How Professional Is Your Online Profile?

social media
(Credits: Google)

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How professional is your online profile?
Modern recruiters are now using social media as a gauge when evaluating potential employees.
It is now an extra tool they can use to measure and recruit for the best employer-employee fit.
(Dokko, G., Wilk, S., & Rothbard, N. 2008)
“During formal processes like interviews, … candidates tend to tailor their answers to what they
think the interviewer wants to hear.” (Rouen, E. 2011)

Social Recruiting Survey
(Credits: Jobvite)
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In a survey done in 2014, it reveals that 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile.
This number may only get higher over time as more organisations begin to see the advantages this method brings.

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Creating a professional profile
With the advent of social media and ease of tracking an individual’s digital identity,
job candidates now need to take extra care in crafting their own personal profile.
Good personal branding has become increasingly important and critical as recruiters
now take a more active role in looking beyond the traditional CV and application documents.
Job candidates must now know how to promote and sell themselves on the desired platform. (Weiss, M. n.d.)

Below are a few key areas that the candidate need to take note of while
developing their professional profile.

-No controversial posts
-Create a positive image
-Have a good personal brand
-Promote and sell

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Negative Image
A poorly constructed online profile can lead to disastrous results and might even result in termination.
As the society become more tech-savvy, employers can now easily monitor their employee’s
online profile to check for controversial posts that may put the employee or the organisation in a poor light.

filipino-singaporeTTSH1
(Credits: Hardwarezone – Reference below)

In 2014, a nurse employed in a Singapore hospital was found to have made seditious remarks
and was subsequently terminated and charged in a Singapore Court.
http://bit.ly/1KZoLjI
http://bit.ly/1Ryz97o

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Personal experience at public shaming
On a personal note, I was previously employed as a civil servant.
I once succumbed to the temptation of shaming someone online despite not knowing the person.

fb
fb1
(Credits: Edward Ting)

6 hours and 154 shares later, I had a phone-call from the Public Affairs Department of my organisation.
They reprimanded and ordered me to remove the post.
For the next couple of months, I had to attend a few meetings to explain myself.
Needless to say, I had since learnt from this lesson.
What happened was that my image and reputation was affected.

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Conclusion
With social media becoming a huge part of our everyday lives,
we must be extra prudent in the content we post online.
There are now numerous sites that recruiters can use to do background checks.
We must know how to effectively market ourselves online and “story-tell” to our
audience when applying for a job.

The careful crafting of a good online profile can and will help us career-wise.
Websites like LinkedIn can be used to effectively promote.
Time spent developing a good professional profile will help us with our job applications.

Some tips from the “For Dummies” brand on how to develop a professional profile on LinkedIn.
-Establish your expertise
-Captivate your audience
-Write outside the box
-Rightsize, not supersize
-Write robust headlines
-Don’t oversell your versatility
-Don’t overdo self-praise
-Don’t regurgitate your resume
-Don’t be a victim to perilous posting
-Don’t play hide and seek
www.dummies.com

Good use can lead to job opportunities. I used my new LinkedIn profile as an example.
linkedin

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References

Tapscott, D. (2014, October 30). Five ways talent management must change.
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from https://agenda.weforum.org/2014/10/don-tapscott-talent-management-millennials/

How blogging can help you get a job. (2014, October 28).
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/

Job hunting: How to promote yourself online – BBC News – Michael Weiss. (n.d.).
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25217962

Ronson, J. (2015, February 14). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=1

Social Recruiting Survey. (2014).
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf

Nyman, N. (2014, March 13). Using social media in your job search – Web Science MOOC.
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/

Carruthers, R. (2012, August 8). LinkedIn 08 August 2012 at 10:11:02.
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2caea677-5fec-4c1a-9ad3-70320d724655

Social Media Marketing. (n.d.).
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://marketingforprofessionals.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Untitled-12.png

Dokko, G., Wilk, S., & Rothbard, N. (2008).
Unpacking Prior Experience: How Career History Affects Job Performance. Organization Science, 51-68.
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/citedby/10.1287/orsc.1080.0357

Rouen, E. (2011, April 28). Is it better to hire for cultural fit over experience?
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://fortune.com/2011/04/28/is-it-better-to-hire-for-cultural-fit-over-experience/

Pinoy Nurse. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2015.

How to Create Effective and Professional Online Profiles. (n.d.).
Retrieved November 5, 2015,
from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-create-effective-and-professional-online-pr.html

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23 responses to “How Professional Is Your Online Profile?

  1. Hello Edward!
    You might want to consider amending your blog background colour and your font size because it’s a little hard to read 

    Nonetheless, I agree with your point that employers prefer to use social media as a recruitment method as they get a clearer picture of who they really are. However, an applicant might be fictitious during Interviews, but this does not necessarily ensure that they will not be bogus on their social media, right?

