Online Professionalism

by Katelyn S. Irons

Remember that once it’s online—it’s always online!

Set yourself apart from the crowd by knowing how to navigate the line between personable and professional in an online environment. Writers sometimes struggle with knowing how to communicate openly online while still holding themselves to professional standards. Follow these tips to impress your potential employer, favorite author, and anyone else you might meet online.

Words are important. As writers, we typically are more aware of that than others, but it needs to be said: whether it’s a blog or a tweet, put the same effort into professionalism, politeness and godly behavior as you would when talking with a conference speaker or an employer. Because of the permanence of online media, employers still might judge you on the blog you wrote ranting about a bad day or that petty political issue you happened to describe with colorful language.

Professionalism is more than that though. You need to also make sure that your content is of the highest quality because that typo you made or that time that you used the wrong version of you’re/your. Remember: check, check, and double check your work for assured quality. Print out any longer writings like blog posts so you can copy edit on paper. For extra help, have a trusted writer-friend look over your work before you post it.

However, online professionalism is not just dictated by written words. In this age of technology, nothing sticks more in an employer’s mind than unprofessional pictures. People have been humiliated and fired for pictures that they have posted or been tagged in on Facebook or other social networking sites. Any photo that is tagged under your name will be connected to you way into your senior years, so if you wouldn’t want your employers, fan-base, great grandchildren, etc. to see it, don’t post it. If you absolutely have to post goofy photos of yourself that you would rather not share with everyone, use a private account and only share with your friends and family.

The important thing about photos is that they are a visual, humanizing element that you really do want to utilize. Photos help you present yourself as professional, likeable, and personal. According to LinkedIn, “Adding a profile photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in searches.” When you’re looking for a job, that is the kind of edge you want! Make sure that your photo is up to date, shows that you know how to dress professionally, and is the same over all of your accounts. This helps put a face to the name when someone finds you online.

The vital thing to remember is that the internet expands your audience exponentially. You are speaking to people who follow you right now, and also to those who will search for you in the future.

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