The one thing every Olympian should do before they leave Rio is update their social media identity across all platforms.
For a brief moment in time Olympic athletes capture the global stage and water cooler conversations. It’s not only those who make the podium, but those we discover in the diverse narratives of their journeys to Rio. The majority will return to their home countries as national heroes, contributing to society, away from the media spotlight. A few may return as coaches or commentators in four years. Most will miss the opportunity to capture the Olympic experience as a bridge to the next phase of their career.
In the past I have worked with returning Olympians who hesitate to include their achievements in sport on their resume. The most competitive athletes are the most reticent to record their accomplishments.
They just don’t think it’s relevant. It is.
In the global workplace, it’s not just the resume; social media communicates talent instantaneously to potential employers. Your professional image is transmitted through your social media identity.
On Saturday, American Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal awarded at the games in the women’s the 10-meter air rifle. Within a few hours she was taking her first TV interview on NBC, describing her hectic schedule of additional events and starting her sophomore year at West Virginia University.
In describing her life over the next couple of weeks, Thrasher gave voice to the stress that accompanies the life of every student athlete, combining sport with academics. Often lost, is time for reflection on how these experiences transform the athlete into a professional @work.
How do you build the bridge from sport to work on social media?
Take a look at your social media presence across all platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter…
Do all the pieces fit into a unifying narrative? If not, it’s time to edit. As an Olympian, expectations have been raised and your online image should reflect your aspirations vs. social missteps.
Have you created links to videos and press coverage of your accomplishments?
Do you post videos and press coverage on your Twitter account?
Have you checked with third party sites to ensure your profile information is up to date?
Do you have an account on LinkedIn? (If you’re making the transition from sport to your next career, this component of your professional online identity is critical as you build your ‘next career’ network.)
There are many athletes who hesitate to be defined by their sport, but the skills developed in pursuit of Olympic gold closely match those sought by potential employers: teamwork, goal orientation, communications, problem-solving, and resilience.
Whether you are a summer Olympian, or a star on your own professional stage, it’s time to seize the moment and refresh you social media identity.
Photo credit: US Women’s Rugby Seven – Geoff Burke for USA TODAY Sports