Whether you are pursuing a career in academia, government, industry, or the nonprofit sector, knowing how to use digital media is increasingly important. Digital media can help you to widely disseminate and publicize your research. Additionally, creating an online professional presence is beneficial for building your professional identity, networking with others in careers that are of interest to you, and creating visibility of your work that can support you in finding jobs within and beyond the academy.

Steps You Can Take

Develop New Skills with Digital and Visual Communication

Building new technical skills and proficiency in digital tools can help you effectively communicate across different types of media. Search the UC Berkeley Class Schedule for courses on digital video production, digital photography, and more. Berkeley students can freely download Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes desktop and mobile applications like Photoshop and Illustrator, used for designing and editing media including photography, video, and graphics. 

To communicate with broad audiences, it can also be useful to use digital tools to present your research and ideas in a visually compelling form. You can post videos on YouTube and publicize them through Twitter or on blogs. To learn more about visual communication, see “Scholarship Beyond the Word,” (Educause Review 2015). 


Contribute to Blogs and Social Media

Don’t wait for others to discover your research and understand its potential applications. Consider contributing to group blogs or using Twitter to share your expert opinions on current issues and start your own web presence. At the same time, remember that material published online is hard to erase—so think carefully about what and how much to share. See the webinar “Twitter: How to Win Followers and Influence People” from the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (2019) for more on using Twitter as an academic.


Establish Professional Profiles on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and Discipline-Specific Forums

As you explore different career options, be sure to refine your online presence. This can help ensure that you are recognized as a subject-matter expert by potential employers, colleagues looking for participants in projects and conferences, people conducting research across disciplines, or members of the media.

You can participate in events hosted by the Career Center and Beyond Academia to help you develop your professional profiles on websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, ResearchGate, and Academia.edu. Beyond Academia often holds a professional profile clinic in the Fall semester, where you can receive feedback on your LinkedIn profile and get professional photos taken. Also see “How to Curate Your Digital Identity as an Academic,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2015) and “How to Overcome What Scares Us About Our Online Identities,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2014).

LinkedIn is a powerful tool not only for the job-search, but also for networking and effectively communicating your skills. For example, by posting examples of computer code you have written, a video of you teaching, or a short article, you are demonstrating your skills to your LinkedIn networks. Consider following this comprehensive guide to LinkedIn for PhD grads as you develop your profile and see the Berkeley Career Center site on “Using LinkedIn.”

You may also wish to consider establishing a personal website, an arena in which your sphere of control over content is greatest. For a primer for graduate students on creating your own professional website, see “Where to Begin With Building a Website,”Inside Higher Ed (2018). For advice on how to use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the ability of digital audiences to locate your work, see “Intentional Web Presence: 10 SEO Strategies Every Academic Needs to Know,” Educause Review (2012).