"The thought of Googling myself makes my skin crawl."
My prior post covered what I see as the top questions/reservations coming from business people on the subject of social media. The number one concern I hear has to do with taking the big jump into a pool that strikes many as overly self promotional, vain, unprofessional, or simply too revealing for comfort.
All understandable points.
Consider the flip side.
Would you go to an important meeting or an interview without first looking in the mirror? You would want to know you look okay, and fix anything that might be out of place, right?
Today, "Google is the New Mirror."
What do you look like? Not knowing could be like walking into an Interview with your fly down and spinach in your teeth.
When someone Googles your name (it could be a customer who wants to know what your track record is before they meet you; it could be an entity that wants to partner with you; it could be a company who is considering hiring or featuring you), what do they see?
Do you even show up on the first page of Google search?
How hard do they have to work to find you?
The longer it takes them to find you, the more of a non-entity you might seem to be.
What if the first listing under YOUR name is a photo of a Tequila swilling 40-something? A convict? A person who is the antithesis of you ... or of someone whose resume is close enough to yours to be confusing?
Is it professionally courteous, expedient, or responsible not to know what you look like to others?
Last year I had as radio guests on EMC's Visual Talk Radio Show Barbara Massa, EMC's head of North America Recruiting operation and Dan Schawbel, both author of the new Personal Branding book, Me 2.0and EMC's resident social media specialist.
A take away from this program is that matching talent to opportunity today is a branding two-way street.
Opportunity needs to be able to know about You and what You stand for.
You need to know about Opportunity and what it could mean to You/Your business.
Today, you expect every entity to have a presence on the web. You want to research every hotel room, baseball bat, pair of jeans, house and technology gadget before you decide. If something is not on the web, it must not be significant enough to be worthy of your consideration, right?
Guess what? That's what the world expects when it comes to talent/people/partners. They want to research you on-line before making the next step. If you're not on-line, you likely are not significant enough to be considered. Ouch.
Barbara noted the funny twist that exists today. No one expects a young person to have a presence on the web. They're just starting out and their careers are likely far from remarkable. Everyone expects senior people to have a presence on the web. They have, their resume says, launched products, turned around companies, and done other amazing things.
Only the reality is exactly the opposite.
The young people are easily found and their credentials and claims are validated on line. The senior people are not easily found or validated.
There is no such thing as "Job Security" any longer. What got you to where you are won't keep you where you are.
What can you do about it?
Be relevant. Be found. Be vain if that what it takes.
The pay off?
The larger "your brand," the larger your company's brand and the larger the opportunities that can find their way to you and to your company.
If you want to know more on this subject, Dan's book is available as of March 30, 2009. It is a super read for anyone getting started with the concept of personal branding, or anyone in the job search game. If you can't wait for the book in the mail, check out his blog. He lives this space.
-------------------- Talk Back ------------------------
"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?"
Do you exist if the Internet doesn't know you?
Do you have spinach in your teeth if you don't own your personal brand, a.k.a. your digital identity?