Do Professionals Need a Web Presence?

More and more companies and people are looking to the web to learn about you and your professional experience. Even if you’re secure in your job and have no plans of changing, don’t underestimate the importance of setting up and maintaining an effective professional web presence. Expanding your online visibility and network provides you a larger platform to call on in the event you need to find a new job.

Before you signup for a bunch of networking services or start a blog, you need to do some thinking. Start by knowing what you want to accomplish and plan how to do it. Here are three questions to think about before you establish a blog, or start taking advantage of social networking on the Web.

1. What do you want to accomplish with your web presence? Take the time to figure this out. For example, are you trying to start a new career, establish expertise in a particular area, or build your professional network in case of layoff? Your web presence should support your professional goals.

2. Who are your target audiences on the Web and what’s the best way to reach them? Your web presence needs to connect to your target audience—wherever they’re at. You may have several different target groups—future employers, colleagues, etc. What’s the best way to reach them—a blog, LinkedIn, twitter or Facebook?

3. What market are you in and who is your competition? Although you might be unique in how you do your job, it is unlikely that what you do is unique. If you were to retire tomorrow, who else could your boss turn to fill your shoes? Who are you competing with if you had to find a new job tomorrow? How are they creating their web presence—website, blog and/or social networking? Think about doing something similar (if there is high expectation in your field) or about taking the opportunity to branch out and do things differently if it makes sense for your situation.

With today’s econmic uncertanity, many people are feeling insecure about their prospects of continued employment. Even if you’re not one of them, take the time to think about and create a professional web presence so that you can expand your network and visibility on the web.