By Doctor Security
Looking for a new job or a new significant other? If you don’t want to lose out on a good one, you need to make sure your “online reputation” doesn’t sabotage your efforts. Welcome to the über-connected world of the 21st century.
It is pretty obvious that you need to start managing and protecting your online reputation. Seriously. H.R. people and college recruiters routinely conduct Web searches on candidates.
You need to know what is posted “out there” about you in order to address any issues before anything unflattering waylays your career or your love life. Start by searching your name by putting it inside quotes in multiple search engines (Google, Ask, Yahoo, Bing). Example: “Dr. Security”
Note – if you have a very common name, add the city, or middle initial, or whatever term you think the H.R. or potential lover might enter to narrow down the search and learn more about you. Example: “Dr. I.M. Security”
If all good stuff is revealed at the top of the list, you can go about your life confidently. However, it’s wise to do this self search exercise periodically to maintain the online identity you want the wired world to see. Also, if you’re not already doing it, create two online profiles, one professional (public) and one personal (private).
If the results aren’t what you want a potential employer or paramour to see, then it’s time to try and do something about it. If negative information is on a site that you control like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, simply delete the material you don’t want seen and tighten up your profile privacy settings. (See my previous blog on Facebook privacy settings here.)
If the objectionable stuff is on a site you don’t control, you can try contacting the Web site administrator and making a request. Be respectful, but if you have to pester someone to clean the slate, pester.
If all else fails, at least have a good explanation if and when you are confronted with some embarrassing evidence of your poor judgment. Try to do better than: “I was young and needed the money…”