Available literature demonstrates that the use of online professional networking comes with obvious advantages, particularly in this era where many professionals and businesses rely on information and communication technologies not only to communicate but also to conduct business. The foremost advantage of online professional networking is that it can enhance an individual’s visibility online because it provides networking contacts with critical information beyond what could be included in a traditional resume.
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Another advantage is predicated upon the fact that online professional networking has assisted individuals to build their professional brand, hence enhancing their potential for getting professional opportunities such as being employed by reputable global firms (Chi & Gursoy, 2009; Donelan et al., 2009). Online professional networking is also known to leverage individual and organizational competitiveness as well as facilitate valuable connections, hence avoiding a situation whereby people and organizations are outdone by better-connected, hyper-networked associates and competitors (Kriescher, 2009).
Some of the disadvantages of online professional networking, according to Donelan et al (2009), include exposure of potentially sensitive information, risk of falling prey to online scams, exposure to cases of online harassment and cyber-stalking, and lack of anonymity in that most online professional networking sites require users to input their name, location, age, gender, and other personally identifiable information.
Donelan, H., Herman, C., Kear, K., & Kirkup, G. (2009). Patterns of online networking for women’s career development. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 24(2), 92-111.
Kriescher, M. (2009). Professional benefits of online social networking. The Colorado Lawyer, 38(2), 61-64. Web.