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Build Your Professional Profile & Network: Getting Started

Tools and resources for building your professional profile online.


Welcome to the Build Your Professional Profile & Network research guide. This guide outlines factors to consider as you build your professional profile online. It also highlights various tools that can be used to promote yourself and network with others.

What am I hoping to accomplish?

Take a moment to consider your interest in developing your online professional profile and network.

Are you doing it because you want to promote yourself? Find others working in your field and form collaborative partnerships? Because everyone else is doing it?

The answers to these questions will direct where you focus your efforts.

How much time will I need to devote to maintaining my profile?

The answer is, it depends.

Some professional networking tools require a bit of time investment up front, but then "run themselves" fairly successfully. Others allow you no control over content, so the only time you need to spend is reviewing your information or networking with others. Still others are most useful if monitored and updated several times each day.

As with anything, the more you put into your online professional profile, the more you are likely to get out of it.

Review the information on the tabs for each tool on this guide to get a sense of what it will require, and use this information to determine which tool might best suit your time needs.


As you begin developing, or examining, your professional profile online, there are several things you may want to consider. 

  • Where am I? Where are my peers?
  • What am I hoping to accomplish?
  • How much is too much?
  • How much time will I need to devote to maintaining my profile?

Where am I? Where are my peers?

With the veritable cornucopia of social and professional networking tools available, it can be difficult to determine which one, or ones, are most appropriate for YOUR needs.

Each tool has different goals and feature and, therefore, attracts different audiences.

As you cultivate your own profile, look to your colleagues in the field to determine which tools they are using and consider joining the party. For example, unless you're in a band, you might not want to join My Space. 

How much is too much?

Social networking has broken down barriers that formerly protected, and even encouraged, privacy.

With Facebook, you can see what your neighbor ate for breakfast, the traumatic decision your niece is making about what to wear to prom, and that your friend just got cut off on the freewayby someone texting and driving.

These tools can also serve to bring folks with similar interests together, thereby creating a network that may not have otherwise existed. Let's use the subject of privacy and social media as an example. Using LinkedIn, you can identify and join groups focused on topics in privacy and social media, connect with other LinkedIn members who work in this field, and even discover companies and job openings with this focus.

So, how much is too much?


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Mellanye Lackey
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