Originally posted on the Advertising Week Blog, November 9, 2011 by AWSC

Today, most people understand the importance of the social web in building their personal professional brand.

This is hardly a new story.

And, when it comes to the workplace, employees understand the implications:

If something out there could harm your reputation, it could impact your chances of getting a job.

Old news, right?

Well, something happened the other day that cemented it in my consciousness in a new way.

One of our offices issued a call for help:

They needed to deliver a project and wondered if one of my colleagues could help with the assignment. His biography was quickly sent to the client with a request for a telephone interview to check chemistry and answer any questions.

The next day, the client called us.

He had spent three hours doing a background check on our consultant and claimed to have read everything that this person had ever written online. The good news? He was more than impressed and saw an immediate fit. He waived the proposed telephone interview, preferring instead for the consultant to start working on his business immediately.

For those of us in the agency world, this is an interesting twist.

Our personal histories online are no longer just a factor in landing a new job or promotion, they are also becoming critical to winning new business.

Clients are turning to the social web as part of their due diligence when hiring agency partners. Our traditional biographies – still added to proposals in a traditional offline format – are nothing more than a jumping off point for online searches regarding content captured by Linkedin, Tumblr, Google, Twitter and Facebook.

If you’re on Twitter and you are or aren’t active, your clients will know.

If you’ve blogged or commented on a blog, that, too, is easy to find.

Your work history with dates, responsibilities and peer recommendations is open for review on Linkedin and, if it isn’t, flags are often raised.

People can check.

And they will.

We’re in a new age of transparency where it is not enough to tell a client that you know how to do something.

You have to show it.

And today, showing it means creating the personal content to demonstrate how you’ll add value to their business.