How To Leave A Professional Online Footprint

No matter who you are, you most likely have an online presence that can be found with a quick Google search.  In today’s digital age, it is important that you exercise some control over what can appear in that Google search in order to manage your online image.  Not only can it determine the first impression you make on an employer, but it also sets a tone for your personal brand on the internet.  As a result, it is important that you not only learn how to keep a professional online footprint, but leave a memorable impression of who you are.  To do so, start by taking these 5 steps:

Consider your personal brand

Whether you like it or not, the comprehensive profile pages, social media posts, and pictures that you have online tell a story about who you are and what you represent. Before beginning to finesse your online presence, pause to consider what it is you want to tell others about yourself.  When doing so, ask yourself how much you want people to know about:

  • Your professional life
  • Your social life
  • Your family
  • Your hobbies
  • Your goals in life

Once you’ve decided what that brand looks like from the outside, you can begin to adjust your online presence to tell that story.

Develop comprehensive profile pages

After you’ve decided on your personal branding, your profile pages on various social media sites should be the first to reflect that image.  In addition to removing information or photos that don’t fit your personal brand, you can add new information that tells a viewer more about the story you want to tell.  For example, if you want your brand to be more professional, this might involve changing your profile photo, adding more information on your LinkedIn profile, or adding a link to your professional website.

Post with integrity

Now that you’ve developed your personal brand, consider how your posts reflect through the lens of your brand.  This includes the types of articles you share, the photos you post, and the comments you make on other posts.  Each action you take should be put through a filter of whether this helps to tell your story.  For example, if you want your brand to show that you are a ‘foodie,’ this might include sharing photos of your favorite dishes as well as restaurant reviews or recipes.

Create a website

In addition to your social media profiles, you can create a website to act as a central point where everything about you can be found.  While each social media platform serves a slightly different use, you can publish more details about you, your brand, and your goals on your very own website.  Not only can you publish samples of your work, but you can even write blog posts to share more about yourself and what interests you. For people who are intrigued by your social media presence and want to learn even more about you, they can do so there.  Additionally, when you have a website dedicated to yourself, this makes you more searchable online, and it shows that you are organized and driven to employers who might come upon it in a search result.

Share your opinions

While you might think that sharing fewer opinions online is better, sharing your opinions on the right topics can be very beneficial.  When you share your thoughts on matters that are related to your personal brand, your expertise can show through, making you a thought leader and improving your brand image.  Whether it’s through a personal blog, comments on an article, or a LinkedIn post, you can prove that you are knowledgeable about your passions and that people should look to you for advice.