Say you are at a cocktail party and you meet the boss of your dreams. You have a great conversation about your industry and your ideas to move it forward. The evening finishes with the boss pressing his business card into your hand saying “let’s keep in touch”.
You drive home feeling awesome and ready to take on the world. You are already plotting the next conversation and when it’s going to happen.
Boss of your dreams has a slightly different experience. He goes home and googles you while it’s still fresh in his mind. The first thing that comes up is a facebook link. Clicking that leads to your profile with an image of you in little tiny shorts in someone’s kitchen with a drink in your hand. Hmmmmm.
The next link is the online photo album from your community golf tournament. There are lots of pictures of you with the other golfers. There must have been a lot of toasts because you seem to be raising a glass in all of them. Hmmmm.
Suddenly that great impression you made has evaporated. Maybe you are not next divisional leader material after all.
This is the new reality. Your digital trail follows you everywhere. You need to be proactive and protective of how you look online.
- Google yourself. Type “first name last name” into google, yahoo and bing and see what comes up.
- Your linkedin profile should be the first result. If it isn’t, make sure your profile is completed. That should help.
- If you are on facebook, then it will be near the top of the list too. Take a look at your profile picture and the info on your home page. Is it appropriate for someone like boss of your dreams to see? Make sure the rest of your profile is private, only viewable by friends.
- To really make your digital reputation work, it’s nice to have some links that go to professional associations, alumni, volunteer or community group activities too.
So, look yourself up. What do you see? Is it what you want other people to see? If not, get to work. Replace the image of you in little tiny shorts with one of you shaking hands at a conference. It will be worth the effort.