Career Success and Your On Line Presence

Sunday’s Dilbert cartoon really resonated with me.

In a job interview the boss tells the applicant.  “I researched your personal brand on line.  I looked at you blog, your tweets, and your Facebook page.  I googled your name and followed every link.  I checked your credit, criminal record, school transcripts and references.”  He went on to say, “But that’s just the external stuff…I also  have the results of your urine test.  And apparently some of your sample landed in a DNA test kit.  And that tanning bed you used last week was actually an MRI.”

As do most Dilbert cartoons, this one moved from some pretty accurate stuff to some pretty ridiculous stuff.  But there is some important career advice here.  Prospective employers will check you out on line.  It is to your advantage to make sure that what they see presents you in the best light possible.

Tweet 67 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Demonstrate self respect.  Be impeccable in your presentation of self – in person and on line.”

You need to have a web presence to create positive personal impact.   These days, I hear the question, “If you don’t exist on line, do you really exist?”  That’s a good question.  Prospective employers and customers will Google you.  You’ll be better off if they like what they see.  It’s much better than if they find unfavorable results or nothing at all.  Today when people want to learn about you most of their answers usually come from Google.

This can be pretty scary – if you don’t take the time to make sure that you have an internet presence that reflects well on you.  The best place to begin is with your unique personal brand.  Your personal brand highlights what is special and unique about you – why you are not a commodity.

For my money, the best book on personal branding is Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson.  They stress the importance of the “Three C’s” – Clarity, Consistency and Constancy.  You can use the internet to help you with all three C’s.

I’m a big believer in social networking sites to help you build your brand online.  LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are great places to build relationships with like-minded people.  Choose the social network where you have the greatest affinity with the people who are on it.  For my money, LinkedIn is the best social network for professional success.

Leaving comments on targeted blogs is another good way to build your brand on line.  This means that you read blogs that are tied to your field or area of expertise and comment on posts that interest you.  I used to be bad about this.  I read quite a few blogs, but commented very infrequently.  I set a goal to leave at least five comments on blogs per day.  That’s 25 comments a week.  I’ve stuck to it, and it has paid off.  I have raised my web presence by commenting on other people’s blogs.

Of course, I am in business for myself, and my web presence is very important to me.  You don’t have to do 25 comments a week.  Start small, one comment a day is a reasonable goal if you have limited time.

Starting your own blog and posting two or three times a week is another good way to build your on line presence and enhance your personal brand.  This assumes, of course, that you have something to say.  And, in my opinion, everyone has something to say.

On line book reviews are another way to build your brand.  Do you read a lot?  If so, take a few minutes and review books that you like on Amazon.com.  Because I blog about books quite a bit, I have started to receive complimentary review copies from major publishing houses – a real bonus and money saver.

A while back, I decided to post only positive reviews.  If I don’t like a book, I don’t do a negative review.  I do this because there are enough interesting, well written books out there.  I choose to focus on them instead of bashing those books (however few) I don’t like.  In this way, I am building a web presence as a kind and helpful guy.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Pay attention to your internet presence.  Use it to build your personal brand.  Prospective employers will google you – so will your customers.  Focus on the “three C’s” – Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy when building your brand on line.  Clean up any less than flattering on line impressions.  Start a blog, comment on other people’s blogs, write business book reviews.  Get your name out there in a positive way.

That’s the career advice I came up with after reading Dilbert on Sunday.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new career advice book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb.  You can find out about the membership site and get the career advice in I Want YOU… for free by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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