Having an online or digital profile is becoming very important as more and more people go online to research and look for employees and contractors.
Having a digital profile allows you to showcase your work to a global audience. Your digital profile also allows other people to find you. Evolving technology is also allowing your skills and experiences to be openly and transparently endorsed by third parties, something which is not possible through a traditional CV or portfolio of work.
LinkedIn, digital portfolios (or eportfolios) and open badges provide excellent online spaces for you to gather evidence about your abilities and achievements to showcase to different audiences.
People often wonder which one of these digital profiles they should have, when really they need to have a variety of digital profiles in 2014 and beyond to ensure they capture and carefully manage their whole professional profile. So here is some information about the three digital profile forerunners:
LinkedIn is a public, outwardly facing digital profile that allows you to present your CV online.
LinkedIn digital profiles rank highly on web searches, and people within your LinkedIn network can ‘endorse’ the skills and experiences you have listed on your LinkedIn profile. Coupled with being able to post useful and thought-provoking “updates” and writing long-form posts to share information which supports your credibility, LinkedIn also enables you to develop a large professional online network which compliments your Facebook online social profile.
LinkedIn is a great space for having open reflective dialogue through online conversations and questioning with colleagues on a variety of topics via the various industry / topic specific LinkedIn Groups.
Your LinkedIn digital profile, however, is very linear as your information is presented as a ‘scroll of death’. LinkedIn also ‘owns’ your digital profile, meaning that they decide the types and formats of information you can include in your profile, and how much of that information you can share and where it is placed on your profile. You are also limited about the level of control of what information you can share about you and with whom – ie it’s either all or nothing on what the world can see about you on your LinkedIn profile.
Digital Portfolios or Eportfolios
Digital or eportfolios compliment your LinkedIn profile beautifully, as they are generally a private, inwardly facing digital profile which allow you to create collections of evidence using a range of formats (text, audio, video, embedded code, RSS etc) using a multitude of layouts or templates.
Digital portfolios can be created using freely available online DIY websites (like WordPress, Weebly or Google Sites) or using a dedicated eportfolio tool (like Mahara, PebblePad or Digication).
A digital portfolio tool allows you the freedom to be create a digital profile with a visual impact not currently being offered by LinkedIn. A digital portfolio is also a great space for private reflection linked to formal learning or continuing professional development (CPD). Dedicated eportfolio tools are usually provided by an educational or professional body, so your information remains private and usually contains no advertisements.
Dedicated eportfolio tools also allow you the functionality to limit who sees what parts of your information, and for how long. They as well as allow you to reuse and re-purpose your information to develop customised online professional profiles for different situations ie job applications, grant applications, demonstrating professional standards/CPD etc.
Open badges offer a visual representation of a person’s achievements. The “killer” aspect of open badges is the ability to be able to store meta-data or information about:
- the person who has received the badge
- the criteria of what the person has achieved and when
- who issued and/or endorsed the badge, and
- in some instances an ‘expiry’ date of the badge (excellent for licensing or CPD where re-assessment is important)
Research and discussions are currently being had about the ways open badges can enhance a person’s digital profile by offering recognition of prior learning (RPL) or credit towards formal qualifications. In the meantime, open badges are providing an excellent way of recognising and profiling all sorts of achievements.
As you can see, your digital profile in 2014 should be made up of a combination of online sources of information, some that give you exposure to a wider audience, some that allow you to control who sees what and when, and some that offer you the scope to have your information credibly endorsed by others online.
To hear more about what should your digital profile look like in 2014, as well as how people are using digital/eportfolios and open badges, come along to the 2014 Eportfolio Forum and Workshops at La Trobe University (Bundoora Campus, Melbourne) on 1-2 October.