Managing your online presence

In today’s digitally connected world, it’s easier than ever to find information, and for others to find information about you. Up to now your online presence has likely focused on your social activities. In the not too distant future, when you graduate and enter the workforce, your online presence and digital identity will become an important part of your professional identity. Now is the time to start thinking about the online presence you would feel comfortable with clients, colleagues and employers seeing.

When posting information online, think about:

What information is publicly accessible.

How you would feel if someone found this content in 10 years time.

What an outsider might assume about you from what they find online.

Risks of a negative presence

What are the risks of having a negative social media presence?

It could harm your reputation as a professional.

It may have a negative impact on relationships with colleagues and clients.

It may jeopardise your future employment opportunities.

It’s easy to make comments ‘anonymously’ online, however, anonymity is not guaranteed. Even if your account is private, if you comment on a public post or get tagged by a friend, you could be exposed to a wider audience.

Many professionals add disclaimers to their accounts stating that their views do not reflect the organisation they work for. However, you still need to be careful about your comments because people could be offended and report them.

It is good practice to follow the same standards online, as you would communicate and display in person.

3.3.1 Activity - Social media posts

Social media posts are used widely for a variety of reasons. It's important to always consider who your audience is and how your post may be perceived.


You start a volunteer position that is a great opportunity to get into your industry. You befriend the team leader of the program and decide to connect with them on social media. You notice that their profile contains inappropriate photos of them partying with friends and posts complaining about other volunteers in the program. It changes your view of them as a professional.

You start to consider your own profile and wonder what someone might perceive about you if they found it.

3.3.2 Activity - Google yourself

Type your name into Google and answer these questions:

Strategies for improving your online presence

Try the following strategies to clean up your search results:

Identify and remove undesirable content if you can, or contact the person who uploaded it and ask them to remove it.

Create professional accounts that you would like others to find, such as a blog or LinkedIn profile.

Delete old social media accounts so the content is no longer available.

Consider having separate accounts for personal and professional purposes.

Regularly review your account privacy settings. These can change over time and may not be completely private.

Social media tools

While negative online content can have a detrimental effect on your professional identity, social media can also be a powerful tool for self-promotion and professional networking.

Below are just some of the benefits of using social media:

Personal branding: Become known as a knowledgeable and respected professional in your field.

Networking: Connect with other professionals in your industry.

Finding jobs: Discover available positions that aren’t formally advertised.

What social media tools can you use professionally?

There are many different tools out there and their popularity can depend on the type of industry. For example, you might find that in your industry, Twitter is used a lot or that LinkedIn is the primary tool.

Find out about some of the common social media tools below:


A common professional social media tool used in most industries. Through LinkedIn you can create a professional profile, upload your work experience and qualifications, connect with other professionals, join groups and even find a job!


Did you know Twitter can be used as a professional networking tool? Many professionals have Twitter profiles and use it to share industry news and communicate with their peers.

Research Social Networking Tools

If you have career aspirations to continue studying and enter into academia or corporate research, you may want to look at ResearchGate and These websites allow you to connect with other researchers and share research.


Your industry may have other tools they use regularly. Look online to see what you can find.

3.3.3 Activity - LinkedIn

Go to LinkedIn and have a look at professionals working in your desired industry.

Search for a specific company, or a role that you’d like to do, then look at the profiles of people working in those companies and roles. Take note of their skills, qualifications and experiences. Not sure where to start? Try searching Deloitte or Marketing Officer.


 Note: You'll need a LinkedIn profile for this activity. Don't have one? Sign up here!

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