Why Monitoring Your Online Reputation is Essential to Your Career Survival
The act of monitoring what you have said (and done) and what others have to say about you online is called online reputation management, and it’s important. Seriously important.
Why Does Online Reputation Management Matter So Much?
Once upon a time, a person could apply for a job by filling out an application, sending in a resume, and then doing well in an interview. Maybe the employer would check an applicant’s references. Those days are pretty much over. In fact, the days of having separate private and professional lives are pretty much gone, too.
Case in point: More job hunters than ever are reporting that potential employers aren’t just checking references, backgrounds, and credit ratings (yep, that credit card you defaulted on your sophomore year could be what keeps you from getting a job)and sometimes forcing you to submit to a drug test anymore. Now employers are checking potential employees’ social media accounts, too. That’s right kids, you’re being Googled.
How to Start Managing Your Online Reputation
Start the same way you would if you wanted to know anything else: Pull up Google and type in your name. What comes up?
Check out some of the free online tools that are available, like WhosTalkin.com and Secure.Me. Make sure you have some time for this because sorting through the results can take quite a while.
If you are really serious—which you should be, particularly if you ever want to start your own business or build a brand for yourself—you should think about working with a professional service who can not only help you see what people are saying but make sure that the false or negative stuff gets taken down.
The Good News
It is never too late to start building a good and positive Web-based reputation for yourself. How do you do that?
- Make sure that the privacy settings on your personal social media accounts are set as high as they can go.
- Don’t post anything online that would make your grandmother blush.
- Don’t say anything about anybody else online that you wouldn’t be proud to say to that person’s face while in front of a crowd of people.
- Ask your family and friends to check with you before they post stories or pictures about you on their own sites.
- Don’t ever give out your passwords to email or social media accounts.
Settle in for the Long Haul
It is important to understand that managing your online reputation is not a onetime thing. It is an ongoing activity, especially for the young entrepreneurs out there. The Internet is not a snapshot, it’s a living breathing organism and new things are posted to it every second of every day. Making sure that your reputation stays intact (and positive) isn’t something that you can do once or twice a year.
So set up some Google Alerts for yourself. Respond quickly and as positively as possible. Keep the venting confined to the pages of your (locked, analog, handwritten) diary.
Do these things, take this advice, and watch how quickly you set yourself apart as the most trustworthy applicant or business of the bunch!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer who writes about physician reputation management and a number of other topics.