Take Charge of Your Online Profile
In today’s world, if people want to find out more about you, they head to the Internet. It may be a prospective employer, a co-op board member, an old friend trying to look you up, or even a future date; anyone who is interested in learning more about you will jump online and open a browser.
So it’s important to ask yourself, “What are they likely to find?” Are they going to be reassured about what a fine upstanding citizen you are? Or are they going to be shocked with what Google uncovers? (Or maybe they will find nothing at all, which can also be a problem!)
I realize that you can’t control everything on the Internet but you can control some things. Every social networking site you participate in – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube – asks you to create a profile, and it’s these profile pages that are likely to come up first when someone conducts a search.
Properly managing your profile is a great way to control the message you want to put out to the world. Here are a few tips on how to present a positive image:
Be consistent. Use the same name and profile across all your social networks, so people know it’s you and you present a consistent personal brand.
Make sure your profile picture is appropriate. While photos of you drinking and partying might go down well with your old college buddies, that’s probably not the image you want to project to future employers and neighbors. Post a recent head shot – and don’t forget to smile!
Provide some background. Facebook, Twitter and all the other popular social networks give you ample opportunity to tell people more about yourself. Take advantage of that opportunity. Use the tools available to project an image and information that you are comfortable with.
Cross link to other web sites and blogs. If you want to highlight a blog or another personal web site, then make sure you cross-link to it from your other social networks. Make your best work easy to find.
Be sparing with the inside jokes. If someone needs to know you well to understand a particular comment, then perhaps it’s not for your public profile. It’s good to be cute or funny but make sure it’s a joke that everyone can share in.
Make the Internet your friend. Build a profile and control the message!