March 24 | Stew JensenSince I like to practice what I preach (more often it is "Do as I say, not as I do"), I am going to take the opportunity  to publish my talking points list for the event tonight. Just in case somebody checks up on me! We are expecting about 200 people... yikes!

Question "How can one be proactive about creating a “personal brand” or a snapshot of oneself on the web?  What should every professional consider when using new technologies as a networking advantage, especially the internet?"

The Opportunity:

SEO /Brand Management: People are identical to businesses today when it comes to search engine optimization and managing brand reputation. If it is well done, it becomes an asset that will help differentiate you from a vast sea of options available to prospective employers.

Thought Leadership: Allows a professional to establish a reputation as a thought leader in a particular category or discipline. Shows passion, initiative, and experience that supplement a strong resume.

Publish or Perish: Use blogs, threaded discussions, personal websites, Twitter, and answering questions on existing community tools like LinkedIn to leave a trail for prospective employers to discover through searches. May also lead to solicitations from competitors, headhunters, and lead to other new opportunities. If done well, you may create followers who subscribe to your blog and twitter feeds and can become a valuable source of advocates who can bring leads in a job hunt.

Purpose Built Tools: Some tools, like LinkedIn are specifically designed to facilitate networking and can offer great ways to connect with broad groups of peers, or make very targeted inquiries about specific companies by leveraging friends and identifying friends of friends with connections.

The Liability:

Web Tattoos: The flip side of the web is that it is that your comments are often an indelible and traceable. Any number of examples of employees making disparaging comments about employers that have been discovered and led to termination. Google alerts make it very easy to track mentions of a company online and who is talking about them.

FaceSpace: At some point you are likely to have business contacts / coworkers / bosses start to request friend status on tools like Facebook, so be very prudent about what you want to have made public (and when you are posting updates – employers will see this!)

The Recommendations:

Start a blog or contribute to an existing work blog. Buy your name as a URL if you can still get it. Be very careful about what you post, data can live a long time online. Try to get credit on organizational websites for any pro-bono or community involvement to maximize the PR value. Set up a Google alert for your own name so you can monitor and manage your online reputation. Add your LinkedIn and Blog address to your professional email signature to increase contact professional points and promote your brand.

Wish me luck! I have 5 minutes to cover this topic.