When was the last time you completed a Web engine search on your name? It is not something one thinks of doing regularly, yet it could make all the difference in one’s future. This week’s ATETV video reveals the importance of monitoring your online identity when it comes to your professional goals and objectives. There is a large amount of data available out there. Does the information available about you say what you want it to say to a potential employer or current boss? If not, don’t despair. From platforms to strategies, there are ways you can manage the situation.
#1. Take charge of your own identity.
Matt Ivester, an author on helping students manage their online reputations, recommends that everyone get in the habit of thinking carefully from the very beginning about the information he or she is comfortable sharing online. He also recommends conducting inventories or searches on your name and cleaning up the content you can control. Other tips include claiming your name as a .com url and on all the popular sites like Twitter. Matt suggests continually updating your privacy settings and taking advantage of tools like “Google alerts” to notify yourself anytime your name or other specified content appears on the Web.
#2. Use an Online Identity Management Service.
In the article, 25+ Ways to Manage Your Online Identity, the folks at Mashable identify 8 sites created to help in this capacity. ClaimID.com for example consolidates all the information you find on the web and makes it easy to “claim” only the good stuff in order to create a profile you will then want to share with others.
#3. Add Web content to improve your existing reputation.
According to a recent article in Forbes, search engines like Google rank information according to “relevance–how closely it resembles the search term–and popularity–how many other sites are linking to it.” In the event you can’t get the information removed, the authors of this article recommend that you “overwhelm the bad content with the good, so that the embarrassing links are less likely to rank high.” Some ways to do this include: using free software such as Wordpress to create a blog revealing your expertise, writing as a guest author on professional blogs, adding comments to existing web content and creating profiles on sites such as LinkedIn.
#4. Hire a company to manage your reputation.
Mashable lists 5 such groups for your reference. For a monthly fee (starting at $10), Reputation.com, for example scours the Web for content about a client and presents a report. For an extra fee, the client can request that some of the information be removed.
#5. Simplify the information you volunteer.
Web-sites such as Profileomat.com allow you to centralize your different profile content by listing all your personal Websites, Social Networks, Blogs, Contact Info, Photo Albums and other Profiles in one unique profile.
A recent survey conducted by Microsoft of 1200 human relations managers revealed that as many as 70% have rejected job applicants because of information they find online. Recruiters said they search for information about candidates through search engines, on social networking sites, personal Web sites and blogs, gaming sites, online classified sites and through professional background checkers. What are the top things that influence them? Data on Lifestyle, inappropriate written texts and inappropriate photos top the list. These are simple sources to modify. By paying closer attention and using the tools available, you can ensure that your online presence only has a positive impact on your career!