Prensky puts across the idea of a world moving towards digital enhancement, proposing that increasingly everything we do will be digitally enhanced (Prensky, M. 2009). This can be seen in our professional lives, particularly the recruitment process; a Reppler study found 91% of employers admitted to using Facebook to job screen (Reppler, 2011). The ability to use online presence to enhance ones career is thus made extremely important.
Dan Schawbel emphasises the importance of ‘visibility’ and ‘connections’ online and how they create opportunity (Schawbel, 2009). I believe this can be applied to both the online and offline world, where the more active and connected you are the more opportunities come your way. As the world changes through digital enhancement, visibility may even become more important online than offline, as it breaks geographical boundaries; and people are now able to work across borders. Furthermore, the removal of boundaries via the internet means increased competition and thus the need to be authentic and unique is maximised.
Authenticity is important to recruiters as they invest in you, they need you to be accountable and competent in the abilities and skills you proclaim to have and personify your online identity offline (Schawbel, 2009). Recruiters will use online material across different media and spaces online to clarify your declarations. Thus it is ideal to back up any statements you make about yourself with pictures, blogs and personal accounts (Harris and Rae, 2011). Digital enhancements have made authenticity even more important. Using complex algorithms, Cambridge Psychologists have found ways to predict, with up to 95% accuracy, “Individual traits and attributes… based on records of users’ Likes” on Facebook (The Independent, 2013).
In addition to the application of well know spaces such as LinkedIn to develop your professional profile, many point to the importance of ‘Personal Branding’ (Harris and Rae, 2011)(Schawbel, 2009). Chris Brogan describes a personal brand as “a mix of reputation, trust, attention, and execution” (www.chrisbrogan.com). Lisa Harris and Alan Rae’s research suggests an array of tools for personal branding including; blogging, video photo sharing, commentary and involvement in others blogs, as well as online and offline social networking. Across these platforms, self-promotion is key, though should be kept humble and backed up with evidence so as not to appear “egotistical or self-superior” (Schawbel, 2009). Advertising ones talents through social networks takes advantage of word of mouth as content which interests people is reposted and spread across audiences, thus your audience and there interests need to be considered and content made relevant. Consistency across your choice of online spaces and media is important as it enhances ones recognition (Schawbel, 2009), making us more reputable and increasing our memorability. Thus, time and effort is required to update your online manifestations, i.e changes made to your LinkedIn profile need to be made across all online platforms.
Ultimately, I believe that the success of ones digital profile lies in the appropriate use of available technologies, with ‘digital wisdom’ (Prensky, M. 2009), to enhance ones own personal abilities and goals.