Tell Your Story - Impact & Engagement: Professional Identity

For researchers, scholars, teachers, extension agents, students, and others, this guide highlights options to share your work and get to know others with like interests.

Online Presence and Identity

Professional Identity: Who are you online?

Defining and managing your online professional identity is often as important as defining and managing your in-person professional identity in today's digital age. However, the myriad of options available to promote yourself can be overwhelming, and it can be frustrating to navigate and even more frustrating to maintain several profiles, especially if you have to input the same information more than once.

This page will breakdown methods to efficiently maintain your profiles and how to be informed and selective about which platforms you choose.

Being proactive in choosing and managing how your online presence connects with your background (education, experience), your interests, and your accomplishments will affect how you communicate and network with others.

Follow the steps on this guide:

  1. Step One: Investigate and Invest in Your Online Identity
  2. Step Two: Explore Scholarly Profiles
  3. Step Three: Develop and Maintain Online Profiles

Investigate yourself Online

scientist with giant bug shadow

Step One: Investigate and Invest in Your Online Identity

Before you begin investing time and energy into your online professional identity, you will want to determine who you are online.

  1. Search online for your name (and name variants) - what do you find? Try Google, Yahoo, and others.
  2. Consider and select key characteristics, accomplishments, skills, and values that you wish to communicate about yourself as a professional.
  3. Explore options and identify goals that you would like to accomplish to improve your personal brand and your professional identity

Explore Options

Step Two: Explore Scholarly Profiles

To discover more customized ways of sharing your work and networking beyond this list, talk to your colleagues and search for their online profiles. You will want to explore the Profiles and Networking page next to begin setting up your profiles.

No one wants to enter the same information twice. It's recommended that you follow these recommendations, especially if you produce and/or publish scholarly works.

  • Maintain profiles for citation and publication accuracy
    • The most important profile is an ORCID iD! This provides you with a unique author identifier so that you get credit for all your work. Check out the Profiles for Citation & Publication Accuracy box on the next page to learn more.
    • Tip: Check out this handy guide on setting up and linking these types of profiles and more to improve your online scholarly presence.
    • Think of your ORCID iD as being the core of your scholarly profiles. If you maintain your ORCID iD, the other profiles will usually update automatically and/or can be easily integrated.
  • Establish an online presence to showcase your work
    Note: typically more time-consuming than other scholarly profiles.
    • Professional websites can be especially advantageous to scholars in the arts, humanities, and performing arts.
    • Kudos, a scholarly profile platform, allows you to promote your work and provide summaries of your works in layman's terms. It also acts a science communication tool.
    • Blogs, podcasts, vlogs, and other tools of communication can help you establish a stronger online presence as a scholar and a professional. You can also write blogs for others (such as a society's or a group's blog in your field) if you do not have time to maintain and promote your own blog.
  • Get active on academic social media platforms

Tips & Tricks for Online Profiles

Step Three: Develop and Maintain Online Profilesconsistency is key (with image of key)

  • Be consistent across profiles.
  • Keep information on hand for setting up new tools or profiles, such as in a Word doc. Update your standard files set when needed, then update your accounts / profiles across all platforms.
    • Username
      • Unique, short (aim for one to use on Twitter), include your name: first, last, nickname
    • Photo
      • Make it a photo of you, preferably a current, professional quality headshot
    • Bio
      • Create 3 bios to have on hand
        1. 140 characters (Twitter)
        2. Paragraph
        3. Long form
      • Consider essentials for all three, especially if you need to distinguish yourself from others with the same name, so that those looking for you will know they’ve found the correct ‘you.’
      • Tailoring a bio to a particular profile or community is key, but there is likely some essential information you can carry across each one to help others see the connections between them.
    • Works / Accomplishments
      • Identify a place or places to host work that you’d like to share, such as conference papers, posters, or projects.VTechWorks, VT's institutional repository.
      • See Share Your Works & Accomplishments for more information.
    • Professional Associations
      • Most associations have profile areas, use these to your advantage.

Research Impact Coordinator

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Rachel Miles

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