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Reputation Management

Enda Goodwin

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Field Agent

Field Agent

Google yourself. What’s the first thing that comes up? Maybe it’s an Instagram picture of you posing at the gym. Perhaps it’s a friend’s Twitter selfie of you and your girlfriends, drinks in hand, doing the “duckface.” Or maybe nothing shows up at all.

This is what a recruiter will see if you have applied for a job. And while we keep saying that you want to be “found” in the online marketplace, you want to be found for all the right reasons.

What can damage your reputation?

The old adage, “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression,” rings true today. To some extent, you have the power to control what that first online impression is, making sure that the number one result in that Google search is positive:

  • a blog piece that shows some smart insight on your industry or an issue,
  • a photo of you at a community or industry event,
  • a current, relevant LinkedIn profile.

But there are things we can’t control:

  • The Internet is a space where ANYONE can say ANYTHING about you even if it isn’t true, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend revealing your bad behavior, a former employee trashing you as a manager
  • Friends can tag you in their photos that don’t show you in a good light

There are many stories of people losing their jobs, or getting suspended by their employers because of a tweet or an ugly video posted on YouTube. Companies also have reputations to think about, so their recruiters are screening candidates who don’t have baggage, who won’t embarrass them.

Building a positive reputation

Let’s face it: most of us have Facebook or Instagram accounts. And we sometimes have goofy profile pictures. We get on Twitter and start re-tweeting jokes and memes that we want our followers to see. For the most part, that’s okay. We are social beings.

But if you are in the process of looking for a new job, it’s a good idea to tone down the social you, and pump up the professional you. Especially if you have some of those negative, uncontrollable things outlined above floating around online. If you do some of these things, Google will pay attention:

  • Start posting positive questions or comments on industry forums
  • Follow industry “gurus” on Twitter and re-tweet their posts
  • Update your LinkedIn account – if you don’t have one, create one
  • Ask colleagues, friends, and family members politely to take certain pictures or posts down. They should understand why that’s important during your job search
  • Ask for a LinkedIn referral
  • Start a simple blog – there are many free platforms out there – and write your positive thoughts on an issue or an industry you are targeting.

Doing these things will eventually turn that Google search around, moving the newer, more positive results to the top of the search result.

The implications of not being found at all

While Google is a good starting point for most of us to find someone, for a recruiter, it’s LinkedIn. And if you’re not there, the recruiter will likely move on to other candidates.

We get it. There are many of you who are worried about putting personal information out there on the Internet. But you need to be on LinkedIn when looking for a job. We can help you get started on LinkedIn, and there is also a webinar that you can sign up for.

If you’ve already got a LinkedIn account and you’re looking for work, it might be a good time to update your profile and ask for referrals. You have the power to control your online reputation. Do it!

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