By: Keith Becker
The idea of managing your own personal brand and online presence may be a little foreign to those who are not familiar with the impact that your web reputation can have on you as a professional, but it can prove to be what makes or breaks an opportunity.
The information age has allowed possible employers the ability to look into who you are, and in more detail than ever before – and it can be used to your advantage.
In a recent post on the popular social media blog Mashable, the author of Me and My Web Shadow, Antony Mayfield, shares some tips for managing your online reputation. Mayfield says, “The measure of your reputation is what you do plus what others say about you.”
Mayfield offers three tips he’s learned for himself while navigating the social media waters.
1. You are your network
Personally, you may be able to restrict your own online profiles — namely Facebook and Twitter — but you have to think about the ones around you (friends, family, the girl you took drunk pictures with at that St. Patrick’s Day party) who could post unappreciated things about you.
2. If you can’t delete, compete
Mayfield says that although it’s a good idea to ask people to remove embarrassing content about you, in the majority of cases the best course is to make sure that you are the first and best source of information about yourself appearing on Google and other major search engines.
Produce enough awesome content of your own, however, and that unwelcomed picture will be far enough down on the search engine that that HR Director will have to work to find it.
3. There’s a cottage industry around “reputation protection”
Rich and powerful celebrities can now hire digital security specialists to help them lock down everything from their voicemail inbox, to their e-mail and Facebook accounts, and to look for the weak points where stalkers or prying journalists might try to get some juicy information.
As for the rest of us, Google Alerts will have to suffice. Although even that needs to be combined with an effort to develop personal web literacy and an understanding of how to manage online reputation responsibly.
Mayfield offers one last bit of online wisdom, “It should be the goal of every web-savvy professional to have their online reputation precede them.”
I am inclined to agree.