How To Master The Digital First Impression

How To Master The Digital First Impression

First impressions last.

It’s more than a saying; recent studies in neurobiology have proven it.

But in the Information Age, first impressions are less and less likely to be formed in person. Instead, they are delivered on computer screens via the results of a Google or LinkedIn search. Before ever connecting with you in the real world, people are using the web to get to know you, and they’re making decisions about you based on what they see.

Surprisingly, many professionals still treat their online identity as a “nice to have but not an absolute must.” The implications of ignoring your online branding are vast. You could be sending the wrong message, making it hard to build an authentic relationship in the future. You could miss out on opportunities as well. You don’t know who might be researching you, then deciding not to contact you for a job or other opportunity because of their first virtual impression. We know from research that first impressions are critical, and they are hard to change. In fact, they are so powerful that after we learn more information about someone we’ve just met, we work to try to make the information align with what we discerned from our first impression.

This phenomenon is called anchoring or focalism. Wikipedia defines it as a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. This is why it’s essential that you make sure the “bits and bytes” version of you is consistent with the “flesh and bones” you if you want to successfully connect with others and maximize career opportunities.

How can you control and manage your online ID without having it taking over your life?

Get your page one Google results in order

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