Your Online Image - Flattering or Frightening?
online imageI just got done listening to a podcast where yet another employer "admitted" to scouring the web to find information about applicants prior to making a job offer or even meeting for a job interview.

Take a minute this week and Google yourself. What will you find? Is it flattering or frightening? Do you want potential employers or clients to see what you see?

Whether your online image needs a tune-up or complete overhaul here are a few easy places to start.

Your picture.
If you are actively looking for a new job, a promotion, or new customers, my opinion is that you have two options when it comes to your online profile pictures. You can post a high-quality, action-oriented picture of yourself working with a customer or in your workplace. You're second option is to post a professionally taken headshot portrait of yourself in attire appropriate to your industry.

Your posts.
Are you posting silly updates about your party last night or rather the successful programs you've initiated at work or been part of? The content you post online can tell a fairly accurate story about you. It demonstrates what you think is relevant, interesting, and important. Would you like hiring managers and work peers to see that you are on top of industry events and news or that you fell into the pool at the party last night because you were intoxicated? Choose your words and posts wisely on the web.

Your position.
By "position" I don't mean your position at company XYZ. We are talking about your position on politics, religion, race, etc. Avoid those conversations online. "But Mike, I am not going to hide who I really am. My social media outlets are there so I have the freedom to express myself". If you are looking to build bridges that lead to better jobs I suggest reconsidering that mindset.

When you want to be taken seriously by customers and employers there is only one position you should be taking online: you are here to work and apply your skill sets to growing the customer's or employer's business. Anything else is just setting yourself up to alienate someone who is more conservative, or more liberal, or just plain different from you. The person checking out your online presence has the power to hire you or not. Don't alienate that person.

Need some more help in using the web to craft your reputation online and build positive relationships with the customers and companies you want to do business with? Be sure to check out the article "Be A Cyber-Suckup And Get Your Dream Job" in the May / June issue of The Quarter Roll Financial Entertainment Magazine. MB

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