Tag: linkedin

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Me and My Web Shadow- a must-read for anyone wanting to manage their online reputation, by Antony Mayfield
Me and My Web Shadow- a must-read for anyone wanting to manage their online reputation, by Antony Mayfield

I was recently at a presentation about digital communications and when the speaker asked if anyone had Googled themselves lately there were sniggers in the room. Maybe my fellow delegates were thinking that Googling oneself is a sign of being ‘big-headed’ and egotistical? I didn’t snigger- putting my name into search engines has been something I’ve done for years. It’s a really important part of managing your personal online reputation.

The presentation reminded me of a book I read in 2010: Me and My Web Shadow by Antony Mayfield. You can buy it here on Amazon– I recommend that you do.

When you browse the contents page you’d be forgiven for thinking that any chapter called ‘Privacy and Facebook’ would be out of date before it was even published, and you’d be right. In fact, Mayfield acknowledges this in the introduction- it’s a fact of life that content about technology and the web will be outdated shortly after it’s written.

That said, there are some fundamental principles that Mayfield writes about that if followed, will help you manage what is written about you on the internet, and we all know that most employers check job candidates out online, before they even read their CV.

Mayfield cites his Top Ten Rules for Managing Your Web Shadow. I’ve summarised these into my Top 5:

1. Search yourself regularly

Put your name into Google and other search engines on a regular basis to see what comes up about you. If something comes up that has been written about you that is not particularly positive, you need to take steps to address this…

2. Be in control – be the best source of information about yourself

When a new social network enters the market, even if you don’t understand it or see the relevance to you yet, sign up and take your preferred username before anyone else can.

If you’re present on multiple networks, Google is likely to bring all your profiles or content up first (and let’s face it, no-one looks past the first page of Google- it’s the best place to be). Mayfield says: “If you are first in Google then you always have the first say about yourself”. If you are the source then you can be sure the information about you is accurate, current and always positive.

3. Know your networks and be useful in them

So if you’re a PR professional, it’s important for you to be present in all the networks, media, forums, groups, pages, circles etc that all your PR colleagues (and competitors) are in. How will you hear what’s going on if you’re not present? And the next step up from simply being there is to be useful. Provide content, whether you’ve created it or curated it, that your network will find engaging and relevant.

4. Behave differently on your professional and personal networks

Unless your professional and personal lives are one and the same, it’s important to distinguish your behaviour in the online spaces you inhabit. For example, I don’t say anything about work on Facebook and I don’t particularly want photos of me out in a bar popping up on LinkedIn. The key to getting this right is understanding privacy settings and making sure you regularly check that your privacy hasn’t slipped.

5. Remember that your web shadow is a permanent record

What goes online stays online! If you don’t want a permanent record of what you’re thinking about saying, don’t say it. Don’t tweet when you’ve been drinking or when you’re angry. Although content can be deleted after it’s published, the chances are that if it’s something you wanted to delete, it’s already been retweeted or shared many times over, so it’s too late to be un-done.

Managing your online reputation is as important as how you present yourself in the real world. They are in fact, one and the same. Google yourself now and if you’re surprised by what you find, take action to put it right.

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Women lack the confidence needed to be ambitious

Wonder Woman
We can’t all be career-baby-children-life-relationship-house-juggling super-heroes

There’s been a lot in the press recently about gender differences in the workplace. Three things in particular have caught my eye (and ear):

  • This CMI survey on the gender pay gap highlighting that male managers earned average bonuses twice as big as their female counterparts over the last 12 months
  • A discussion paper from CIM on Women in Marketing asking if women in our profession are victims of a glass ceiling
  • A broadcast on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: ‘Be Ambitious,’ which begins with the phrase “A woman is bossy, a man is the boss”. You can hear the broadcast here:

It’s this last piece that is of most interest to me. The presenters (MD, writer and presenter Heather McGregor, and Careers Consultancy Chief Exec Penny DeValk) discuss the notion that an ambitious woman is not necessarily attractive and that this is in part why women seem to have a problem with reaching the top in business.

We are advised to take chances and to focus, perhaps a bit like a man would, on what we want from our career. Success is a result of confidence and ambition and these two behaviours are intrinsically linked. Women fall down because we lack the confidence needed to be ambitious, and therefore are less successful.

What suppresses ambition in women?

McGregor says that “Women are ‘aspirational’” and that the difference between aspiration and ambition is “doing something about it”. So why aren’t we doing enough to achieve our goals?

According to the CIM discussion paper, it could be because women are not very good at putting their hand up to take the credit for work done well and this has led to a lack of female role models. I have certainly found this to be the case in my career. I look around me and find that I can’t identify with a lot of the women I deem to be ‘successful’.

I think this is broadly because MOST of these women don’t have children, or if they do, then these women are career-baby-children-life-relationship-house-juggling super-heroes and this is not something I can hope to be like at this stage in my life (and nor do I want to be).

Unlike men, women on the whole, are not very good at career planning. Men will often apply for a job they are only 20% qualified for whereas a woman will wait until she’s 100% qualified. Perhaps this is to do with the fear of failure. Perhaps it’s to do with being ‘aspirational’ and not ambitious- being ‘hopeful’ of achieving success, rather than taking action.

So how do we become more confident?

McGregor says that taking small steps such as placing the Financial Times in your handbag so that people can see it when you walk in the room can build confidence. I think tactics like this can help but I plan to take more assertive action.

I’m going to surround myself with powerful, successful women, and if I can’t find these role models at work, then I’ll look elsewhere- the CIM, LinkedIn perhaps. I’m also going to write a career plan with action points showing how I’ll maintain my capital as a credible marketer through learning and skills development, so that my career stays ‘on track’.

And do you know what…? I’m going to start shouting loud about my successes, and my contribution to the bottom line so that when that dream job comes up that I think I’m only 80% qualified for, I have the confidence to go for it. (I doubt I’ll ever be someone that feels comfortable going for a job I can only do a fifth of).

I’m going to start taking a few more chances. Are you?