Fireside Chats: Perception

How do others see you? How do you want to them to see you? What are you doing about it — now?

I’m bringing this up because a friend and colleague, John White, recently wrote a response to a reader of his blogs who wanted to make more of an impact at his company than he has been doing, or even possibly change jobs. He wondered if he needs a personal brand. He’s active on social media, but merely to show pictures, “talk trash” with his buds, and laugh at jokes.

The reader sounded like he was in his late 20s, so he really needs to rethink his impact on social media and the workplace — NOW. He already has a “personal brand” based on everything that’s on social media, flattering or not.

John wisely told him that recruiters and HR personnel nearly always look at someone’s online presence as part of their “due diligence” to see if a candidate has anything good or bad they need to know before talking with that person.

And it can take some work to bring an online presence up to par, if all the experts are right about what we put on social media having a half-life ten times longer than that of uranium. John told him to get going now to use social media to find those who could help him, who could see him as someone they might like to know, and to see him as someone they might like to hire. Read his article here.

I would just add these few items:

1. Start cleaning up your social media accounts NOW. Do you have pictures of being wasted on booze on Facebook, Snapchat, or Pinterest? Do they show you driving poorly? Acting like a 12-year-old at an inappropriate time? Check your friends’ posts, as best you can. Have you been tagged in pictures or posts you now see as unhelpful to the future you? If so, can you get them taken down, or at least get untagged in them? You may not be able to get rid of all of them, but start. You need to be seen as a grownup, not a kid, before the headhunters come looking.

2. Establish a professional profile on sites like LinkedIn. Use a professional-looking headshot. Write a summary using proper English and grammar (save the text bits for texting). List your accomplishments and/or strengths. Ask others for recommendations that you can post. Write recommendations for your colleagues. For more sites that can help, click here.

3. Become a new YOU on social media. Going forward, only post stuff that shows you in your best light. After you’ve cleaned up your own profile on all the sites you’re on, check out others. Spend 30 minutes a day building YOUR reputation as someone worthwhile in the business community. Be seen as someone with a brain, a conscience, and a point of view that is admirable. For more information on this, click here.

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.

Get going now, before you need to. Many years ago, I ran across this advice (above) from Harvey Mackay, and it’s stayed in my mind since. It’s the title of a book he wrote in 1999, but it’s as timely now — maybe even more so — than it was then.

To all those who haven’t achieved what they want yet: START. Connect with people. Join online conversations. Share others’ posts, with a friendly comment or two. (You never know who might be interested in YOU!) Don’t just lurk; interact!

Follow some writers who might help you one day, and take a long view. 

This kind of upward change rarely happens overnight, but it does happen all the time.

There are many experts out there who would love to help you. What kind of help do you most need?

For social media advice, talk with John White.
For writing effective résumés, talk with Lynda Spiegel.
If you want a job interview coach, talk with Deb Helfrich.
If you want help using LinkedIn to your advantage, ask Loribeth Pierson.

Dig the well.

Plant the seeds. 

Reap the harvest.