Monday, July 4, 2011

"Google it"

Have you ever tried to Google your name? No? Well, maybe you should. You might be surprised with the result. With the internet ever present in our lives, sometimes we forget that what goes online stays online. Everything from that angry blog comment to the awkward drunken picture of you taken last Friday night is available for anyone who searches you. Scary, huh?

More and more employers are choosing to Google their potential employees and many do not like what they see. Your online presence is just as important as your day to day one, so portraying yourself in a light that represents the real you is as important as ever.

Having a professional online presence is crucial for anyone starting a new career. People have access to all sorts of information about you, and let’s face it, privacy has pretty much been thrown out the window. Even if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, people can still post searchable content about you, so your reputation can be damaged by just about anyone.

So what can you do about it? There are a few ways to make sure your online reputation stays professional so your next employer doesn’t run for the hills after hitting “enter”.

  • Always make sure your social media accounts are up to date and professional.
  • Activate your privacy settings! If you have personal accounts, make sure they are only accessible to those you want to see it.
  • Remember, anything that is posted online is there forever. When in doubt, leave it out!
  • Set up a Google Alert for your name so you are notified when people post things about you online. This way you can be proactive in managing your online reputation and doing any necessary damage control (we are all human…).

Here is a blog post by Seth Godin on “Personal Branding in the age of Google.” It’s funny because it’s true. So Google your name and see what you find. You might be surprised.

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