Your online reputation and what it says about you

“Where do you bury a dead body? On the third page of Google search results.”

Lori Randall Stradtman, author of Online Reputation Management for Dummies

online-reputation-management

With the amount of information currently at people’s disposal, the necessity to filter and prioritise what you are looking for is becoming more critical. And while the amount of content online is vast, it is all searchable. So, the internet is not a good place to try and keep a secret. It has a long memory.

Managing your reputation, both online and offline, is increasingly important for graduates and jobseekers. The same way you trawl the internet and social media for information about companies you’re applying to, rest assured that employers are doing the same as they work through applicants’ CVs. Eoin Kennedy is a social media commentator, PR consultant and is also a web entrepreneur, setting up pledgup and knudger. He talks to gradireland about what your online presence can say about you and what steps you can use to manage it to your benefit.

Step 1: “The first thing to do is find out what your web presence actually is, how searchable you are online. Go on to Google and set up an alert with your name. The tools are out there, so use them, because employers and recruiters are. Sites like topsy and socialmention allow you to search the social media web in particular, so they’re worth checking out. There is no need to be obsessive about this but it’s definitely worth doing. Knowledge of these platforms is also an asset in the workplace. It’s in your interest to know how the web ‘thinks’ and how people interact, and utilise platforms such as bottlenose, a marketing tool for analysing activity across all the major social networks.”

Step 2: “You need to know what your peer group are doing online, because they are effectively your competition for jobs and if employers can see them and not you, then it’s a problem. Again, all the tools are there to enable you to do this. Sites like klout or peerindex can give you a rating based on your influence and level of engagement and can show how you compare with your friends or fellow graduates.”

Step 3: “Companies often use a candidate’s social media presence and look at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds to provide a well-rounded image of a candidate. Remember all the things you say in a CV can be more or less checked and verified online. A candidate’s social media presence is used today as a differentiator between applicants. An active internet presence, such as a frequent blog, shows that you can collate ideas and structure thoughts in a cohesive manner.”

Step 4: “I would say it’s dangerous, and possibly fatal, for an application not to include social media details on your CV. If you don’t have them, it looks like you’re either not aware of the relevance of the web in the modern workplace or worse, that you may have something to hide. I would say to graduates that it’s important to have common sense in terms of what they post online. It’s fine to show you have a personality and an active social group, but you don’t want to appear irresponsible or to display a lack of judgement because employers do use social media to make judgements. It’s a very competitive marketplace and hiring managers and recruiters will use anything that gives them an edge, and that’s what social media does. On a positive note, a good social media presence can be of great benefit to a candidate in an interview; it provides a series of discussion points and can display that you are an interesting person.”

Step 5: “If there’s negative material online about you, it’s important to counteract it and react to it. This doesn’t mean getting in an argument on a social media channel. If there’s something untrue you can ask Google to remove it, but if it’s a comment on a site somewhere, you can react to it by driving other constructive content online. Post more comments, interact with more forums, set up a blog, anything that will boost your presence and enable people searching for your name to see something positive.”

For further advice on careers and how to prepare for interview, see gradireland.com



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