Every day millions of us get rejected. Rejected for a date. Rejected for a job. Rejected for a film role or audition. Rejected for a speech. The list goes on. This, by the way, includes beautiful women, handsome men, clever people, experienced people. This includes you and it absolutely continues to include me.
Hurtful, isn’t it? You might think that you have never been rejected for anything, but I can assure that you have. You were just not aware of it. I know this because I have not only been a victim of it, I have also been guilty of doing it myself. Admittedly, it was a while ago while I was still single. Sorry ‘jellybeans’ from Palo Alto but you seemed a little too paranoid for my taste.
It happens because in a world where there are only 4 degrees of separation, people ‘check us out’ every single day. If you are single and you think that the girl in accounts likes you then you might be right, but the very first thing she will do is google you. If she happens to know your match.com user name she will google that too. (so if you are into military modelling or bondage then be sure to use a different name from the one you use on those sites). Girls have been doing this so long that it led to this very funny sketch below. Be wary of anyone called Lorenzo von Matterhorn! (thanks to my friend Frank Schwartz for telling me about this).
More importantly, prospective employers, directors, event organizers, publishers, teachers, team managers all do the same thing. It is very easy to find out a lot about someone just by googling the person. You can also use a site like beenverified.com or researchanyone.com and you will quickly find that it is frighteningly simple to find out where someone lives, what clubs they belong to, who they are friends with, etc.
Because of this, it is absolutely essential to start paying critical attention to our ‘personal brand’, which sounds like some kind of horrible marketing term, but is quite serious. How you come across, what kind of person you seem to be, what your image is, will help you or hinder you. It will make you money or make you broke. This is because without telling you and without talking to you, all those people who could make a serious difference to your life are checking you out.
Here is another thought: Do not think because there is nothing about you online that this OK either. Because in today’s world having no profile makes you really weird. What are you trying to hide? I not long ago rejected working with a CTO because he had literally no online presence. To be as senior as he wanted me to believe he was, he should have written some white papers, given some speeches, etc.
So think about it. How exactly do you seem online? Serious? Silly? Sexy? Professional? It’s very sobering to suddenly realize just how much this really matters.