Managing Your Reputation Online
In this technology age, many people are finding work online – through career search engines, as freelancers from their own portfolios, and through networking services like LinkedIn just to name a few. People often assume that what they do online does not affect their career prospects – but your professional online reputation can be of huge importance when looking to take the next step in your career.
Reputation management can be described as the process of maintaining your own personal brand – that is, deciding what your value proposition is as a professional, and then continuously communicating that across the channels offered on the internet. Some would describe it as marketing for your skills, attributes and assets. Creating a personal brand has become more and more essential for those with lofty career aspirations – so where should you be looking to broadcast your newly crafted reputation? And what can you do to improve your online reputation? Here are a few key tips to help you build and maintain an impressive and professional online presence in a variety of locations.
So where exactly can you broadcast your online reputation, for the sake of your professional advancement? In this age of technology and innovation, there are many great sites in which you can invest your time and energy for the benefit of your career. LinkedIn, for example, is widely regarded as an online rsum service. Many job hunting services allow for you to create profiles and continuously update them to ensure that you are receiving suggested results for your ideal career path. Blog sites such as WordPress and Blogspot allow for professionals to share their opinions or views to a wide audience in a free format, whereas sites like Tumblr and Instagram can cater for those in more artistic business pursuits. There are many options out there for you to explore. But there are a few key things to consider before you begin to overhaul your online reputation.
Do Your Research
It may sound narcissistic, but when planning to manage your online reputation, it’s a good idea to run some research and see how it is that you appear when someone looks you up online. Run a quick Google search, look at your LinkedIn page from an outside source, check your Facebook privacy settings and so on. Many employers will search their potential new staff members to see what they appear like online and decide if they will be a good fit for their organisation. It’s important to research yourself from an outside perspective, so that you can pick your focus points and see what others may see.
Choose Your Targets
It’s not typically possible for any individual to be completely focused on every social media platform that is available – play to your strengths. For professional branding, LinkedIn is probably the obvious choice – the social network is designed as an online resume. However, for those in artistic pursuits such as photography or digital design, sites such as Instagram and Pinterest provide a great platform. A blog platform, such as Tumblr and WordPress, also offers a fantastic opportunity to create a portfolio of work or write stories or reflections on topics of interest. Decide what is most appropriate for your own career goals, and explore your options.
Define Your Message
Much like any business must define the product or service they offer, it’s important for you to define the skills and attributes you have when consolidating your online reputation. If you’re in management, define your strengths and highlight them. If you have technical abilities, define those clearly and concisely. If you’re looking for work, this will likely help twofold – it will help you define what it is you’re looking for in a role, while also helping employers to find you based on your skill set.
It’s no surprise that social media, for either personal or professional use, can be incredibly time consuming. However, if you’re looking for a high level role that requires a great deal of leadership, solid connections and proven knowledge, you may like to consider building a blog site of your own. Blogs are used for a variety of reasons, but traditionally they are a place to share your own ideas and opinions about particular topics, issues or news stories with other interested parties. A well-run, engaging and regularly updated blog that discusses your professional interests and opinions will likely be a great indicator of your passion and dedication – and that scores well with equally passionate employers.
If you’re thinking about looking for a job, moving towards a significant career adjustment or even considering pushing for a promotion, be proactive in your decision to research and alter your reputation. Like many things, a reputation cannot be built or maintained in a short period of time – it does require some time to progress and gain traction among your friends and peers. If you decide that your online reputation needs to be addressed, then make a considered effort prior to chasing new opportunities.
Make a Strategy
If you’re planning to use social media as part of a specific push for a role – perhaps your dream job – then take the time to plan out your strategy. Ideas that you wish to focus on, themes you need to touch on to be successful in your aim – even just the style and tone of what you will be posting. Consistency is hard to maintain sometimes, but your overall message will likely be stronger for it.
Reputation management is not the easiest of things to master – how do you implement your reputation online? Do you have any tips or must follow advice to share? Let us know in the comments below.
This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: Forbes , Entrepreneur, Forbes  and Huffington Post.