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Build a Professional Digital Identity

What does your online digital presence say about you?

Professional Social Media

It is very common for professionals to maintain an active social media and web presence relating to their careers and professional activities that is separate from their personal online identity. This is especially true for academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs, but it is also true for other types of professionals.

This type of persona may include these pieces:

  • Professional website
  • Professional Blog
  • Professional Twitter persona, or Facebook page, or Instagram profile, etc.
  • Presence on general Professional Social Networks such as LinkedIn
  • Activity on specialty professional forums such as that of the Chronicle of Higher Education, etc.
  • Activity and sharing on Social Research Networks such as Mendeley

The key is to curate and connect your presence on these sites to all of your other professional profiles and activity, AND use it to connect to your peers and professional community.

Elements of a Professional Profile Site

Some professions expect you to have a personal website, and some do not. Most academic researchers or faculty do have such a site, typically on their employer's website. You may also create an independent personal page on a free services such as WordPress. The point is to have this site appear high in the search engine results and push down any useless or outdated results.

Your profile will typically include at least these basic elements:

  • Your Name
    • Use your professional name, including all earned degrees and letters
    • If you can use your name as your domain or blog name, do so
    • Make sure that people are able to figure out that you are you
  • Your Face
    • Include ONE to TWO current professional but pleasant pictures of yourself 
      • Note: If you have received a professional award, you can include a picture of yourself receiving it. Do not include things such as the time you won the university egg-and-spoon relay race, however
    • Do NOT include pictures of yourself at casual parties, engaging in hobbies, or (especially) selfies
    • If you have a blog attached to your site, include pictures of yourself at professional or volunteer events behaving in professional ways on that blog
  • Your Curriculum Vita or Resume
    • Include the information from your vita in brief - your education, your professional connections and history, organization memberships, etc.
    • Include a downloadable PDF of your complete CV
      • NOTE: Be sure to remove your address and telephone number from this downloadable CV, or to replace it with your professional address and telephone
    • Include a linked list of publications, presentations, awards, grant funding, etc., if applicable
  • Your Connections
    • Include links to your professional network profiles, associations you belong to, our professional communities, your university departments, etc.
    • These profiles are the most detailed and useful part of your online professional identity - and for some professions, they only ones you need