Your Online Reputation and Your Career

by Thomas Byrne Associates | December 11, 2014

In this age of at-your-fingertips information on everything and everyone, it should come as no surprise that, according to online job search expert Susan P. Joyce, 80% of employers Google job seekers before inviting them into an interview. When you consider how common place it’s become to seek out the internet’s vast resource of knowledge, the trend toward “Googling” prospective employees makes sense.

What are employers looking for when they let their fingers do the walking? According to Joyce

“They are looking for indications of how you present yourself, your personality, your ability to communicate effectively, and a general idea of your “fit” into their organization.
They are also looking for signs that you have done what your resume or application says you have done.”

Ask yourself “What will prospective employers discover about me?” Take a proactive approach by looking into your online persona. Google your first and last name, paying close attention to the first three or four page links. Joyce warns

“DO NOT be happy if they find nothing about you on Google! That means either of two things to most employers — you don’t know how the world works today (so you are out-of-date) or you are hiding something. Neither of those two impressions will help you in your job search.”

At the very least, create a free LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills and leave a professional, up-to-date footprint that will shine a positive light on you as a job candidate.

Then move into defensive mode. If in the past you viewed your online presence as merely a recreational social hang-out, it’s time to rethink that approach. Review each of the social media sites where you have an account. As you peruse the content, look at it through the eyes of a job recruiter or HR representative.

In “How to Manage Your Online Reputation”, BestColleges.com recommends you pay close attention to:

“Inappropriate photos that feature you, uploaded to either your page or your friends’ pages. Tagged posts or comments that reflect poorly on your attitudes toward work or school. Even clicking the “like” button on a post can associate you with the content through someone’s newsfeeds, so carefully monitor what you endorse with the “like” button.”

After checking out your social media accounts and removing any potentially damaging content, dig into dating site profiles, message boards you frequent and any other web services accounts that bear your name. Again, remove anything questionable and make a point of regularly reviewing all accounts to keep the content appropriate.

Now and in the future, be strategic about online activity.

  • Be mindful that online information becomes public and can easily slip from your control.
  • Think before you post, considering the long-term effects. Don’t live to regret what you thought was an innocent joke, picture or comment.
  • Regularly review your friends, followers, circles and contacts. With awareness and caution, maintain control of the people you associate with online.
  • Understand the privacy settings associated with the various sites and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Google your name often and set up alerts to avoid costly surprises.

Protect your present and future career with regular monitoring of your online reputation.

Allow Thomas Byrne to assist with all your employment needs.