These days, we may get people wanting to connect with us. However, a profile with little or no information is uninspiring or downright suspicious.

I get quite a few people wanting to connect with me on LinkedIn or other social networks. I appreciate a good connection, and better yet, a new friend. There is nothing like chatting with someone deep and intelligent over sociological, philosophical, or even faith issues over a cup of coffee and cookies in a cool afternoon.

However, the trouble is that some individuals who attempt to connect with me have an air of anonymity in their online profiles, and on deeper investigation, yield no further online information about them. What perturbs me for some others is that there are even some strange connections with these individuals which makes me uneasy to connect with them, wondering if they are either cloned profiles of real professionals, or have connections I would rather not care for.

Personal branding is increasingly important these days, either for recruitment purposes, or for reputation management of senior executives. A recruiter may first discern the online profiles of a candidate before shortlisting. A more comprehensive online profile, whether on LinkedIn or other social networks or even corporate websites, coupled with published content in various online properties, will go further to establish the reputation and social reach of a candidate or an executive. And this trend will escalate.

If a recruiter goes online, and is confronted with anonymity or little information about a candidate, given an ever increasing pool of candidates out there, will have no incentive to care further, and such a candidate’s chances at landing a job will be dim. Unless of course, the rather anonymous profile of such an individual is a faked profile, or something more sinister in today’s world of social engineering hacks and other online threats. In any case, such profiles lend no credibility nor build trust.

It does take effort, and sometimes tremendous effort, to build up a complete online profile for reputation building and personal branding. In pre-Internet years, all it took us to apply for jobs was to type our work experience and credentials on a word processor, and send these printed résumés to companies with job openings.

Today, if you are looking at developing a good quality LinkedIn personal profile, you need to transpose your work experience and credentials very clearly down in individual columns, and go further to detail your professional interests, certifications, awards, published works, as well as multimedia content such as PDFs, still images, slides, and even video. Video is the fastest growing social network medium against textual information, and so it would make sense to publish more information you author in a video-friendly presentation.

And if you are publishing your own blog or even video blog (vlog), then maintaining content consistently with good quality transcripts for video, will also be important for recruiters and other stakeholders to find your content, and in turn, evaluate you for jobs or for contractual work. The more you develop, the more you author, the more you reach out in many ways, the more your online presence will organically and slowly increase, to your benefit.

The world is moving faster, and it demands even more from us. There is no reward for complacency, and there is no prize for anonymity if you intend to reach out to people.