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In this intensely connected world we live in, it is absolutely essential to be proactive in managing your online presence as a key part of your career management strategy. Managing your personal brand and reputation isn’t just self-promotion – it is a best practice and a way to ensure that who you are and what you stand for is accurately represented.
 
Take a step back and objectively assess your online brand. To do so, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • When prospective employers or customers are searching for you, what do they see?
  • Is there a news report telling a story of your growth and contribution to your industry?
  • Do your experiences, strengths, and core competencies shine through?
  • Does your digital presence enhance your credibility and position you as a thought leader in your space?
  • Have you established an online persona that could withstand a controversial incident?
  • Would you be able to defend yourself?
  • Would you have an audience to listen?

Decide which social media channels you will use to tell your personal brand story. In order to establish or expand your presence, consider which social networking sites your peers and target audience use. Don’t be threatened by social media. It is can be a highly effective channel allowing you to communicate with authenticity and transparency. Think of how you can best position your hobbies and personal interests to complement your professional image. A great way to do so is to start a blog or offer to share your knowledge as a guest blogger on an existing site. And having a strong LinkedIn profile is a must. You should also consider these questions:

  • Which social sites would you realistically be able to maintain and promote regularly?
  • Do you have a social media strategy? Have you built a following?

Once you have decided which platforms you will leverage, engage with your community. Be active on influential forums, user groups, and message boards. Comment frequently on industry blogs. Have a strategy to get involved in discussions and position yourself as an authority in your space. When you are recognized as an authority, people are much more likely to link to you, inform you of professional opportunities, and refer you to others.
 
As your digital presence grows, monitoring your reputation becomes increasingly important. Find the best tools to track mentions of your name. Set up Google and Yahoo email alerts. And make sure your tools track videos, blogs, and other multimedia content.
 
As your personal brand and online presence develops, your perceived value-add increases. Your audience trusts you more and views you as differentiated from the competition. As you become a known expert in your field, you attract opportunities that are ideal for you.

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