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Dos and Don'ts for Projecting a Professional Image on the Internet

In a previous blog post, I suggested that less than professional content, that you or others post on the Internet about yourself, could have a negative effect on your career as a DBA. In this post, I offer suggestions on how to project a professional image on the Internet.


  • Do separate your professional life and personal life from one another on the Internet. For example, if you have a blog, don't include both professional and personal posts. Instead, create two separate blogs. If you want to share personal content with friends and family, only do so on websites that offer some degree of security, and only allow friends and family to access it. But keep in mind that there is no such thing as absolute security and privacy on the Internet, so still don't include content that you wouldn't want your mother or a potential employer to ever see.
  • Do use your full name whenever you post professional content (forums, newsgroups, blogs, articles, etc.) on the Internet. You want people to be able to easily find you, and the best way to do this is to use your full name as your "personal brand."
  • Don't use a "cute, clever, or funny" alias (user name) to refer to yourself professionally. "SQLSanta," or similar aliases, no matter how amusing, do not make a good impression.
  • Don't post pictures or videos of yourself (or others) that depict anything that could be construed as anything less than professional.
  • Do post professionally-taken portraits so that others can see what you look like.
  • Don't share links to URLs that include potentially offensive content.
  • Do create profiles at professional social networking websites, such as Plaxo.com, LinkedIn.com, SQLPass.org, Google Profiles, and similar websites, and keep them up-to-date. You want people to know about your knowledge and experience, and to be able to easily find you. You don't want to miss out on a potentially lucrative job opportunity.
  • Do keep an updated resume on a job website, website, or professional blog if you are looking for a job.
  • Don't keep a resume on a job website, website, or professional blog if you aren't looking for a new job (otherwise you might be).
  • Don't embellish the truth when completing professional profiles, biographies, or when creating resumes. The truth will always catch up with you.
  • Do help others by participating in professional forums, newsgroups, blogs, and other websites where you have the opportunity share your knowledge.
  • Do keep all forum or newsgroup postings professional, culturally sensitive, considerate, and helpful.
  • Don't engage in forum or newsgroup flame wars.
  • Don't use "adult" language anytime, anywhere.
  • Don't disparage others. If you don't like someone, ignore them instead.
  • Don't write anything on the Internet that you don't want your current employer to see. For example, don't criticize or ridicule them, or share confidential information about your organization.
  • Do assume that anything you post on the Internet will be seen by everyone, and for a long time to come. Once you post content on the Internet, you loose control over it.


Yes, this list may be very conservative, but so are many hiring managers. If you want to maximize your future career opportunities, you want to project your best possible image.

If you have any suggestions for additions to this list, please offer them.



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Posted by Tim Mitchell on 18 December 2008

Brad, good points all.  I'd offer one more:  Don't be the voice of negativity.  We've all come across novice bloggers who have posts that usually start with "Let me tell you what ticks me off about [insert topic here]".  Unless one is a political talk-radio host, the goal should NOT be to constantly complain about how bad things are.  Instead, find ways to turn the negative into a positive:  "Here's a problem I ran into with [some technology], and here's what I did to fix it."  

Posted by Brad M. McGehee on 19 December 2008

Great point, and thanks for replying.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 December 2008

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Posted by Pinal Dave on 15 July 2009

Very nice. I just came across this post today but I think it will be liked my many people I know. Bookmarking and forwarding it.

Kind Regards,


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