For optimal online personal branding, craft an online persona that's consistent, professional, and engaging. Here's how.

Are you looking to jumpstart your career goals and professional life? One of the best ways to do this is to start building your online personal brand. You exist online as much as in person, which is both a benefit and a detriment when you are planning to look for work. Here are some personal branding tips for crafting a sustainable online persona that works for you and boosts your job-search efforts.

1. Focus on where you are comfortable

There are many social media platforms to consider when developing your online presence; however, you don't need to be active on all of them in order to build a strong professional brand. Instead, choose the platforms that work for you and best fit your professional brand and goals.

Are you passionate about photography? Do you work in design? Maybe Instagram is the right platform to display your work. Do you like to write, but find social media generally overwhelming? Consider creating a WordPress blog where you can share your thoughts on relevant topics. Are you a highly-skilled presenter? YouTube may work for you. LinkedIn is also highly recommended for professionals who want to share their career goals and work experience, and it allows you to include the links to some of your other accounts. The goal here is quality, not quantity, so unless you're really excited about Twitter or other social channels, don't feel obligated to use them for your online personal branding!

2. Stay on topic

We live in an age of oversharing. Once you focus your persona to the appropriate platforms, it's important to keep that persona targeted to your brand and audience. Does this mean you should only talk about work or professional goals? Of course not. But remember to focus on what your audience will be interested in, on the value that you can provide to them, and staying consistent across online platforms.

3. The internet is not Vegas

What happens online doesn't stay online – and privacy is more of a theory than a reality. This is extremely important to remember when building your personal brand online. You are crafting your persona and building a following based on your professional brand. If you have personal accounts that shouldn't be associated with your professional persona, consider deleting the profiles altogether. If you want to keep your personal social media profiles and keep them separate from your online professional persona, remember that privacy settings are imperfect. While no one expects you to be devoid of a life outside of work, keep in mind that potential clients and employers may still be able to see your personal pictures. Think twice before you post and consider changing the name on your profile to a nickname.

4. Be realistic

While you may want immediate results and traffic, the reality is that building an online presence takes time — and quality surpasses quantity. One of many personal branding tips is to remember that it's better to post once a week or biweekly than to post daily and fill your space with meaningless information. Whatever your choice, good content is going to find its audience. A reader will have greater respect for a blog that publishes well-written and useful content once a week than one that constantly spams its readers with irrelevant filler. Find what works for you and stay consistent.

Building your personal brand online is similar to building a career. Work on it slowly and you focus on doing it right. Unlike people, the internet doesn't forget, so it's important to set out within your comfort level, stay consistent, focus on long-term goals, and build something you enjoy that is sustainable.

Not sure if your resume is really showcasing you and your professional brand? Submit for a free resume review and get a second opinion! 

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