profiles portray a professional persona of yourself? Are there any inappropriate photos or comments? 55% of recruiters reconsidered a candidate based on their social media profile, with the majority of these reconsiderations being negative (Jobvite, 2014). The case of Justine Sacco and this article demonstrate the very real risks of being careless on social media.


Jobvite, Social Recruiting Survey Results, 2014. Available at: [Accessed 8th March 2016].

Nyman, N. (2014) Using social media in your job search. Available at: [Accessed 9th March 2016].

BBC News. (2016). Job hunting: How to promote yourself online – BBC News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 March 2016].

Ronson, J. (2015). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. Available at: [Accessed 8 March 2016].

The Employable, (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. Available at: [Accessed 9 March 2016].

Sherriff, L. (2015) Medical Student Banned From Being a Doctor After Posting ‘I Will Find You’ Taken Quote on Facebook. Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2016].


Reeves, J. (2014) Using Social Media To Promote Yourself (or Your Small Business) | AARP TEK Talk. Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2016]


8 thoughts on “Developing your online professional profile: are you still living in the stone age?

  1. Hi Richard!
    Great post, really informative! I thought your examples of how you’ve improved your social media presence in a professional manner is really good, but I was wondering, as a fellow medical student, how can online professional profiles help you for your future? I can see that you’ve mentioned blogging – have you checked out my latest tweet to the anaesthetist who makes full use of blogging, tweeting, vines and more to reach his followers and gain a professional awareness?

    I was thinking about the drawbacks of an authentic professional profile – we always talk about privacy in our topic discussions so why not again. Developing an online professional (as well as social) presence obviously impinges on privacy, and I found an American guide which states:
    “When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently.  Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate” American Medical Association, 2010.Professionalism in the Use of Social Media.

    If we were all to apply this, surely we would limit ourselves and miss out on opportunities that may have presented if we gave away more information?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Shriya! As you know, being a medical student I am quite lucky that I have a job lined up for me at the end of my degree, especially with the recruitment problems at the moment. But I don’t believe this is a reason not to use Linkedin. This article ( explains the merits of Linkedin for physicians. Yes I just saw your tweet and visited that anaethetist’s twitter page. His blog really demonstrates passion about his speciality and raises important health promotion issues, I wish more doctors would further their professional profiles with a blog. However I think privacy issues are the reason more don’t as mentioned in my previous blog post.

    The AMA make a valid point there, I agree that despite maintaining strict privacy settings, once content is online it is effectively entrenched in your digital footprint and quite difficult to remove. I agree that because of this, we should be very careful what is uploaded onto social media in the first place. However I think you’re right, if we really limited ourselves in this way on social media, we would effectively be preventing ourselves from acting as a digital resident online, therefore missing out on the benefits that this brings.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey Richard,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I was well informed of the topic and learnt a lot from it. I agree that with you about building a personal brand. This is important as you need to build an image of yourself, especially if you’re looking for job opportunities.

    I was also amazed with your connection to the coffee company. I’ve always relied on LinkedIn as a form of promoting my online professional profile and never really looked into blogging as tool until I read Ellis’ post ( From your post, I see now that creating a blog does offer networking opportunities with companies that would allow us to engage in discussions.

    It seems that with increase developments in technology and the growth of social media, it has slowly made the traditional forms of building a professional identity less reliable, i.e. physical CV’s, physical business cards, physical networking events etc. For eg. you mentioned the About.Me as an online business card but does this make physical business cards less important? Do you think that these traditional forms are being replaced or do you think that the platform that social media provides has strengthened traditional forms of building a professional identity?



  4. I didn’t realise quite how many applicants there are competing for the same job – 300 is an unimaginable amount! A google signature is a very unique and innovative device that I have yet to see anyone else mention in their blog posts. In fact, I didn’t even see it crop up in my research, so thanks for mentioning it, it’s definitely worth a go! I also found the Justine Sacco case particularly interesting to read about, it’s shocking to think how quickly a small comment can be all over the news within seconds. You touch upon the important of having an eye-catching profile but have you thought more into how this can be achieved? I made use of a Forbes article in my blog post, which I think you may like to have a read of, here’s the link
    It specifies the methods required to create a stand-out bio on any social media platform!


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