As you sit back enjoying the holiday season, possibly deciding to scale back your work load for end of the year celebrations, remember that this is the perfect time of year to prepare for those New Year’s resolutions that may include acquiring a new position, clients or building yourself as an industry expert. While most people forgo working on their resolutions until the New Year, you should lay the groundwork now.

  1. Update your headshots. While your work security badge picture or your 1992 Glamour Shots portrait may seem sufficient, having a sharp, professional image to present on your social media profiles when employers/customers connect with you is a must. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile and beefing up the quality of your tweets in 2014 won’t matter much if contacts don’t take you seriously due to your profile pictures.
  2. Upload your contacts. Whatever your professional relationship goals are in 2014, you need to actually be connected to your ‘real world’ and business card contacts online or, at least, have their email addresses in your email account. One of my favorite resources is Throw all of your business cards into one of their virtually indestructible envelopes and within a few business days you’ll be able to download a file from Shoeboxed and upload your contacts into Outlook, Gmail, LinkedIn, etc.
  3. Google yourself. You can perform a simple Google search or use Google’s Me on theWeb feature. Do you like what you see? Has your ‘evil name twin’ taken over the web results? If not, and you know the owner of the content, you may ask them to remove it. If it is a profile you created, it’s time to clean it up or deactivate your account. If the first two options do not work, you may want to take this opportunity to create social media profiles and blog posts with your name that can push those undesireable results down in search. has a free do-it-yourself option that can help you raise positive web search results in search engines, pushing the undesirable results further down. Whatever your business resolutions are in 2014, having negative information associated with your online brand is sure to throw a wrench in your plans when desired contacts google you.

Cleaning up your brand now, at the end of 2013, will allow you to hit the ground running in 2014 with new job searches, networking and acquiring new clients!


This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.