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In today’s dynamic, global marketplace where up to 90% of employers and recruiters (country dependent) report using online search as their primary talent-sourcing strategy, having a strong online brand is no longer optional for an executive job search.
 
Given that online search is not only a way to source candidates but also to evaluate them and their references, job seekers have no way of knowing how many opportunities they may have been passed over for because of a weak online presence.
 
Below are just a few ways that executive job seekers can build their brand online:
 
Branding and Optimizing your Online Profiles
By “branding and optimizing your profiles” I mean ensuring that they effectively communicate your unique value proposition and the right keywords are embedded throughout.
 
Keyword-optimizing your profiles will increase your chances of getting found by employers and executive recruiters using online search (and hence keywords) to identify potential candidates. Equally important, once it is found your branded profile will communicate a message of value that will inspire those recruiters and employers to reach out and engage with you.
 
The number of profiles that you develop will depend on your target market and career goals, but at the minimum you should have a fully branded and optimized Linkedin and Google+ profile. Other sites where you can develop profiles include Xing (for Europe, particularly German-speaking countries), Viadeo (for Europe, particularly France), and Tianji (for China).
 
There are also many industry-specific networks that can increase your visibility within your field. For example, GovLoop is ideal for those involved in politics or government, Epernicus for researchers, ResearchGate for scientists, the Technology Executive Network for IT executives, and HR.com for human resource executives.
 
Regularly Posting On-Brand Content
Take advantage of a variety of platforms on which you can regularly post information online that will help you build your executive brand and position you as an expert in particular areas as well as support your network by sharing valuable resources.
 
Two of the most powerful of these platforms are LinkedIn and Twitter. On LinkedIn you have the option of sharing an update with the public, with your network, or with Twitter and the public at the same time. On Twitter your 140-character post will be available to be seen by anyone, including employers and recruiters, as long as the post starts with a letter or a period (not an @).
 
Blogging or Being a Guest Blogger
For those willing to make the investment, building and maintaining a blog is the best way to build your online brand. Not only does blogging improve your search results and chances of being found online, it can also help you achieve thought leader or expert status as well as build a community or network of brand advocates.
 
For those who do not have the time to maintain a blog, guest blogging is another option. By identifying the top blogs in your field and approaching them about writing a guest blog post, you can capitalize on some of the visibility and expert-status building benefits of blogging without actually having your own blog. Alltop and Technorati are places you can use to identify the top blogs in your area of expertise. As a BlueSteps member, you can also contribute a guest blog post to the BlueSteps Executive Career Insider blog, which is viewed daily by an audience of both executive search professionals and senior-level executives like yourself. For more information or to submit a contribution, contact info@bluesteps.com.
 
The Bottom Line
With talent being sourced globally and hence competition for top jobs ever increasing, building your brand online is a must for all executive job seekers. If you want to be found online and seen as a candidate of choice, every effort you make to keep your online presence branded and optimized will get you that much closer to getting on the short list for your target jobs.

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