Have You Checked Your Digital Profile Lately?

Last week a junior military officer (JMO) transitioning to business conducted a Personal Marketability Assessment with my colleague Rob Davis.  When this officer called in for his appointment, our caller ID showed (I am giving you the PG rated version of his Caller ID), “Inebriated Buttocks.”  You can figure out what it really said.  Not only did he call in once, but apparently his cell dropped the call the first time, so he had to call in a second time.  By this time, most people in our office saw the ID and were commenting on it.  This is not a good way to create the right first impression for an interview.  Rob gave him the feedback on his ID and he said he had no idea that his phone registered that name.

While I understand that this could be a big honest mistake and the phone number could have been registered to someone else at one time, it still does create a bad impression.  In some cases, it could be impossible to recover from.  This incident reminded me that it is each individual’s responsibility to know what their online/digital profile projects.  This is your personal brand.  While I do not hear companies looking for stellar LinkedIn profiles with lots of connections or recommendations, I do hear of incidents of people in industry having unprofessional LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, email addresses, Twitter accounts, etc.

I am not saying you cannot or should not have any of those social media tools, nor am I saying that you need to have robust social media profiles.  I am recommending to keep them clean and professional, just like you would communicate on a resume, application and in an interview.  So here are some tips:

1.        Do an internet search of your name

2.       Look at your Facebook or LinkedIn profile from another person’s perspective.  Remember, what others post on your Wall or Discussion board, others can see.

3.       Call other numbers with Caller ID to see what you register.

4.       Maintain professional email and Skype addresses.  I recommend FirstName.LastName and you can add in a middle initial, middle name or a number to differentiate it.  Just do not use your birth year.

It doesn’t make any sense to worry about what you wear or how you look for an interview or how great your resume is if your online profile tells a completely different story.

Joel Junker