Given the Internet’s ever-increasing role in our society, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your virtual identity is becoming just as important as your physical one. Employers have begun to screen prospective applicants by looking at how they portray themselves in a digital environment.
A great resume may be enough to land you an interview at your next prestigious job, but as soon as that interview has ended your hopes will likely rest in the hands of a search engine like Google. It’s at this point that you’d have to wonder what exactly your potential new employer will find. The Internet is a pretty big place, and there are plenty of opportunities for your name to appear in comment sections, blog posts, or various social media channels.
It’s precisely for this reason that online reputation management firms have become increasingly popular. They specialize in helping people to scrub the most negative parts of their digital identity from the Internet in order to ensure that employers get a much more positive view of them. While online reputation management firms have a wide array of services that they offer their clients, there are still a few simple steps that anyone can take on their own to improve their online standing.
First, it’s important to get a view of a what exactly a recruiter or employer might find when they search your name on the Internet. In order to do that, simply type your name in the search engine of your choice. If the results lead to your professional profile on a business-minded social media channel, then you’re in good shape. Otherwise, it’s time to fix a bad online reputation by filtering out what online users can see whenever they type your name.
Most social media channels have specific settings that users can toy around with to better protect their privacy, but even this comes at a cost. If employers are unable to find any information about you on the Internet, then it can send a signal to them that you’re either being overly cautious about your history or you’re simply not very well-versed in using the Internet. Either way, you’ll want to at least set up some kind of professional profile that employers can easily access to get a better idea of who you are via the Internet.
Of course, none of these internet reputation repair tips mean much if you’re not consistent with them. After setting up your various social media profiles to better accommodate businesses, you’ll want to continue to search your name every once in a while to keep track of how you’re being perceived online. If you find that searching for yourself doesn’t yield anything specific to your digital presence, then the issue may lie with your name.
While your name may be enough to identify you in the real world among a comparatively small group of people that you interact with on a daily basis, there are simply too many on the Internet for your name to be enough of an identifier. It’s for this reason that many people find themselves dealing with cases of mistaken identity on the Internet. In order to help combat this, you’ll want to consider expanding your digital brand and including unique descriptors directly into your name. If you have a specific degree or title, then you’ll want to begin including that on all of your professional profiles and resumes. Of course, not everyone has a title like this, so the simpler method is to simply start using a middle initial in all of your professional profiles. With this method, you’ll ensure that employers can easily find you on search engines and more directly control what they’ll find.
Through these various processes, you can ensure that your online reputation is properly protected. By controlling what employers find when they search your name, you’ll manage to stay one step ahead of them and dramatically increase your chances of being hired. Online reputation management services may sound scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember to always protect your privacy and think twice before posting inappropriately to the Internet.