Your Digital Brand: Put Your Best Online Imprint Forward

It’s not a secret — it is ugly out there with job restructurings, freezes and lay-offs. Regardless if you are currently employed or actively searching for a job, it is important to keep your “digital brand” current and strong. Social media has changed the way prospective employees and potential employers communicate with each other. It has started to erode the old recruiting processes by giving both parties direct access to each other through online networks, search mechanisms and blogs.

If you haven’t done so already, there are five basic steps that you can take right away to ensure your digital brand is available and up-to-date:

  1. Get LinkedIn: Get your digital resume out there. Connect with as many friends, colleagues, referral sources, recruiters and clients, as well as social, business and industry networks as possible. The wider your reach, the better exposure you have to information, jobs and recruiters. In addition, ask people to recommend you and write about your specific skill sets.
  2. Join Facebook: This social network is not only for the young. As much as you have probably tried not to engage, this is a great way to connect with people, humanize your brand and help people get to know you.
  3. Advertise Yourself: Add your website URL, twitter account ID or blog to your digital signature so people can follow your comments and counsel. Also, the more links that point to your website and blogs, the more likely the pages you are most proud of, will rise to the top of search engine results.
  4. Use Online Recruiting Sources: Post your information and keep tabs on the best online recruiting sources. If you are looking fro a job, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com and others should have your resume posted. Also, keep http://www.recruitingblogs.com/ bookmarked and its more than 14,000 recruiters at your fingertips.
  5. Police Your Brand: Be thoughtful about how you position yourself online. In this space, you will be judged instantly and not have the opportunity to easily explain yourself. Find that old sorority picture of you partying and un-tag it from your Facebook profile. Search your own name on Google and Yahoo at least every two to three months to ensure relevant information is coming to the top of the search results. You can even set up a Google or Yahoo alert at no charge and receive a daily list of media coverage and blog entries in which you are referenced. This will enable you to know if compromising information is circulating and provide you an opportunity to take immediate action.

Don’t be afraid of all of the above. Be thankful it is not the old days when you had to pay for printing and mailing of hundreds of copies of your resume. It is a new world in which people find you, or you connect to those you want to meet, with less gatekeepers than ever before. Just do yourself the favor: make sure your digital brand is worth viewing.

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