In all honesty, I’m not quite sure how many seconds it takes for someone to form an often lasting first impression of you. All I know is the answer is not very many. Most people when they go out networking are used to checking their appearance before they leave. Well, if you are like me and have small children with dangerously snotty noses (well, dangerous to my clean smart clothes), this is a ‘must do’ before leaving the house. Actually, I will often head straight to the ladies toilet when I arrive at a venue to check my appearance and apply a quick bit of lippy.

But I digress, the point of this blog post is not to remind you to check your PHYSICAL appearance before you go out networking; I credit you with enough common sense to do that. The point of this article is to remind you to spend as much care and attention on your virtual appearance as well as your physical appearance. With social networking coming of age – people are very likely to ‘check’ you out online before they meet you. This means that people are already forming a perception of you BEFORE they meet you. Isn’t it in your interest to make sure that they get the very best first impression you can give?

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Let’s go through a quick check list:

  1. Do you have a professional head and shoulders shot on your social networking profiles? And, does it show you at your best as well as looks like you?
  2. When you google your name, what the first things that people see about you? Compromising photos of you on facebook which are set to public access, are likely to feature very highly in search engine results…
  3. How dusty is your LinkedIn profile? Having a status update which was last updated a few months ago, doesn’t look great. Is your profile up-to-date and reassuringly complete? Just having your name and your last few job titles isn’t a great advert for you – particularly to potential new clients or hiring managers.
  4. Is the information contained in the rest of your social networking sites profiles up-to-date? You need to have consistent information about you across the web.
  5. Your company website – what does this say about you? An old tired brochure site which needs updating is not going to get you any favours.
  6. Have you got a google search alert set up for your name and your company’s name?

Having just written this list, I think I have some work to do! If you would like some help to think about the content you would like to share to build your online footprint, then download our free guide to content planning.

What else is on your online appearance check list?

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