Your online staff profile

Find out how to update and improve your staff profile.

Benefits of a good profile

A good online staff profile can boost your reputation, improve your web presence and increase your chances of getting more funding and exposure.

Having a good Sussex profile, compared with just your own website, is useful because:

  • you can be found in the search bar on sussex.ac.uk and appear in lists on school and department pages
  • if you’re an academic, you can feature in prospectus pages, which helps students find potential supervisors in their areas of interest
  • your research expertise tags get listed in our expertise directory, which is useful for researchers and journalists everywhere. It also links staff in different schools who share common interests
  • detailed Sussex profiles may appear high up on the first page of Google’s search results.

Your profile should speak clearly to everyone – even highly intelligent people prefer to read plain English online. People skim read online content and often only read about a quarter of the words on a web page.

What to do as a minimum

Keep your profile as succinct as possible and stick to your academic work.

As a minimum, you should:

  • upload a high-quality picture of yourself
  • include a sentence about your background
  • sum up your research and, if you’re an academic, choose research expertise tags.

How to update your profile

You update your profile using Sussex Direct (open in new window).

Depending on your role at Sussex, you’ll see different menu items.

Main profile page

This is your front (and possibly only) page.

It outlines your:

  • post (top-level official job title, managed by Human Resources)
  • other posts (usually a research group association, normally managed by a school administrator)
  • location (edit this in Sussex Direct – go to Personal > Job > Your University Address > Edit)
  • email (managed by IT Services and cannot be changed)
  • personal homepage (a link to your own website in Sussex Direct – go to Personal > Contact Information and edit the contact information box. Make sure the link text is meaningful – e.g, name of research centre)
  • telephone numbers.

Research expertise

Research expertise tags are keywords that give people a quick sense of your areas of interest and allow them to browse like-minded academics with similar interests.

Prospective postgraduate students can also use them to find relevant supervisors. You will only get the option to add these tags if you’re an academic or have research expertise.

Tags are selected from a pre-defined list. You can create new tags, subject to approval. Add tags in Sussex Direct. Go to Personal > Web Profile > Research Expertise.

Career details

Your front page also contains the following career information.

  • Biography

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Biography and choose edit.

    Write your profile in the first person, not the third person. Talk directly to the reader. Students want to see academics as approachable.

    Avoid jargon and explain complex terms, even for postgraduate students. Up to a quarter of Sussex profile views originate from foreign countries and a lot of our students are non-native English speakers.

    Try to keep your biography to about 200 words if possible. Your work can be covered under the Research section.

    For more tips, follow our guidelines on writing and structuring web content.

    For each section you edit, you must save your work.

    Video

    A good video increases the time people spend on your profile. The average viewing time for a profile is one-and-a-half minutes; videos can say a lot in that time.

    If you want to make your own video, or re-purpose an existing video, contact the University’s video manager for advice on the best way to do this.

  • Role

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Role and select edit.

    Follow the same principles as mentioned in Biography (above) and keep this under 100 words.

  • Qualifications

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Qualifications and choose edit.

    Enter details of your higher education qualifications and any relevant professional ones.

    Format each line with Year-Year, the name of the degree and name of institution.

    For example:

    2007-2011, American Studies BA, University of Sussex.

  • Community & Business

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Community & Business and click edit.

    Include details of any professional associations you belong to and how you contribute to them. Keep this to one or two sentences.

  • Activities

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Activities and select edit.

    Use this to mention any professional development activities such as conferences, presentations and collaborations. Keep it brief.

Photograph

Your profile picture helps prospective students imagine what it's like to study at Sussex.

Your picture should be in colour and evenly lit. Avoid busy backgrounds and plain walls. Don't use holiday photos.

Edit your picture in Sussex Direct. Go to Personal > Personal Details and choose Upload Photo.

Your picture must be a high-quality JPG (preferably about 1MB in size) for processing through the IT system. You may need to change your privacy settings to show it.

The University's photographer is available for photo shoots. Contact your school administrator for this. If you want to take your own photo, read our photography principles.

Sub-sections of your profile

Depending on your role and level of experience, you may have other parts to your profile.

  • Research

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Research Interests and click edit.

    Try to limit your research to about 100 words for each area of interest. Explain complex terms and jargon.

    If your work is largely funded by a particular private company, include this information here.

  • Teaching

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Teaching and choose edit.

    Enter the modules you teach. Put each one on a new line and include the module code afterwards in brackets.

    Only teaching staff, including associate tutors, can see this section.

  • Selected publications

    Amend your Selected Publications through Sussex Research Online (Open SRO in new window).

    This is a database of research papers generated through the University. Add your completed publications to SRO to get them to appear in this section.

    All publications added to SRO appear on your profile unless you select ‘No’ in the Show in Web field when you add your publication.

    Library staff can help with any questions about SRO – email sro@sussex.ac.uk.

  • Student feedback and drop-in sessions

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Student Feedback and Drop-in Sessions and follow the instructions to fill in the drop-downs.

    Keep your sessions up to date so students know when you’re available to help them.

    You only see this tab if you are a member of teaching staff.

  • Twitter feed

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Social Media and select the "sign in with Twitter" button.

    It will then appear as a separate tab on your public-facing profile.

    See our guidance on social media.

  • Blogs, links and RSS feeds

    Go to Personal > Web Profile > Social Media and choose "add" on the Social Media Web Sites menu.

    Select what kind of site it is from the drop-down, enter the URL and use a descriptive term for the link text.

    Linking to other Sussex websites or research centres helps improve your search rankings. Check links regularly to make sure they work.

    There's no harm in maintaining other profiles, such as those on academia.edu or LinkedIn. You can link to your staff profile from these.

    Elsewhere, you can raise awareness of your work by, if possible, writing on other blogs such as the Guardian Higher Education Network blog or The Conversation.

Help

If you have any text formatting issues or need help with editing tools, select the Help option in Sussex Direct.

If you have concerns about how your profile could be used by the media, email the communications team: press@sussex.ac.uk.

If you have any other queries, contact us.


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