Autumn St. John is the content manager for Position Ignite, a website which offers a more inspiring, fun, insightful and creative approach to career support. In this blog post she looks at online reputation management – essential for today’s savvy joined up networkers.
Do you know the extent of your online presence? Are you happy with what employers might find out about you by Googling your name? It can be a hard fact to get your head round, but if you’ve used the internet – ever – then you have a digital footprint.
Around 80% of employers will Google you and search for your online presence before meeting you for an interview (source: CIPD). Your online reputation could be the first impression you make to an employer (and everyone knows how important first impressions are).
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is all about controlling the information people can find out about you and ensuring they find the online persona that you want to portray. For greater control, keep your personal and professional online personas separate.
Every blog post, tweet, status update and photo of you forms a part of your reputation. Employers will dig up information about you from your Facebook page (change your settings to private if you don’t want them to see it). But they also look on other popular networking sites like LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube and Twitter – and also lesser-known sites like Biznik, Xing, and Ziggs. There are also Big Brother-like applications like the Xobni plug-in for Outlook where an employer can see a snapshot of your online presence as soon as you email them.
It’s down to you to trace and manage this footprint to present yourself in the best possible light. Start by mimicking the employer: Google yourself and set up a Google Alert with your name as the search term. Test different search terms and also try putting “your name” in quote marks.
Search for yourself on Google images – you don’t want an embarrassing photo that you’ve forgotten about rearing its ugly head! If you discover something disparaging and you can’t delete it, bury it with positive new content.
In addition to monitoring what’s already out there, it’s just as important for you to build a powerful personal brand. Create an online profile with LookupPage and LinkedIn. LookupPage will get you to the top of Google, while LinkedIn displays your network and recommendations. Link the two sites for maximum effect.
Blogging is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make a name for yourself in your field and what’s more, it doesn’t cost anything. Search engines love indexing blogs and rank them high in search results because they’re full of fresh unique content and drive lots of traffic. Find blogs that deal with issues that you’re knowledgeable about and respond to other people’s blogs with comments.
You’d take pride in your appearance before an interview – take pride in your online reputation too.
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