Manage Your Personal Online Brand: 3 Must-Do Steps

Fail to manage your own brand online and you could miss out on your next promotion or job offer, says personal branding expert Dan Schawbel. He advises you take these three actions now.

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Mon, November 15, 2010

CIO — Managing your personal brand isn't just about monitoring your reputation, it's about achieving recognition and visibility within your company and positioning yourself for future job opportunities, says Dan Schawbel, personal branding expert and author of Me 2.0: Four Steps to Building Your Future.

"In today's world, you need to brand yourself for the career you want, not the career you have," Schawbel says. "It's all about visibility—visibility online creates opportunities. Brand yourself according to a niche and you'll attract the right opportunities."

Developing a strong personal brand is especially important in this economy, Schawbel says, because it's becoming harder and harder to move up. Cultivating a strong brand and online presence will help you become more valuable within your company, and possibly propel you to a higher position.

"If you can show more value—that you're a thought leader or an expert in a field, for example—without being paid more right away, you'll start gaining recognition within your company. Brand management is really a lifetime investment in yourself."

Managing your brand can be as simple or time consuming as you want, Schawbel says. You get out of it what you put into it. The key is experimenting and finding a balance of actions that suits your personal needs.

So where do you begin? Schawbel recommends these three actions to start building a brand that reflects who you are and what you want to achieve.

1. Generate Content

The need for an online presence is more important now than ever, Schawbel says. If you've been resisting joining social sites like Facebook and Twitter or starting that blog you've always thought about, now's the time to do it.

"People need to start looking at the Internet in a new way. It's a global talent pool. People are looking you up on Google (GOOG) before they look you up on LinkedIn," Schawbel says. "That's why you need to have strong profiles and a strong online presence. That way when they search for you on Google, they'll find you. Otherwise, you don't exist," he says.

[Looking for LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]

Joining sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—and publishing a blog—will usually populate the top 10 search results for your name. Those top 10 results are important for managing your personal brand because rarely do people search farther than the first page, Schawbel says. Because you control the content on these sites, they're an excellent way to fine-tune your brand.

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