Crafting a Professional Online Persona
Employers and program directors look at social media profiles to make judgments and get a better sense of their candidates. Therefore, as a job seeker, it is vital to leverage your online persona in a positive manner. You can use social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to stand out as a top candidate.1
Social media platforms existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, but face-to-face networking became significantly limited in 2020. Although face-to-face networking is preferred because it provides multiple means to make an impression, including through tone of voice, facial expressions, mannerisms, and other nonverbal means of communication, the online environment has some advantages. For instance, you can view your own profile or persona. In real time, you can essentially see what everyone else is seeing. You may be clouded by your own perception, but the information is the same. Then, you can take the time to carefully craft what you want others to see.1
Dave L. Dixon and Brent N. Reed proposed a social media strategy in a recent publication in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy titled “To Tweet or Not to Tweet? A Primer on Social Media for Pharmacists.” Dixon and Reed challenge the reader to undertake a 5-step strategy of analyzing, brainstorming, creating, disseminating, and evaluating. The strategy can be adapted to all levels of engagement, from lurking to creating new content and influencing. The process begins with determining your goals and the most appropriate platform to use in achieving them. Dixon and Reed provide several tips for initially creating your professional online persona, including advice on selecting a username or handle and using an appropriate photo and bio. If you want to engage by creating original content and conversations about it, maximize your efforts by planning content, using hashtags, using a conversational tone, and ensuring posts are action oriented. If your goal is to increase your social media following, there are many ways to optimize dissemination of your social media posts. Depending on the platform, there is likely an optimal time of day and frequency for posting. Scheduling tools can help you achieve this goal. Finally, take the time to evaluate your approach, review your social media analytics, and modify your approach and content, as needed.2
Professionally engaging on social media platforms can be beneficial for your future career, but it is also important to continuously evaluate whether participation is helping you achieve your goals and not derailing you from other pursuits. Some disconnection strategies include turning off notifications, moving unessential icons off your home screen, putting your device in grayscale, avoiding devices when in the presence of people, and leaving your device in a room not intended for sleep.1
- Reed BN. Power of presence: crafting a professional online persona. Presented at: 2020 ACCP Annual Meeting; October 24, 2020; Online.
- Dixon DL, Reed BN. To tweet or not to tweet? A primer on social media for pharmacists. J Am Coll Clin Pharm 2019;2:554-62. Available at https://doi.org/10.1002/jac5.1120. Accessed December 7, 2020.