I recently had a conversation with Marc Miller, a recovering engineer and the current career design specialist, at Career Pivot.
I encourage you to listen to the complete conversation on the podcast but during the editing process, I noticed that everything Marc and I talked about kept coming back to a single question.
It’s a question we may not be asked directly or have to give a verbal answer for.
But it’s an important question because it can be asked at any time, day or night, whether you are physically present or not.
It will be asked by recruiters, hiring managers, potential customers or partners. It will be asked by people you’ve never met or worked with.
What’s the question they ask themselves but not you?
“How do I know that you know your stuff?”
The answer is tied directly to your reputation.
YOUR WORK REPUTATION
There was a time in the not so distant past when other people’s knowledge of your work ethic and abilities could only be gleaned through direct interaction.
This happened as a result of working together in some capacity usually within the four walls of an organization.
In these situations, if you wanted to move from one department to another, your reputation proceeded you. People already know that you know your stuff because within the company you are a “known” entity.
So how do people outside of your company’s four walls know that you know your stuff?
Frankly, they didn’t. They couldn’t. The only real way for anyone to understand your reputation was to work with you directly.
That is until the internet came along and, more specifically, social media.
YOUR SOCIAL REPUTATION
Your social reputation is based on what others glean about you from social media. Many people view their social reputation differently than their work reputation.
That is a mistake.
You should view your social reputation the same way you view your work reputation because others do.
In fact, recruiters, hiring managers, potential customers or partners use your social reputation to assess whether or not you know your stuff.
Now, before you think this is the stuff of fairy tales, here is something to consider:
94% of recruiters review your social profile BEFORE they decide to give you a call. – Jobvite
Guess what recruiters are looking for when they review your social profile? That’s right. They want to find out if you know your stuff.
You have two choices when it comes to your social reputation, actively participate and manage it or let Google do it for you.
Let Google manage it
Try this exercise. Open a Chrome incognito window. Search for your name. Use the first and last name others will use to look for you.
Once the results are in for each of the top ten results do the following.
1 – Click the link and visit the site.
2 – Screen capture the front page
3 – Print the screen capture
4 – Place all ten screen captures in front of you
Ask yourself this question:
What is Google telling others about you?
Using only Google results, would your online reputation demonstrate to others that you know your stuff?
If the answer is no, then you need to strongly consider active participation and management of your social reputation.
Actively participate and manage your social reputation
We often forget that people search for us online. We also forget this search can happen at anytime and anyplace, day or night.
What people find when they search for us impacts their thoughts and feelings about us. It can cost us opportunities or bring opportunities our way.
Todd Lohenry refers to this as the “zero moment of truth”. That is the moment when the search engine displays its results after someone has searched your name.
Savvy business professionals make it a point to ensure what comes up at the “zero moment of truth” is reflective of their reputation.
They ensure the results demonstrate and convey that they know their stuff.
The single best way for you to do the same is to build a personal website and start blogging.
Blogging has many advantages, chief among them is the ability to express your opinions and expertise on a particular topic or subject matter.
In this way, you are demonstrating to others your knowledge, your thought leadership and most importantly that you know your stuff.
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR SEARCH RESULTS
I get pushback from business professionals about the need for a personal website. It’s usually because they are apprehensive about the technology.
I promise you, it’s not as difficult as it may seem and you might even enjoy it. There is no better way for you to show you know your stuff than by blogging.
Push aside your apprehension. Build your personal website and hit publish. Doing so will set you apart from the crowd.
In a recent survey conducted by About.me of 300 HR professionals they found the following:
67% noted a personal website provides more insight into a candidate than a resume alone.
Additional insight is really what people are searching for when searching for you online. They want to know if you know your stuff.
So help them out by helping yourself and start your website today.