Does Your Online Presence Promote You?
(This is an early version of an online article by our Co-Founder, Dave Tighe.)
We all know (or should know) not to post embarrassing pictures or leave comments online that you aren’t prepared for professional peers, bosses or subordinates to see. We know that stuff that seems funny in the moment loses its context over time, but will linger on the ‘net, publicly available, waiting for a search on your name to bring it back up. Inappropriate material can damage your personal “brand” as much as fiddling with your cell phone in a meeting can, or participating in that meeting without actually listening to the course of the conversation.
We picked up this theme from an e-mail sent out by Mark Anderson, President of ExecuNet, an executive career site. He was focused on job-hunting, but I see a correlation to the workplace:
- What sort of image are your actions conveying to your peers, bosses and subordinates?
- What reputation are you trying to build?
- What reputation might you actually be building?
If you have a job you love, and plan to stay a while, you tend to neglect your online personal profiles, like the one you might have on LinkedIn, or stop worrying about the strategic impact of snarky comments posted to Facebook.
Acting “intelligent” in cyberspace
Our advice: Stay active online, and use the tool to position yourself as a leader in your specialty.
- The baseline benefit: Protect yourself: Do yourself no harm with spontaneous outbursts!
- The next –level benefit: Promote yourself!
Active thought-leadership in cyberspace can have a productive impact on your career within a company as much as outside the company.
- Future internal bosses will do a backgrounder on you prior to interviewing you.
- Industry events, especially smaller or regional ones, use online search tools to look for speaking candidates for their events.
- Current peers and superiors can join your “followers” and get regular updates in their news feeds about articles or topics you find interesting, keeping you top-of-mind.
- You can build your thought-leader reputation with very few words: Insert a comment about what you found interesting or applicable when you post the link into your news feed. They don’t have to be well-crafted and edited. Indeed, roughly hewn comments are viewed as more natural and honest than a comment you spent too much time honing to perfection.
Carefully tending to your online presence (profile, conversations, Facebook posts) after you land safely in a great new job is a critical career builder that cannot materially hurt your reputation. Neglecting it, however, might close off an opportunity that otherwise might have come your way!
Do you keep your online profile current? Do you share interesting content as a matter of course once you are finished reading or viewing it?
Sharing buttons are embedded in most online content, so the act of sharing has become a matter of a few clicks.
- If you haven’t checked on your profile in more than a month, it would be a good idea to do so now. And make an appointment with your online profiles and conversations weekly.
- Make sure it consistently conveys an accurate picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.
As ExecuNet’s Anderson wrote, “the shadow you cast, in this world or the virtual one, speaks volumes about you. Make sure your profile isn’t incomplete or gathering cobwebs. When done right, your online presence can project a better picture of you.”
And that can’t help but improve your chances for professional success!
Do you use your online social media accounts actively to promote your skills and perspectives? How do you do that? How often? Is weekly enough? What sort of response do you get from your activity? How have you been able to measure your success over time?