Like it or not, we live in an electronic age where privacy is on the endangered species list, if not actually in the extinct category. That said, we can choose at least some aspects of our public presence. A key point in this regard is the online presence that is consciously claimed by executives and senior management individuals—or not claimed, as the case may be.

The reality is: If you are not readily visible online, in a positive way, you are essentially invisible when it comes to being found and considered credible by anyone who might be looking for someone like you. In particular, this means potential employers and others who may have a significant impact on your short--and long--term career prospects could overlook you, or even see, but ultimately disregard you because you do not come across as someone who is serious about his or her career.

One reason often given for not having a LinkedIn presence--or, at best, having a skeleton profile--involves the fear that the executive’s current employer will suspect he or she is actively looking for a new job. Two points come to mind in this regard:

  1. It makes sense for most, if not all, company management staff and others farther down the ladder to maintain an ongoing, professional presence there. It shouldn’t be done only when the individual is looking for a new opportunity.
  2. If you actually are seeking a new position, you can and should turn off the activity notification feature (under account settings) before updating your profile, so people in your network will not receive notice that the profile has been updated.

Another concern that some executives have voiced focuses on privacy in general and identity theft specifically. The decision to avoid having a robust online presence based on this concern is understandable but might be futile. Information about you most likely already exists online--just try Googling your name (“John Q. Citizen,” for example) and see what comes up. You might be surprised at how much is there that you didn’t specifically publicize and have no control over.

Suggested plan of action: Choose what you want to have seen online and maintain that in an appropriate manner. Use prudence in the details and amount of information you share, but do not let fear dictate it and turn you into an invisible person.


Georgia AdamsonThis article was written by Georgia Adamson, MRW / ACRW, of BlueSteps Executive Career Services (ECS), Blue Ribbon Resume and the blog A Successful Career ( Georgia has served senior executives globally since 1993. Through intensive one-on-one consultations, Georgia helps executives uncover their strengths and highlight their most meaningful career accomplishments to position them for their next executive opportunity.


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