Building Your Professional Presence Online

Course Description: This course offers advice and tips for building your online presence via social media. 

Learning Objective: The CS associate will be able to construct a professional profile for social media networking that showcases his or her education, experience, and skill set.


Online Resume: Your Professional Profile

Why should you build a professional profile online?

What is a Professional Profile?

Think of it like a “living” resume available with just a click or swipe. It can be posted on a social media page (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn) or as part of your own portfolio website. At the very least, you should include your work history, education, and career goals, but adding personal statements or tidbits about yourself like hobbies and volunteer work makes a profile more personable.

There are many reasons why you would want or need a detailed profile, but the most common reasons are to control your online image and to engage in professional networking. You do not have to be looking for a job to benefit from an online profile. 

Control Your Image

Whether you realize it or not, you already have an online presence. Open up your browser and run a search of your name. Odds are good that some piece of your personal information is out there online.This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you are aware of it and have control over what information others are allowed to access when they run a search of you. One way to do this is to create and maintain a detailed professional profile.


Professional social networking sites provide much more information about your professional history than a traditional resume. 

Furthermore, even if you are not looking for a new job,  prospective clients and employers offering important opportunities can find you!

Additional Reading

Please click the link below to read Laura Shin's informative article about LinkedIn profiles.

Where do I Start?

Two of the most popular websites that professionals use are LinkedIn and Facebook. Most people want to ensure that their professional profiles are separate from their personal social media profiles, which is why sites like LinkedIn are more popular for this purpose.  

Something to Remember...

Separating your personal and professional social media profiles does not prevent your employer from seeing your personal web presence! A quick search could also pull up any of your other public profiles as well. 

According to Pew Research, who is most likely to use LinkedIn and other professional networking sites?

  • Young adults just out of high school
  • People with professional experience and high earners
  • Millennials
  • Seniors ready to retire

As long as I keep my personal and professional profiles separate, my employer will never see my personal social media information.

  • True
  • False

What do I include in my professional profile?

Using LinkedIn

Since LinkedIn is one of the most prevalent career networking sites, we will use the site's current interface for this lesson. The elements discussed below are relevant to other career sites as well. 

Basic Profile Elements

  • Name and contact information
  • Professional photo
  • Work History
  • Education 
  • Skills 
  • Achievements 

(Shown: Screenshot of LinkedIn background section)

Anatomy of a LinkedIn Profile

The front page of your LinkedIn profile is what viewers will see first, so design it for maximum impact. Click on the areas highlighted below for more information.

Tips for a Great Photo

  • Use a clear, professional head shot
  • Make sure you are the main focus
  • Use a recent photo that represents how you look now
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds and props

Stellar Headline

  • Use Search Engine Optimized (SEO) keywords
  • Focus on your talents and skills
  • Provide a "teaser" that reflects the content in your summary
  • Draw interest from reader

Effective Summary

  • The holistic image of you, NOT a resume!
  • Detailed, descriptive personal advertisement
  • Tell the reader who you are, what you do well, etc
  • Include fun details, make it an enjoyable read

What kind of photo should you use for a professional profile?

  • One of your best filtered selfies from Instagram
  • A clear, recent head shot that represents you best.
  • One of your entire family with your face circled
  • Just crop one of the snapshots from Prom night

An effective LinkedIn headline includes

  • Your detailed biography
  • Mission and vision statements from your company
  • An attention grabbing statement with keywords an employer would use to search for someone with your skills
  • Just copy and paste your resume here

You should put your resume information in your LinkedIn Summary.

  • True
  • False


Professional Profiles Summary

This lesson discussed the benefits of using online professional profiles and offered advice for creating an effective profile on LinkedIn. 


Shin, L. (2014, June 26). How to use LinkedIn: 5 Smart steps to career success. Retrieved from