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First impressions used to happen as people met face to face. But in today’s world, people meet others way before that step.

Meeting people and getting to know them used to require both parties to be present. With all this “newfangled” technology, this is certainly not the case anymore. These days, first impressions tend to start with either a Google or Facebook search and a little stalking.

It is important to monitor what any outside person will find when they search you. Here are some tips I have found helpful to keep in mind:

  • Does someone else have your name? Be sure that when people search you, they are finding information about you and not the other 8 billion John Smiths that exist. Do something to stand out. Include your middle initial in your Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile. Use SEO to bump yourself up to the top of a search. Mashable can show you how
  • Clean up your social media. No drinking. No drugs. Easy on the language. Make sure you are always looking over what your friends post and attach your name to. Don’t be afraid to un-tag, delete posts and even de-friend if need be. Don’t let someone else taint your pages.
  • Make sure you are consistent. If you look like a raging lunatic on Twitter but your LinkedIn shows how you run your own business while your Facebook has you saving orphans in Cambodia, outside viewers might be skeptical. Play to your strengths while still being honest.
  • Keep track of where your name is. Set up a search on your Google Reader that shows when new web content contains your name. This will help to stay aware of how people might find you. If you have a common name, this is a good idea to make sure your long lost twin isn’t shaming your name.
  • Ask a friend to take a look. Sometimes we become desensitized to what shows up online. Have people of different ages tell you the first things they notice. Not sure if a photo is appropriate? Wondering if your LinkedIn profile shows off your best talents? An outside perspective always helps.

Another great way to check out how awesome you are online on Klout. By connecting your various profiles, they give you a score based on how influential you are with whatever content you post and how your connections respond to it. I’m still learning how to use it but my competitive nature has me doing all I can to bump up my score.

Klout

What tips do you have to make a great impression online? Let me know in the comments below.

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As an official member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (I get a certificate and everything), our meetings provide opportunities to network with professionals in the public relations world or other relevant industries.

Tonight we heard from a blogger who refers to herself as the naked red head. Her hair is in fact red. She did not show up naked. Sarah Storer is a mentor of mine, without whom I’d have no resume, no cover letter, and, if we’re being frank, no clue.

She is a professional blogger. I didn’t know it was such a thing either.

I remember her at my first PRSSA meeting. She spoke about her blog and her Twitter; I hadn’t the slightest idea of what either of those things were at the time.

Naked Redhead Screen Shot

Needless to say she has helped me come a long way in terms of prepping for the professional world. My favorite lessons from Sarah

  • Blogs are great for soul puking
  • The Internet is nice
  • Use keywords on your resume and cover letter; it takes a while before humans actually look at them
  • It doesn’t matter how much content you put out, just make it consistent
  • White space is your friend
  • It is possible to get a job based on a rockin cover letter
  • Use Hootsuite.com and Bufferapp.com to schedule. It will make your life so much easier
  • Send out fewer applications and make them awesome. Quality over quantity
  • Stop freaking out. People keep telling me that; maybe one day I’ll listen

Listening to Sarah talk about how she finds herself with writer’s block from time to time, makes me feel better about my blogging uphill battle.

Tonight’s key take aways:

  • Write about something you’re passionate about
  • Let your blog content be organic (fair warning- what I write about could change any moment)
  • If you want comments, post comments

So the New Year’s resolution (I realize it is February but I make these all the time) is to engage in more interaction. I also have a tidbit of redesigning to do so things are more reader-friendly. Sorry that my font has been too small this entire time. 

I’d love your opinion. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my blog better?

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