Today, professional experience and qualifications determine entry into a given career. The two elements also affect the ultimate growth of one’s professional life. The rise of the internet age has brought in a third important factor. To this end, it is noted that increased digital presence improves the chances for a career growth. According to Aragon (2003), an online presence is needed to boost the chances of being scouted or recruited into a particular company. In light of this, it is important to note that increased social networking improves an individual’s online presence. The current essay is written against this background. It is a comparative analysis of two LinkedIn profiles.
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The essay will compare my personal LinkedIn profile with that of Mr. Christian DeFaria. The latter is the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa. According to O’Murchu, Breslin, and Decker (2004), benchmarking against seasoned professionals is an easy way of improving an online presence. In this regard, the comparison will outline the necessary components of a profile needed to achieve the objectives set above. Inclusion of these elements in my profile will immensely improve my online presence.
The online community is interconnected by the many social networks existing today. In most cases, such networks as Facebook and Twitter are used to pass information and share experiences among friends and other internet users. In the professional circles, LinkedIn and such other sites are emerging. The objective of such platforms is to connect professionals around the world. In the book 32 Ways to be a Champion in Business, Johnson (2009) is of the view that networking is an integral aspect of professional development. In light of this, LinkedIn is seen as a platform through which professionals can endorse each other’s skills. The potential of this profile in this field is quite immense to the extent that it may phase out resumes and CVs in the future.
Profile Pictures and Professional Networking
A profile on LinkedIn is similar to a conventional resume in the sense that it sells an individual as a brand in the market. In this case, a profile picture is necessary as it enhances the appearance and appeal of the individual owning the profile (O’Murchu et al., 2004).
When compared to the profile owned by DeFaria (n.d), it is apparent that my account fails to catch the attention of a potential visitor or employer. At look at his page reveals that DeFaria (n.d.) has posted a photo that gives an outline of his entire body or physical appearance. In contrast, the photo on my profile is fuzzy and lacks clarity in detail. As a result, it is impossible to identify the person who appears on my profile or connect the image to me.
As already mentioned, a picture is an important means of promoting an individual as a brand. Smith and Kawasaki (2011) are of the opinion that a professional profile requires a formal outlook for it to appeal to the visitor. In line with this, DeFaria (n.d.) has posted an image of a smart and presentable person. The formal outfit goes on to add a professional flair to his brand as a person. On its part, my profile picture does not suggest any form of professionalism or intellectual presence. Perhaps, one of the main reasons is that I took the picture myself, something that may explain its low quality. Such kinds of pictures fail to outline most of the features of an individual.
Summary of a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn provides an opportunity for an individual to give a general overview of their professional career path and background. O’Murchu et al. (2004) point out that many people do not like the idea of developing self-summaries to promote their brand. However, Smith and Kawasaki (2011) suggest that such paragraphs optimize the chances of finding an individual online. An example is given of a recruiter who is interested in an “advanced Mandarin speaker”. Such key words, if present in one’s summary in the profile, will boost their chances of being recruited by the potential employer.
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A comparison of the two profiles reveals a worrying scenario on my part. Whereas DeFaria (n.d.) has a clearly defined summary, I have not indicated anything of the sort on my account. Smith and Kawasaki (2011) point out that such self-summaries are meant to highlight skills and capabilities that are in possession of the individual owning the profile. To underscore this point, Smith and Kawasaki (2011) make reference to the LinkedIn CEO, who argues that people can easily be found online based on their skills, ambitions, and aspects they intend to accomplish in life. A summary improves the chances of having an individual appear near the top of the search results generated after a set of key words are used in the process.
Experience and LinkedIn Profiles
The background of a professional profile gives a history of one’s work experience. My profile simply illustrates the languages I am proficient in. However, unlike me, DeFaria (n.d.) clearly outlines his work experience and such other qualifications. Aragon (2003) argues that there needs to be some form of chronological order in the outline of an individual’s work history and experience. DeFaria (n.d) adheres to this concept by outlining his work history from the earliest to the most recent.
