Modern (social) professionals spend a lot of time on the web to advertise themselves. Social Media, which is a new umbrella term for web applications that allow people to participate in the creation of the content served by that application. Examples of Social Media are Web log (blog) applications, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Ning (for an extensive list of social media examples, look here)
The modern professional uses social networking applications such as LinkedIn to create and maintain a personal profile and to associate himself/herself with other individuals (preferably with commonly recognized authority), put their ideas, knowledge, experience and interests on display in their personal and professional blogs and leave authoritative comments on selectively picked blog posts of other individuals. Today’s pros are constantly shaping their personal brand. I have made an attempt of illustrating the basic processes behind this in a use case diagram below (diagrams always make articles look more authoritative…).

Personal branding will help yourself to become engaged in the type of projects you aspire. It also helps other people to find certain information and expertise that they need for their projects. Recruiters have discovered social media too. They use it actively to hunt for heads or passively to scan the extracurricular activities of people who have applied for a certain position. Needless to say, you should be aware of the down side of this too: it can be difficult to erase past results of your online activities. Recruiters also scan the web for any recent or past behavior on your part that they might see as unfitting for the position they attempt to fill. An online picture of yourself in a bikini might prevent you from getting a job as a teacher on a primary school, but depending on your looks, it could improve your chances of becoming an aerobics instructor.
Guy Kawasaki gives us 10 tips for using LinkedIn to find a job (in particular, have a good look at tip 11). The effectiveness of these tips is directly proportional to the strength of your brand, i.e: take good care of your personal brand and these tips will be more effective.

Mark Nankman is a UX Architect and Web 2.0 thought leader at Capgemini. His public brain waves can be followed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mnankman