    Yes, I totally agree that we should be mindful of our online activities such as comments and photos. In the latest times, I believe that employers have all the abilities and technologies to track our movement on the internet. A misstep may cause someone to lose the chance of getting a job or may even be dismissed from the current job. Anyway, I personally think that you did well by relating your own experience to allow us to understand the impact of wrong actions on the internet.

    Lastly, employers are constantly looking at our social media to determine whether we are suited to the occupational area in question. Therefore, the way we brand ourselves with an online profile affect the chance of securing a job. I agree that we need to sell ourselves, but don’t you think that we should be authentic and honest with our strengths and weakness? Even if we try to hide something, we will still be exposed when we are on the job. Do you agree with my viewpoint of being authentic? 

    Till then! 

    • Actually, I do agree with the need to be authentic.
      Like you mentioned, if we were to make a false report… the truth will eventually just exposed itself with time. We’ll have a lower chance of having that happen if we’re truthful right from the start.
      Then again, since posting this blog last night and having read some of our peers’ blogs… i’ve been thinking about the issue of multiple online identities.
      It would seem that having a singular, authentic online profile will lead to higher security risks. And what about our previous posts?
      Do we delete them and basically ‘murder’ our online selves?

  2. Hello Edward,

    I loved that you used your own comment as an example for how to not behave! It shows that you are honest with yourself and learn from your mistakes!

    You mentioned about not posting about controversial topics at all. I would like to ask if it is necessary to really want to avoid it? Perhaps we can discuss the controversial topic in a way that does not offend others? In my opinion being a Marketeer would mean that we would have to be up to date on controversial topics in society right now. Which means we have to show that we have knowledge on this by posting it in our blogs that our employers would see.

    To illustrate what I have mentioned, Xia Xue, a famous SIngaporean Blogger blogs about controversial topics, BUT she still gets sponsored for to be a spokesperson for brands. Here is a link of her discussion of a controversial topic, homosexuality: http://xiaxue.blogspot.sg/2015/07/gay-marriage-and-all-reasons-to-oppose.html

    Thank you for the very elaborate post 🙂

    • Ms Renu!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      I do agree that discussion about controversial topics can at times, actually show that we are able to think critically about certain issues that matter.
      After all, we shouldn’t be machines that just blindly follow the norm.
      As a marketer, we need to have the ability and capacity to challenge, raise questions and come up with feasible solutions. A blogpost, Facebook post on matters that matter will in these situations, showcase his strength.

      Having said that, it also comes down to what industry that person is working in.
      Take for example, a nurse working in the hospital shouldn’t be commenting about how he had to take care of a patient with bad body odour.
      Or a primary teacher posting photos of her wild outing at the nightclub.
      Those are grossly inappropriate for their situation.
      So what I meant by “controversial posts” are those postings that they shouldn’t have any association with.

      Whereas for XiaXue, she’s not directly linked to any industry.
      Basically, she’s a free agent that can tackle any topics she wants.
      She gets paid for doing what she’s doing.
      However, that is a luxury most of us can’t afford.

      Edward

  3. Hey Edward!

    Your post was really filled to the brim with examples! Thank you for showing us how important is it to watch our behaviour online. This showed the impact social media could have on our careers!

    However, do you think that you placed to much emphasis on what people should and should not be doing on their online profiles rather than discussing how we can develop it? You did bring up good points like using social media and personal branding – but how do we utilise these channels to position ourselves exactly? For example, if I am a fresh graduate, how do i create a personal brand for myself online? Most times, it is easier said than done.

    What kind of content do you think is still alright to upload onto our social media platforms to showcase our personality, without jeopardising our career? I am very curious to know what will you continue to post on your Instgram if your LinkedIn account is linked to it.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Nicole!

      Those are some very good points you brought up!
      Thanks for asking!

      If you think about it, a good online profile and social media goes hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. To form up a good online profile that would not jeopardise job opportunities, we need to look long and hard at our social media. They are usually the first place that recruiters will look at in order to know us better. That’s why I chose to emphasise on it. 😉

      How do I create a personal brand?
      The way i see it, it would be best if we can have a clean slate to start on.
      And since most of us had already sunk in too deep into the world of social media, the best we can do is to review our previous posts and be prudent about our future posts. That will be the start of a good personal branding.

      Perhaps an example would be good.
      A property agent takes a contract to sell a house.
      Problem is that the house is old and dirty.
      He goes in, cleans it up and did a new paint job.
      He decorated and showcases it to the public.
      Now, isn’t it the same for us?
      We need to clean up our mess, redecorate and showcase.
      And good ways of showcasing would be the use of sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

      On your question on what posts we can post?
      Well, take a teacher for example. He shouldn’t post photos of himself going to a nightclub. Or a nurse ranting on how patients are dirty and smelly.
      Other stuff that showcases our intellect and critical thinking should be fine.