The experience of an individual convinces a potential employer that to they are in possession of the capabilities needed to handle specific tasks. O’Murchu et al. (2004) argue that experience does not necessarily translate to the time spent in employment or such other career pursuits. Beginners in a given career path can outline their activities while still in school prior to graduation. For instance, time spent volunteering is considered as experience in the job market. I have some form of experience that could have been included in my online profile. Failure to indicate the experience is one of the factors that contribute to my low presence on the internet.
Professional Endorsements and Online Presence
LinkedIn provides professionals with the opportunity for to outline their skills and qualifications. Smith and Kawasaki (2011) suggest that skills can be endorsed as a show of confidence on the individual. However, one cannot receive endorsement if their network is small and restricted to a particular group. DeFaria (n.d.) has a lot of endorsements on all the skills he has posted on his profile. Unfortunately, my profile has no endorsements at all. Such a scenario speaks volumes to potential recruiters who may come across my online account.
Acquiring endorsements requires one to increase their activity or presence within their network, however small or large it may be. Johnson (2009) talks of reciprocation as a way of benefitting from professional networks on the internet. In this regard, one is expected to take some time to approve the skills of other people in their network. The people who have been endorsed will respond in kind by supporting the qualifications of the individual. The result is a network of professionals who have confidence in each others’ skills and capabilities. Such a move acts as a vote of confidence in relation to the capabilities of a professional.
Headlines, Online Resumes, and Professionalism
Companies use catch phrases to attract consumers to their products. The same is true if one is to reel in potential recruiters. According to Aragon (2003), profile headlines act as bait to interested parties. A comparative analysis of the two LinkedIn profiles reveals that none of us seems to have taken this concept into consideration when developing our respective profiles. A suitable headline has the potential to increase traffic to one’s profile since it makes it irresistible. Mr. DeFaria and I have wasted that opportunity.
Membership to Groups
The internet provides users with various platforms where shared interests can be found. For instance, if one is in the telecommunications sector, there are a number of groups in which they can access membership. Smith and Kawasaki (2011) argue that belonging to various groups increases the chances of individuals attracting more connections and possible recruiters.
A comparison of the two profiles reveals a shocking disparity between them. DeFaria (n.d.) is an active member of multiple groups, while my profile indicates nothing of the sort. According to Smith and Kawasaki (2011), every professional needs to belong to a body in their field. Such membership allows for discussions on how best to improve within a career. To this extent, it is essential for individuals to seek out these professional groups.
Based on the two profiles compared in this essay, it is evident that online presence can be improved through networking. LinkedIn is one of the preferred options in relation to interactions among professionals across the globe. However, a profile alone is not enough to increase one’s presence online. Aragon (2003) points out that many professionals need to undertake a number of initiatives on their online platforms to increase their existence. The following recommendations are made in response to the disparities seen in the two LinkedIn profiles:
- Headliners: A catchy phrase that describes an individual is the ideal bait to hook potential connections. In this regard, I recommend that professional profiles must have a headline.
- Corporate image: In essence, LinkedIn is a marketplace where one’s profession is dissected and analyzed. In light of this, it is important to present a corporate image. As such, I recommend the use of profile pictures where the user is neat and presentable. The use of self-taken photos should be discouraged as they do not reveal all the features of an individual.
In conclusion, it is important to note that an online presence is essential in the current business environment. Johnson (2009) suggests that an online presence is beneficial to employees and entrepreneurs alike. The underlying principle entails acquisition of sufficient networks to boost one’s career. The recommendations made are expected to increase the traffic to the professional profile. The future is shifting to cyberspace and only those with a huge presence will benefit. Every person engaged in employment is required to cultivate a strong online presence.
Aragon, S. (2003). Creating social presence in online environments. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 100, 57-68.
DeFaria Christian. (n.d.) LinkedIn. Web.
Johnson, E. (2009). 32 ways to become a champion in business. Boston: Crown Business.
O’Murchu, I., Breslin, J., & Decker, S. (2004). Online social and business networking communities. Web.
Smith, M., & Kawasaki, G. (2011). The new relationship marketing: How to build a large, loyal, profitable network using the social web. New York: Wiley.
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