Maintain a Professional Image OnlineThere are billions of people using the Internet in this day and age.  It is a vehicle for both entertainment and professional purposes.

You want to make sure that you keep your image professional and maintain your good reputation each day on the internet, in order to put your best foot forward, especially with people that do not yet know you.

Whether you like it or not, you already have a significant online presence. Between government documents, newspaper articles and self-generated content, it’s not hard for others to look you up and find all kinds of information out about you. These people doing the searches may be potential employers, co-workers, casual acquaintances, pretty much anyone interested in you so it’s a good idea to put your best foot forward.

The good news is that if there are photos, videos or other types of evidence of inappropriate behavior on your part online, it’s not necessarily the end of your career. You can take a few steps to put a better spin on your reputation. 

Demonstrate your ability to maintain a positive attitude, overcome adversity and succeed in spite of obstacles — a trait employers and co-workers appreciate.

Following are some tips to help you build a professional image online:

1. Don’t share your personal life/opinions
Try to set some limits when it comes to revealing details about your crazy weekend, family issues, investments or debt. Avoid discussing religious, political and moral topics. When someone posts on these topics just skip over them so as not to get involved in the controversy that will inevitably occur in the comments section.

2. Follow the right people
Think about who you follow on social media.  There are ways to have groups set up that you can share things privately in (such as family photos etc.).  

3. Post positively and Comment constructively
Have a positive attitude instead of posting worst case scenarios. Always post about necessary steps towards fulfilling the objective rather than letting things happen to you. When someone posts about an achievement or something exciting in their life, comment back with congratulations.  If someone posts that there was a death or a tragedy of some kind, comment with your sympathy.  This really does go a long way in this day and age.  Social media seems to be most people’s way of sharing their life with others and they want the same feedback online that they would get if you were face to face.

4. Be respectful
Be respectful online. Show your appreciation for others, show your gratitude for all the good in your life, mentor others when appropriate, and just be sincere in your posts. Everyone wants to be respected. If you make them feel respected and special then they are more likely to return in kind.

These are pretty basic tips but they are going to get you far in the social media realm.  Let’s face it, social media is not going away and it is so popular for sharing and finding people that we should always be sure to look our best on there, for whatever opportunities may come our way!