When I applied for my first job at McDonald’s – back in the 80’s – I spent hours putting together a fancy CV. I included details of my school, my hobbies, my family, my community service activities as well as a photo. I also had to source some referees who had to ‘fax over’ their kind words so I could send it all in the mail to McDonald’s.
Haven’t times changed! Fast forward to 2014 and almost every bit of the above information (and loads more) is available online to any of my future employees. If they were to spend just 5 minutes ‘Googling’ me they would discover a plethora of information about me that would help them form a judgement about me (hopefully good!) very quickly.
There is no dispute that your online reputation aka digital reputation can make or break your credibility and prospects. Whether it is an inflammatory comment on a forum, a photo of you at a wild and crazy party or even your “Like” of unusual Facebook pages – this activity together helps people form an impression of you which becomes your digital reputation.
Many experts believe our ‘digital reputation’ will be the currency of the future. A less than desirable online reputation could mean the difference between becoming School Captain, securing a scholarship, getting a part-time job at McDonald’s or most importantly, a real job in the real world.
In response to many people’s concern about their digital lives catching up with them, companies such as Reputation.com and BrandYourself.com have opened their doors to provide professional assistance to help clean up or ‘fix’ dodgy online reputations – for a fee.
However if you are keen to keep a close eye on your online rep, then there is plenty you can do to make sure you are in good shape online. Here are my top tips:
- Google Yourself. And don’t forget about Google Images too. Google has a great tool called Me On The Web which notifies you when your personal data appears online. So set up the alert and stay ahead of any new content. Google also offers a URL removal tool that can remove a page or site from its search results if you need it.
- Accept that Nothing Is Ever Truly Private Online. Always use privacy settings on social media but realise that your private pictures could be shared by anyone of your friends. So never post any pictures of yourself that you don’t want the world to see. If someone else posts a picture of you on Facebook that you find embarrassing, don’t hesitate to remove the “tag” that identifies it as you.
- Post Positive Content on Social Media. Join as many social networks as you can manage (don’t forget about Google+) and post to them at least once per month. News stories, thoughts on current affairs and not too intimate personal tidbits work well. Also customise your URL (or web address) to include your name.
- Create an Identity Hub. Buy Your Domain Name and use it as an opportunity to share information about yourself including a bio. Regularly sharing articles or professional insight is very powerful. Link between your social media accounts and your domain page. These links effectively give your pages ‘votes’ which improves the chances of your domain name appearing higher in search results.
At the end of the day managing your online resume is all about creating up-to-date good quality, positive content that will drive any ‘less than desirable’ further down in the search results.
So if you have some skeletons in your cupboard and you are looking for a new job – get cracking now. Set up a domain name (or two), start posting regularly to your social media networks and pump out some good quality content that will be sure to catch the eye of your future employer!
Till Next Time