Performing a Google search has become one of the starting points for prospective hiring managers and clients. These days, most professionals dig even deeper into social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram, to determine how much value you place on your online reputation.
It is critical that you clean up your social media presence, protect your online reputation, and minimize anything else that may raise red flags for prospective employers and clients. Consider trying some online identity management tips to help clear your name. Here are some simple steps to ensure a clean online identity:
1. Perform your own objective search.
You can’t assume that there is no dirt on you. Just because you have never posted a drunken selfie doesn’t mean that there isn’t something you must delete. After all, you’ll never know when a prospective employer may perform an online search. Scrutinize everything as if you are the hiring manager. Dig as deeply as possible into your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts (including blogs and public comments). Mercilessly delete anything that might deem questionable. At the very least, know what is out there—and if it is questionable, make sure that you have the right answers to back you up.
2. Spruce up your online presence.
Revise your profile on each platform. Let it reflect your professional ambitions and show that you care about your online reputation. Add new business contacts, update address and telephone numbers, incorporate training highlights, and use a new and professional profile photograph—so your prospects can see a consistent and reputable presence.
3. Reach out to friends who have posted questionable photos and information.
It can be difficult to control what your friends post about you online. So if you had a rousing spring break and a friend tagged you in a non-sober state, you might want to contact them and ask them to remove the photograph (or at least remove the tag attached to your name).
4. Remove questionable pages that you follow.
What you like can say a lot about you. Go through your Facebook “likes.” Check what you follow on Twitter and YouTube to see if there is anything objectionable, for any reason at all—including political, religious or relationship-related topics. Then ask yourself whether it is safe to keep them in your news feed. Unless it is a stance you are willing to defend, remove those pages from your list.
5. Create your own professional website.
Use web tools to create a professional website that you can add to your business cards and online profiles. Again, focus on professionalism and consistency to promote a trusted online reputation that instantly impresses your audience.
Once your online reputation is squeaky clean, you can walk into any interview or meeting with ease and confidence. Do you have other online reputation management strategies to share? Let us know in the comments below!