Before you know it, the year 2017 will be here. The future will be upon us.
The year 2017 has a science fiction feel to it, as if it could be the setting for an episode of The Twilight Zone. However, we have no flying cars. Aliens have not taken over the world (yet). And we have not eradicated disease from the planet.
What we do have, though, is something called the World Wide Web, or as some of you might call it, the Internet.
And in what might seem like it was pulled from a Twilight Zone plot line, you have a presence in the real world and you also have a presence in the virtual world. It’s almost like there are two of you—one in the physical world and one in the world of “cyberspace.”
So all science fiction and Rod Serling aside, does your presence in the real world match your presence in the virtual world? If they don’t, what differences exist and are those differences doing actual damage to your career, both in the short term and for the long haul?
Your online presence, of course, is the information about you that exists on the Internet, both personal and professional. As you’ve probably already guessed, everything about you that exists on the Internet can affect your career, regardless of whether it’s personal or professional.
An individual’s online presence is defined largely by social media. That’s why what you post on the various social media outlets is so important. However, that presence is not confined solely to social media.
Here are some additional questions to consider:
Do you even have an online presence?
If so, what does that online presence consist of?
Does your online presence portray you in a positive light or a negative light?
If you were a hiring authority, what would you think of your presence?
Hiring authorities “Google” the names of candidates long before they contact them about a potential job opening. They see what the Internet turns up, including what a general search returns, as well as what information is available on social media channels.
And here’s the kicker: having NO online presence is nearly as bad as having a negative presence. That’s because hiring authorities might regard you with suspicion. (After all, who’s not online these days?)
To this point, we’ve been using the phrase “online presence.” That denotes simply existing on the Internet. However, what you really want is an “online identity,” not just a vague, fuzzy presence. It has become culturally expected and professionally accepted to have as much of an identity on the Internet as you do in real life.
And because we obviously love to post questions in this particular blog post, here’s another important one:
If you knew for sure that a hiring authority would see what’s online about you before they even speak with you or meet with you, how would that change your attitude about your identity?
If you only have an online presence, invest in that presence until it becomes an identity. Then carefully cultivate that identity so that it helps you.
You have a virtual twin. They live on the Internet. Take the steps necessary to ensure that your next job search doesn’t end like an unfortunate episode of The Twilight Zone.
Time Staffing Inc.