• Education consultant Anne Wilson gives some advice on how to manage your online presence, so that it doesn't hold back your career

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Your professional reputation matters. What you say about yourself online, what others say about you, the comments you make, the opinions you express - all these can influence whether or not colleagues trust and respect you, give you business, a promotion, or a job.

It's vital to take control of your online presence and make sure that the spaces you inhabit, and what you do and say in those spaces, fits with the image you want to project.

And here's the key - consciously thinking about how you want to appear to your professional peers. Do you want them to see you as reliable, well-organised, creative, good in a team? Do you want to be invisible, or be noticed and appreciated? Where would you like to go next in your career? Think about your persona in the workplace separately from who you are as a person, and decide where to draw the line between the personal and the professional. There's no one rule for all - be guided by your values, your job and your ambitions.

If you manage your own presence online, you are telling your own story rather than allowing others telling it for you.

Once you are clear about how you want to be regarded in the work place, you can start to define an online media strategy to guide you in your online activity. If you manage your own presence online, you are telling your own story rather than allowing others to tell it for you. If you don't like blowing your own trumpet, get help from a trusted colleague or a careers professional. Hedda Archbold, an agent for broadcasters writers and journalists, thinks the most important things are posting regularly (blog, website, professional profiles) and linking all your media together to get maximum impact. Hedda advises: “Make sure the content you post is consistent, both in its quality and with the image you want to project."

Just as important as the places you 'own' in the digital world, are the platforms on which you comment and engage in debate. Remember that the written word is more powerful and more enduring than comments and opinions expressed verbally - once it's out there, it's out there and negative comments can easily be taken out of context. Think twice about saying something which may give the wrong impression to people in your professional network who may in future influence your path and if in doubt - stay silent.

Top Tips 

  • Take control - manage your own presence online
  • Have a strategy which suits what you want to achieve - and stick to it
  • Post regularly and consistently
  • Discourage friends and family from posting publicly anything which could harm your professional reputation
  • Think twice before you engage in a debate or conversation online

Further reading

How to avoid the compare and despair of social media

Is the future of therapy online?

How to create a long, fulfilling working life

Tweets, likes and views: the psychology of social media