HOW TO: Discover, Monitor & Control Your Online Brand

Personal BrandYou’ve probably heard how important your personal brand is for your job search, and your online brand is equally important. How you’re perceived online – whether it’s the “real you” or not – can have an impact on your career and future goals.

Discovering your online brand

Brand discovery is about figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, setting goals, writing down a mission, vision and personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve), as well as creating a development plan. Have you ever been called intelligent or humorous by your peers or coworkers? That description is part of your brand, especially if you feel those attributed pertain to you. To know if you’ve discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal:

Your self-impression = How people perceive you

Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success

What’s out there on the Internet that is already a part of your overall brand? Did you write something in college that was published on your school’s website? Is there a photo of you during an event with your name in the caption? Is there anything negative – such as items you shared for your friends – which you can take down?

All of these elements make up your online brand. It’s important to have a handle on how you’re perceived online, because the majority of employers and recruiters will Google a candidate before moving forward in the hiring process.

Recommended resource:

MyWebCareer: A free online service that evaluates your social and business networking profiles, your overall network, and your search engine footprint to generate a personalized career score. Your career score provides insight into how colleagues and employers perceive and evaluate your professional competencies and achievements. Your career score is refreshed each month, and you are notified of any changes and actions you should take.

Monitoring your online brand

Each day, loads of new content, tweets, and status updates are posted on social networking sites, blogs, and websites. Now that you’ve discovered what’s already on the Web about you, you’ll need to continue to monitor your brand through mentions, searches and alerts.

Recommended resources:

  • Google Alerts/RSS: Set a Google Alert for your name to monitor results instantly. You can choose to receive e-mails or compile alerts into an RSS feed.
  • Tweetdeck: Set up columns to follow lists of people, monitor mentions and keywords on Twitter through a simple interface.

Controlling your online brand

Take control of your online brand by claiming your name on social networking sites and in Google profiles. While monitoring new search results, make sure those results align with your existing brand you’ve established online. Another key way to control your online brand is to create a personal website and link all of your online profiles together in one place.

Recommended resources:

  • Vizibility: Create your own SearchMe button or link to direct people to the correct search results instantly. You can add your button or link to your social networking profiles and e-mail signature. Get notified when your search results change and when you are searched on Google.
  • KnowEm: This site allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 470 popular and emerging social media websites so you can secure your name before someone else does.

What other resources would you recommend to discover, monitor, and/or control your online brand?


Guest Expert:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.

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