Lachlan Brook
Lachlan Brook 22 August 2016

5 Tips to Manage Your On-line Reputation

In the digital economy your on-line reputation is your key to success. Your own "brand" is directly linked to that of your employer and employers, colleagues, boyfriends / girlfriends (and even strangers) are all checking you out on-line. In fact more than 90 percent of recruiters report checking on-line information before granting an interview.

According to a Microsoft survey around 70 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate because of what they found on-line.

It doesn’t stop at your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are searching Facebook, Twitter and any other source they can find to determine if you are really as good as you say you are or whether there is something in your background that could embarrass the company. 

Your network matters – it’s not all about you. Recruiters report taking into consideration how your online connections – your friends, family and colleagues – behave online and what they have to say about you. Who you associate with says a lot about you so don’t connect with people you don’t know and trust.

You’ll never know they looked, so get it right – less than one-third of recruiters say they discuss what they find with candidates. This means you’ll have almost no opportunity to explain any discrepancies or indiscretions. The recruiter will just move onto the next candidate in the list.

This is a global trend – while the extent to which online profiles and other reputational information is relied upon differs in each country, one trend is overwhelmingly clear. It happens in all countries and the trend is on the rise. 

Most job seekers have no idea – fewer than 15 percent of job seekers believe their online reputation will impact their ability to get a new job. Given what we have just learned this is naive at best and downright foolish at worst. Your online reputation is one of the most important factors recruiters consider when assessing your application.

So how do you ensure your online reputation helps rather than hurts you?

Here are 5 top tips.

1. Nothing is a secret– if it’s online it can be found. Be aware that anything and everything about you online is available to the world and will be the basis of many peoples first impression about you. So make sure you only post information that you want the world to find and don’t ever think that time will make something disappear.

2. Be consistent– if your LinkedIn profile positions you as a conservative professional then it probably isn’t a good idea to cover your Facebook page in party pics. Whatever image you are trying to present to the world, make sure your online behaviour is consistent.

3. Be smart about privacy– turning on all your privacy settings isn’t necessarily the only way to manage your online reputation. There is a lot more to your online reputation than just social media. And in fact if your social media profiles present a good impression then opening them up to the world can be a good thing. Always try to protect your personal information but in an online world be careful that you don’t remove yourself from the digital economy completely.

4. Your online presence is about more than just social media– Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and a host of other social media platforms dominate many peoples’ on-line lives. But the on-line world extends way beyond social media. News articles, academic papers, restaurant reviews and thousands of other interactions all contribute to your on-line reputation. Pay attention to all of your on-line activities.

I always try to follow the golden rule of social media....

“If it is not good enough for a Disney Children’s Movie, it should not appear in Social Media”

5. Monitor your online reputation– understanding how you appear on-line is the first step in managing your on-line reputation. You can’t fix what you don’t know. Take the time to review your social media posts and search for information available about you through major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

There are a number of programs available that can assist you in monitoring what is being said about you and or your brand, allowing you to respond in a timely and positive manner. Most have free or trial versions. Use them!

A short list would have to include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Crowdfire
  • Mention
  • myonlinerep

About the Author

Lachlan has over 25 years experience as a professional and enthusiastic marketing guru with experience in social media, strategy and management, brand, direct and digital marketing. He has worked in and advised many businesses including some of Australia’s leading agencies, retailers, franchise networks, and not for profits as well as a growing international portfolio.

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