Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Leeds & Institute of Coding's online course, Create a Professional Online Presence. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Sanne Vliegenthart: In this video, you’re going to hear from a number of professionals working in different industries about how the right kind of online presence can really help, and how damaging the wrong kind can be.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 seconds Simon Wright: I’m Simon Wright. I’m the Talent Manager at Viacom International Studios in London. My job is to find people to make TV programmes for Channel 5, for MTV, for Comedy Central, for Nickelodeon, and some other broadcasters, as well. I think more and more employers are looking at people’s social media to find out what kind of person am I going to be employing. And I think that can be the start of a process when people are looking through CVs. They want to get a feel of what that person is like, see if that person would fit in well with the team, with the structure, with the ethos of that particular company. Does this person adhere to our kind of values?

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds Are they representing themselves in a positive way? Or are they leaving themselves kind of wide open to criticism, which potentially, if you’re working in an industry where it’s very kind of outward focused, is that going to damage the reputation of the company by what you’re putting on your social media.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds Hayley Dunlop: I’m Hayley Dunlop. I’m a copywriter for an education charity. In terms of my social media profiles, I’ve got a clear division between my professional and my personal life. For me, as an employee, I use LinkedIn solely for professional purposes. I put my skills and my career on there, whereas my Instagram account, for example, is purely a personal space. It’s a private account. And it has been since I had children. And I find that that’s a really clear way for me to divide up my professional and personal life. I’ve given a lot of thought as to whether or not I want to reference my employer or my social media accounts.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds On Twitter, for example, if you reference your employer, it means that anything you say is linked to your employer and it could reflect badly on them if something you say is perceived negatively. My advice would be to remove any reference to your employer from your public social media profiles unless there’s a need for it to be there. At the very least, you should also have a disclaimer that anything you say on your public social media accounts are your own views and do not represent the views of your employer.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 seconds Gemma Webb: I’m Gemma Webb. I’m the leader of Phonics Stars Croydon, Coulsdon, and Caterham. And we are a children’s activity provider for pre-school. We do learning through play. And we use social media to promote lots of our events, our classes, and give parents the opportunity to do some of the activities at home, as well, through social media. I like to build a reputation online by keeping things nice and clean, nice and simple, very professional on my home profile, as well as my work profile. I have to be very careful not to put too much personality into it. I do have quite a dark sense of humour. So I have to withdraw that sometimes.

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 seconds But, on the positive sides, I can share a lot of my experiences as being a mum, and being a mum of a special needs child. And that helps reach a certain audience, as well.

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 seconds David Levin: I’m David Levin, one of the founders and Creative Director of a social media agency called That Lot. We do social media for lots of brands, broadcasters, and a few celebs. To have an online profile has been absolutely crucial for me. I got into social media by setting up a Twitter account for my local pub during the London riots. It’s a bit of a long story. But it got very popular. And I started being asked to tweet for brands, and broadcasters, and a few celebs, and sort of accidentally became the UK’s first professional tweeter, having been a sort of a writer for many years before that.

Skip to 4 minutes and 6 seconds So I would say definitely, in my case, an online presence is essential, and it has absolutely changed my career and my life. With your own personal accounts, I’d also say it’s worth thinking about when you’re going for jobs in the creative industries, or in advertising, or in marketing, it’s likely that your social media profiles will be one of the first, if not the first, thing that your employers look at. When we’re hiring people now, before I look at any CV, or the covering letter, or anything like that, the first thing I do is go and have a look on their social media profiles. Because it will give you a sense of whether they actually understand social media.

Skip to 4 minutes and 43 seconds So it is worth thinking about what you publish on there, and how you do it. And, particularly if you’re about to go for a job interview or something, having it a little tidy and make sure that what is on there is going to get people interested and excited.

Skip to 4 minutes and 58 seconds Sanne: As you’ve heard, having an online presence of any kind comes with risks and benefits. We’re going to try to help you make the most of the benefits and reduce the risks. What do you think the biggest challenges might be in your online presence? Is there anything in your online presence you may need to reassess?

What does your online presence say about you?

Having a professional online presence matters to employers, employees, and freelancers alike.

Get it right, and it can help potential employers find you, help showcase your skills and experience to the right people, and help you participate in professional networks of value. Get it wrong, however, and it can be embarrassing – or much worse.

Let’s hear from a range of professionals about what a professional online presence means for them.

Share your experience:

Do you have separate social media accounts for your professional and personal life, like Hayley? Share your experience with other learners in the Comments section.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Create a Professional Online Presence

University of Leeds