If you’re looking to do some professional development, don’t focus solely on perfecting your CV.

Switch on your computer and have a quick browse on the main internet search engines: what does your digital image say about you?

Your digital footprint – by which we mean personal and professional information given over to the internet forever – can go as far as determining your reputation and even influencing the decisions of an employer.
According to research conducted by ExecuNet, in fact, almost all head hunters and human resources professionals carry out online searches to get a more in-depth profile of prospective candidates.

If that doesn’t leave you stunned, perhaps you’ll be surprised to find out that after searching on LinkedIn and exploring the social lives of the candidates, 70% of those professionals chose not to continue the hiring process.

So what do you do?

It’s simple, according to Dorie Clark, a marketing strategy consultant and adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in the US. Clark believes the trick is in creating – in a complete personalised yet expert manner – a perfect professional and personal digital image, making use of web skills and the plethora of opportunities offered by social media.

Number one has to be LinkedIn: used by many as a mere digital platform to copy and paste your CV, this social network is, in fact, a dynamic portal capable of shining a light on the most passionate, up-to-date talents out there.
If used intelligently, LinkedIn can become a great way to obtain visibility. How? Perhaps by regularly commenting on the main news stories concerning important businesses.
If you are MBA students aiming to join a company in the luxury industry, for example, the hottest news on the fashion industry, international events and quotes from industry leaders are a great place to start commenting.

As well as having this on-the-ball attitude, something that demonstrates a concrete interest in a particular market, the stand-out talents are able to use social media to make their voices heard and give body to their opinions.
Making the most of the free time you have between one lecture and another to write a personal blog can be a fantastic way to attract the attention of companies looking for someone who is going to add real value to their organisations. Use your blog to comment on current affairs, give your take on developments and express your original ideas.

Twitter is another social network that definitely should not be overlooked. It’s a great ally if you want to make your voice heard all over the world as you share, discuss and analyse the biggest stories in your sector.

And don’t forget Tumblr and Pinterest, two fantastic platforms for future leaders in the creative and design sectors.

So, growing leader, which systems or social networks do you use to promote yourself online?