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     So, how long has it been since you checked your LinkedIn picture?

Continuing a thread I started with my last Monthly Memo, today’s focus is selling YOU in the virtual world. I had a chance to share some of these thoughts with the west coast gathering of Women in Construction this month and it really got me thinking about how little time most people spend even considering this topic. The vast majority of people are busy doing their job – focused on the fire that needs attention right now. They are not thinking about their LinkedIn photo or that out-of-date info on the company bio.

Now, the profile of Monthly Memo readers leans to people who might work in the marketing, PR and communication world – but what about all the people those people work with and for? Many of them barely give a thought to this stuff. That is where the opportunity exists. Here are some quick, easy steps to share or handle for those non-marketing types.

First, this is not about vanity. Having an appropriate, professional and current photo as your virtual calling card on any platform where you are seen is the minimum bar for anyone. It’s amazing how few people can even reach this one. A badly cropped picture from your family reunion 10 years ago is not doing the job! If you are scheduled to have coffee with someone or a person is suggested for a possible job opening, what is the first thing you do? You look them up. It’s what everyone does. Spend some time, effort and maybe even some money to make sure your on-line calling card looks great. It’s not about vanity, it’s about professionalism.

Second, what do they read about you in those first sentences of the “About” section on LinkedIn or any other business-related search item? Does it engage the person within the first 10 words? Have you avoided too much “industry speak” so even the non-expert can understand? Is it up to date? Control what can be controlled and add new content to help push down some of those less flattering items. Just like a regular oil change or haircut, these basics cannot be ignored by professionals, yet too often that’s exactly what happens. Set a regular calendar reminder so it doesn’t slip away.

Third, once you’ve taken these steps, make sure you deliver when people meet you in person. Has it happened to you? The person seems engaging on-line and then you’re disappointed in person? Maybe the rules some people apply to the dating world can be adopted here? If that thought came to mind for you, you’re probably not alone. 

     Using a great photo like my friend Jeff Noble has taken as his profession for decades, or having engaging words pop off the screen can be the goal for anyone, not just a high-profile CEO. By taking these simple but important steps you can make sure you or those around you are putting their best foot forward in the virtual world.