An Authentic, Professional Online Profile.

I am Andy Sugden. Andrew, to be precise, but Andy is the name I’ve chosen to be referred to as. The one issue with this and creating a successful online profile is that I’m unlikely to ever reach the top page of a google for ‘Andy Sugden’, those spots generally being taken by sites relating to the Emmerdale character of the same name. My Twitter account, @AndySugden, has just crept into the second page of results though, so there’s a start.

Andy Sugden vs. Andy Sugden. If we ever had to fight, I wouldn't fancy my chances.

Andy Sugden vs. Andy Sugden. If we ever had to fight, I wouldn’t fancy my chances.

Creating an authentic and professional online presence though has more about it than being top of search results. For a start, it’s incredibly important when job hunting to not have anything on your profiles that may land you in the ‘reject’ pile. As the Wall Street journal reported over two years ago, a survey of 2000 employers found that 44% would immediately reject a candidate who had badmouthed a former employer or colleague on a social media site. A recent study (Scott, Sinclair, Short & Bruce, 2014) showed that in general, we see a person who has made spelling mistakes on Facebook as less employable, so even if you do not earn an immediate rejection for bad behaviour, it may well tarnish your chances of being the outstanding candidate.

Authentic is an interesting word in this situation as well. At the end of the day, companies are looking to recruit people with ideas who can get along together, rather than a team of robots spouting the same platitudes day after day. Twitter is a fantastic resource for employers, and for job hunters if we understand how to use it as well. If we are authentic online, can post articles we are interested in and showcase opinions that aren’t divisive or extreme, we can show that we aren’t those robots and that we can be a very useful cog in the team we wish to join.

Realistically, building an authentic professional profile online is all about being the best bits of us, showcasing our skills and talents to some extent, while making sure we don’t show anything that could lead to us being dumped straight on the ‘reject’ pile.

References

Google (and ‘LMGTFY’, sorry to anyone who clicked that!).

Kwoh, Leslie, 2012. Beware: Potential Employers Are Watching You, The Wall Street Journal.

Scott, G. G., Sinclair, J., Short, E., and Bruce, G, 2014. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 17(8) doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0584.

P.S. I hope no-one ever Googles me and presumes I burnt down a barn and killed my adopted mother.

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9 thoughts on “An Authentic, Professional Online Profile.

  1. Showing the best bits of us is often a good approach, but I want to know how you think we can do that without showing off? Perhaps an alternative (or answer) to this, and one I’ve attempted to highlight in my blog post is the idea of your online ‘brand’. I suppose what I mean by this is showing different, but good bits of you. So the use of an about.me page with a short bio or introduction can act as a kind of directory and showcase for your Twitter, LinkedIn and blog (they are all linked from the page). That way, whilst it shows your ‘best bits’, it goes about it in an indirect way. It’s all there but takes a minor bit of effort and curiosity on the part of whoever might be looking at your about.me, to explore you. I think it gives a more rounded picture of you and your brand, and gives several more angles to you than just a LinkedIn page for example. Would you consider this a viable way to demonstrate your best bits whilst also avoiding the grey area of seeming to show-off? Or do you see it as being overly complicated?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think showing off is necessarily the right way to show the best bits of ourselves. By that I just mean to maybe slightly censor ourselves, make sure we do not show any behaviours that are undesirable, whilst ensuring that we are still people, having conversations and keeping the account personal.

      As someone who has always found Linkedin rather overrated (a very long rant that the first draft of this blog post almost accidentally became), I think an about.me for me would only link to my Twitter anyway, and realistically I’d rather maintain a passively solid online profile rather than using it to my ‘advantage’. The whole idea of a ‘personal brand’ is one I’m really not a big fan of.

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  2. Andy,

    It’s refreshing to know that you’re not the Andy that burnt down a barn or killed your adoptive mother, however it does make your Google search relatively Hollywood compared to my own!

    As you have done, I make the presence one has on social media integral to developing a successful online profile. Often it is the first impression employers get of the real you (I can’t really count CVs) and is therefore vital that you come across in a good light, with no embarrassing pictures or poorly spelt posts.

    I was wondering how else you have developed an online profile? The topic last week was multiple identities; could any other of your identities be used to help your employability? I myself would use LinkedIn but as you’ve shot that down in the comment before I was curious as to what your alternative would be

    Adam

    Like

    • I think, unfortunately, the is the topic where I’m basically going to be shooting down everything! The fact is, for most areas of employment (discarding marketing etc. which DO rely heavily on online presence/gimmicks etc.) the CV (or nowadays, online application process) is still the key to getting the interview. Stats that say CVs are looked at for merely seconds are usually based on times jobs haven’t been advertised and especially not when a candidate looks like a potential interviewee.

      My position is that a successful professional profile online will, in general, stop you being turned down, rather than you getting the job on it and it alone.

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  3. Hi Andy,
    You have stated the importance of censoring the bad bits of ourselves online as to not land in the ‘reject’ pile. What are your thoughts on the idea that there is less freedom on the internet nowadays now that what we do online potentially has a huge carry over to our professional world? Do you think the word “social” in social media has become more redundant now that some people’s only intent to be online is to make themselves presentable? Or as a Psychology student, do you think it is all based on perspective?

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    • Well yeah, I’d agree with that to an extent. Certainly, I’ve found people have told me upon looking at my Twitter to be ‘less political’. It’s tough, because pretty much any genuine opinion you can offer has the potential to put someone off you, but I feel if you can pick and choose the right ones, you’ll probably only be eliminating the people you never really got on with anyway!

      Like

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