1. Know What Is Out There
Don’t insist that you have a spotless online reputation without doing an actual check. Things have a way of slipping through the cracks, and better for you to find out now than to first hear about it from someone else. You may be able to get the unwanted picture or mention removed; at the very least, you won’t be caught off-guard.
- Perform a thorough search of your name via Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Then, put your name in quotations and do it again.
- Clean yourself up by setting tighter controls on sites that you can control such as Facebook and Twitter. On these sites you can use your privacy settings to limit who can view your information. On Twitter you can use “Protect my Tweet” and on Facebook you can use “Lists” to group different people together, such as professional connections.
- Create a Google Alert that alerts you when you are mentioned online. By creating a Google+ Profile you can access tools that will allow you to remove a page from Google Search or reach out to Google directly for assistance.
2. Enlist the Help of Others
Dislike those pictures of yourself from junior high that mom loves posting or not eager to have a recruiter see that French maid outfit you wore to a party last Halloween? Let friends and family know that you’re trying to maintain a professional reputation to further your career. When they are done rolling their eyes about you being too sensitive, they will probably take down the photos and refrain from putting up similar ones in the future.
3. Be Active
Finally, remember that lacking online presence can be potentially dangerous, too.
The worst thing you could do would be to remove yourself from all social media because you’re worried about an employer finding you. But don’t create an account just to have one. Failure to respond to inquiries from others or keep profiles up to date can result in lost opportunities and make you appear lazy or disinterested. Instead, take advantage of LinkedIn to demonstrate that you’re on top of your professional game and Twitter or Facebook to show off the activities, hobbies, or volunteering you do outside of work. Hiring professionals are looking for well-rounded people!