      Edward

    • Towards the end of my blog, there’s actually a small link with tips on good branding. In the conclusion segment. Those can definitely help a fresh graduate with the initial branding. 😉

  4. Hi Edward,

    I admire your courage to share your personal experience on personal shaming with us! While we know you mean no harm with your tweet and it was just in a spurt of anger given that it is a sensitive issue with you as you were a member of the SCDF, it resulted in an undesirable outcome.

    I believe nobody is perfect, even future HR managers who will judge us before hiring us. Everyone have their criticizing sides and rants that are unpleasant. While we mean no harm at all, this side of us unfortunately “speaks” the loudest.

    With all these going on, bring back our previous topic, do you think we should in fact have a separate account for our professional and personal life? Of course if we have to post something on a public site, we still need to watch our words but with a private and personal account, do you we think we can prevent unnecessary and untrue judgment about ourselves?

    Cheerios! 🙂

    • Hi Mabel,

      What you asked is also something i keep asking myself.
      We can have separate accounts but then we gotta remember that nothing online is private. Once it’s online, no matter the settings… the people with the right tools will be able to retrieve it.

      So we should still be careful and choose our words wisely. Even if we were to post something on our personal account, it can still find its way into the hands of those we’re trying to keep it away from.

      Personally, i’m trying to only have a professional account from now on..
      But i’m realising the difficulty of it. Sometimes, it’s very hard to draw a line.
      People can also distort the facts and twist our well-intentioned posts into something it’s not. But if the words are wise and leave no room for alternate interpretation, then it should be fine.

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  7. Hello Edward,

    I see that we have something in common with our preferences for modern black design for our blogs 🙂

    Firstly, I would start with a general opinion, I wish you would had engaged me further by elaborating how factors such as no controversial posts and personal branding can be achieved and developed more! LinkedIn had been argued to be ineffective in the recent years as well. What are your views?

    Now, the plus factor of your post: You utilized your working experience and ventured into a different perspective. I do agree that an authentic professional online identity has an even more important relevance towards occupations related to the government sectors from Singapore such as educators, politicians and even army personals! Non government sector wise, entrepreneurs and pastors perhaps?

    What other occupations do you think would require their employees to pay more specific attention to uphold a professional online profile? Do share with me!

    A very good effort! Keep it up!

    • Hello Patrick!

      Well, at the other end of any social media site…
      the user is still another human.
      And humans are prone to lying.
      More so if it allows them to land that dream job.
      Who can check them if they decided to say they were a CEO of a company?
      Or if they decided to introduce themselves as a very outgoing and confident person when they are in fact, the direct opposite?

      This is why sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can only be a tool to supplement the hiring process and not to replace it.
      The traditional interviews, probation etc must still go on.
      It is only during actual work and stress conditions when the true character and attributes of the worker reveals itself.

      Other than those in the governmental and religious sector, i would think that every other industry also have areas that are taboo to them. But perhaps they might have a bit more leeway.

      By the way, your post looks awesome!
      Love the black theme! 😉

      Edward

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  11. Hi Edward,

    What an insightful post based on your past experience! I agree with you that a poorly construct online profile can lead to undesired consequences.

    Just a rhetorical question for you: There’s a thin line between what is acceptable and what is not. For example, portraying a “fun side” of yourself to the employer in context of making funny faces with your friends. You want to showcase fun personality as a personal brand, however it can also be seen by others as inappropriate and informal. We are always being told to be true to ourselves but being wary of what is appropriate to share can be quite burdensome. I was just wondering what is your opinions on how much information should we put out there for our audience and how should we determine the appropriateness of the content.

    Yi Lin

    • OYL,

      Hey i know you said it’s rhetorical but still, good question.
      So i gonna answer.

      Like you mentioned, it can be rather hard to strike a balance on what kind of image you wanna portray.
      My advice is to be true to yourself and to others.
      Portray who you really are.
      Don’t pretend to be someone else.
      Trying to please others is very taxing mentally.
      Showcasing is good but it must be within good limits.

      Abraham Lincoln once said…
      “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

      Sooner or later, what is not strong and built upon solid ground will fall apart.
      You are your own editor before clicking the “Send” button.
      If you think it’s inappropriate and likely to offend, then it usually is.
      Trust your gut. And your past experiences.

      When going into a new workplace, scout out the culture first before making any postings. See what the colleagues are posting.
      Know what is socially acceptable and unacceptable in the organisation.

      Did I answer your “question”?
      😉

      Edward

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