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January 24, 2010

YOUR LIFE IS A RESUME

by stevenwyer

I remember buying a book on how to write the perfect resume. Sure, this was back in the day when information came mainly in written form, and recommendations included high quality paper choice and choosing the right type font. Still, nearly every time I go to Kinkos I see people laboring over a paper choice; amazing.

Here is a news alert for you: YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS A RESUME AND YOU HAD BETTER READ IT!

When I was a young salesman, my dad use to tell me that it was important to wear the proper shoes and drive the right car. “They don’t know your family, where you live or who you voted for, but they will evaluate you by your shoes and a car – that’s the ticket.” It should be noted that at eighteen I was driving a brand new Oldsmobile Toronado; red with white leather. I also took a keen interest in Italian shoes way before my time, but that is another story.

We tell our reputationadvocate.com clients that the necessity to put their best foot forward is still essential but it’s a whole new world. “Your best foot” is now electronic and global. It is not primarily anything you have put in print; it’s not even your speaking in the first person. Even without your knowledge, here is what can be found out about you quickly:

Where you live:
The white pages are electronic. Any public social site you have joined is a potential gateway to your address and phone number.

What your house looks like and what it’s worth:
Have you heard of Zillow.com? Virtual appraisals, recent sales, and if your house is currently for sale. How about Google Maps – is your house on an acre lot, one or two stories, do you have a swimming pool, a garage, property taxes?

Who are your neighbors?
Grab an address from Zillow, log in to a reverse append address site and enter the address. See what comes up. Google them. Who are they and what is their resume?

Political giving:
What you have given to political campaigns – contributions by amount, candidate and party.

What you read:
It can be found on Facebook, Anobii, Reddit, Amazon; there are hundreds of book reading sites.

Community involvement:
Memberships, if lists are published. Fraternities, sororities, associations and clubs.

Anyone can find this type of information out quickly with just a little effort. HR directors and headhunters are particularly quick. So if you’ve applied for a job and you don’t get a call back, you may want to take a look at the information they are finding. All of this combines to build an online resume. You can methodically create content or your content will certainly create a perception of you. It’s your choice.

This type of transparency can be both threatening and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Utilizing various websites, blogs and social sites, you can choose to disclose aspects of your life that others will find helpful in evaluating who “you” are. In the same way that you would painstakingly work through a printed resume, lay out a plan for your online content.

Reputationadvocate.com can help you define what information will be presented. Education, community and social activities, interests, travel, family and work history can all add up to build a very positive online “you”. If you have published research for school or work, find a channel to publish it online. Select pictures that present you in the most favorable light possible. Grammar, punctuation and sentence structure – all of the same components used in a written resume –  are needed in building a strong online presence.

And here’s one final thought. Have someone proof for you. While asking for help in proofing a written resume seems logical, most people don’t take it into consideration when they create online content. Since most sites do not have spelling and grammar checking functions, the probability for error is high. Nothing reflects quite as poorly on someone as when important information has errors. Take the time to have someone read the content as soon as it is posted up. Get comments back and then edit and correct errors immediately. Remember, what you post goes “live” to the world once you hit Enter.

-Steven Wyer

Steven C. Wyer is the Managing Director of Reputation Advocate, LLC (reputationadvocate.com) The firm specializes in online reputation repair for both individuals and companies. Steven Wyer can be reached at 888-229-0746.

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