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Any public profile is a professional profile
Career and Professional Development

» Online Profiles

It used to be the case...

... that we had online profiles that were either personal or professional. There was Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to communicate with friends and then LinkedIn to communicate with colleagues and other professionals.

However, in recent years...

.... the lines between our personal and professional profiles have begun to blur. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between the two, remember this: Any public profile is a professional profile. Similarly, depending on employers' and colleagues access, private profiles can become an equal risk or asset to your personal brand. Whatever information a current or potential employer may be able to find about you through an online search is a reflection of you and your professional background—in other words, your personal brand.

Personal Branding on Social Media by Karen Leland, Lynda Career Development Library  


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Refine Your Personal Brand

Assess your current state

Assess your strengths, potential and goals. Next, enlist the help from your network to evaluate what strengths and goals they think you have based on your current online profiles and career toolkit. Then, reflect and determine if your strengths and passions are in line with your current professional and online image.

Brainstorm your personal brand options

Choose photos, colors, and a personal story and elevator pitch or tagline about yourself which you would like others to associate with you. Remember to keep it real - people tend to respond strongly to a genuine presence.

The Elevator Career Pitch by James Citrin, Lynda Career Development Library

Get more feedback

Does this proposed personal brand align with your short and long-term professional and career goals and fit well into your strategy

Implement your new personal brand guidelines

This includes your online and physical presence: social profiles, original contact, online portfolios, resumes, business cards, and other fundamental job search materials.

Profile Pictures

  1. Your profile photo should be a clear, front-lit image of your face (from head to shoulders or head to waist). Avoid back-lit photos because they are low contrast, and you want your face to be visible.
  2. The most dynamic profile photos tend to be slightly asymmetrical. Use the Rule of Thirds: if you were to draw a tic-tac-toe board on your profile photo, you would want your face placed at the intersection of the lines on the left or right of the photo, rather than in the center of the board.
  3. Once you have a favorite photo chosen, use the same profile photo across all of your social media accounts so that you will be easily recognized by followers and potential employers. It’s just like a logo for a company – you want people to recognize and remember you!
  4. If you don’t have a high-quality, professional photograph of yourself, be sure to sign up for a Career Preparation Certificate Program, or attend the Chapman's Annual Career EXPO  to get a complimentary one taken.

Online Portfolios

An online portfolio is essentially your digital resume. They showcase your work and skills through samples and visual content and can include more detailed information about your background and qualifications. Many fields—especially those that deal with creative projects, digital media or technology— encourage job seekers and experienced professionals alike to create these portfolios as a way to build their networks and make a name for themselves within the field. In fields where these portfolios might be less common, creating one is a way to stand out from the crowd. Once you’re comfortable with and confident about your portfolio, be sure to include a link to it on your resume and on any other social media sites you have a presence on.

Your online portfolio should include samples of the kind of work you would like to do in the future. For example, if you’re working towards a career as a fiction writer, your online portfolio should include samples of your stories. Additional content that you might find in an online portfolio includes:

  • Graphic design work
  • Fine art samples
  • Photography samples
  • Letters of recommendation or testimonials
  • Certifications and training
  • Lesson plans and learning activities
  • Academic achievements and awards
  • Publications

Popular sites* for building an online portfolio include:


Many of these links are managed by organizations other than Chapman University Always use caution and your best personal judgement when disclosing your personal information. These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Chapman University of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Chapman University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links.

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