Over at the Personal Branding Blog, social media guru Dan Schawbel has posted his list of personal branding predictions for 2009. Dan specializes in personal brand management for Gen Y and has a book coming out early next year which I plan to review soon.

Check out Dan's hot list of branding trends. Regardless of whether you believe that personal branding will be a "top of mind" catchphrase in 2009, I agree with Dan that managing your online presence is essential and his statement that,

One of the biggest challenges with building a personal brand, in bits and bytes, is managing it over your lifetime"

With that in mind, here are three very quick things you can do now--even if exams or holiday obligations are looming over your head--

1. If you don't have one already, set up a LinkedIn profile. You may find this advice from Chris Brogan on how to write your profile for your future to be helpful

You can mark it as private until you're ready to use it. In the interim, claim your public URL (i.e. address) through the "Edit Public Profile" settings.

One reason why this really works: When you want to be known, you'll come up quicker in searches.

2. Set up a Google News Alert on your name so that you can monitor information about yourself (this may or may not work with Facebook tagging of photos--but you should be monitoring these, anyway).

3. Consider following Dan Schawbel's advice and buying your own domain name with your name--if it is still available. This way, no one else can snag it, and you'll have the space to place your own online portfolio if you decide that is something you want to do. (GoDaddy.com is one place to do this, but there are multiple vendors for domain names on the web, just search "domain names.")

In my opinion, branding alone won't get you hired--you need to be able to demonstrate your fit for a position and fit organizational needs--but it can speed up your search. And these three quick moves will help you lay a foundation for "being found" once you are ready to kick your search into high gear.

To your success,