Online branding is hard to avoid if you are going to be involved with society. It’s actually happening whether or not you want it to, because some of your information is probably online already. Don’t believe me? Try doing a search on your name — I’ll wait.
This is why you need to “own” your online brand. Maybe there was a lot of entries with your name, maybe just a few, but when you submit your resume to a company, the name on your resume is what they will search. It’s a very important part of your professional package. But sometimes, you need to get help in order to get your online brand what it needs to be. Here are three possible reasons to ask for that help:
You are overwhelmed with all that is going on in your life right now. Sometimes life throws a real curve ball and you are starting over from square one. It could be a divorce, a death or major illness, coming back into the workforce after a hiatus, a family emergency, or even a natural disaster. If there is too much on your plate, this is one thing you can delegate to a professional.
You don’t really know what you are doing with the whole computer thing. You are learning, but you are afraid of making a mistake. I always tell newbies to the computer age, ‘You can’t break it!’ Getting professional help will give you a confident start and you can take it from there. Or you can learn as you go and try it out. Either way it’s a reality you will need to face –e-commerce, for example– you can’t go to an actual Amazon “store”… you need to order online to get what you want from there. Start small and work your way up to profile creation.
You now realize that you blew it big time. You have been buzzing along posting selfies and crazy party photos, and now you wish you’d listened when your mom told you to be discreet. She was right and now you are sorry, but you have no idea what to do about it. A professional would have experience in this area and could help. We help with reputation management and can help you clean up your digital dirt. Then you can tell all the tweens you know to heed your warning.
Professional Resume Services offers several types of online branding help, from LinkedIn Profile Development to Online Branding/Profile Development Coaching and even an Online Branding Power Package (all on the link; scroll down and see). It’s also part of what is offered in our Coaching Services. If you need help with your online brand, you can find it here!
5 Ways Your Online Lifestyle Can Ruin A Career Opportunity
Many people want to keep their “work lives” and their “personal lives” separate. However, with social media it has become more and more difficult to keep the two worlds from colliding. Today’s employers will look through social profiles in order to help them decide who would be a good candidate for a job position. The amount of information your publish on social media sites makes it easy for potential employers to have access to your personal life, which could turn out to be bad for you if they happen to spot some things that will turn them off, and ruin your opportunity to get the job.
Vulgarity and Obscenity: People generally speak on the internet the way they speak in real life. Or at least that’s the way employers think. If you use vulgar language in your profiles, then employers will assume you lead a lifestyle where you speak publicly the same way, and they will not want to hire someone who they cannot trust to communicate in a professional manner.
Negativity: Employers want to hire people who will keep a positive atmosphere in their company. If you are a negative person, don’t show it. Don’t post negative comments or qoutes on your online profiles, and when you are at work try, your hardest to be positive and upbeat. People have actually been terminated because of posting negative comments and/or making negative or derogatory remarks in the workplace.
Gossip: If you gossip at work or gossip about co-workers or supervisors outside of the office, you can jeopardize your current job, your chance at a promotion, and your potential for new jobs. It may be hard, but try to avoid gossiping on the internet and everywhere else. Things you say on the internet travel fast and they stay there forever, even if you think you have gotten rid of them, once your post has been seen by someone else, the damage is already done.
Overly Outspoken: If you have an extremely outspoken personality, it can cause problems. Now you don’t have to ignore your beliefs or not express them, but try to avoid “screaming” your beliefs over the internet or getting into arguments about them at work. While employers shouldn’t decide who to hire based on a candidate’s beliefs, they may have a negative feeling towards you if you are loud and obnoxious about those beliefs.
Hygiene and Appearance: Once again, employers cannot keep a job from you simply for how you look, but it can affect how they think about you. If you look unprofessional or you don’t appear to be clean in pictures that you have posted online, potential employers will not want to hire you because you may show up to work looking unprofessional and unclean.
Be smart with your social networking and think twice before posting controversial or negative information on your personal sites-don’t hurt your chances of getting a great new job before the employer even has a chance to speak to you in person.
By now, most people know that everything they say online might as well be said on national television. Of course some, like the none too bright thieves who post their spoils on MySpace are never going to learn, but the vast majority of us have started to protect our online identities. Unfortunately, sometimes dirt from our past still haunts the internet, and some of it, like things posted by exes or old friends may be out of our control. You can’t delete a drunken picture on someone else’s profile, after all.
So how can you clean up your digital dirt? Well, for starters, you need to know what dirt is out there. There are a lot of services that will do the legwork for you here. Places like Reputation Defender will search all the sites that mention you, and their team can work on getting any bad references cleaned up, or at the very least, moved down in the search engines. Claim ID will also protect online profiles you do wish to use, and will back them up in case you need them later.
A quick Google search of your name and nicknames will help you find much of this for free, however. While it may miss items in the Deep Web (pages that Google cannot access because users must be logged in to see them), this search will show you anything an employer is likely to see. Be sure to do an image search for your name as well. Once you’ve located any references to yourself that aren’t wholly professional, you can begin to weed them out. Here are some basic places to begin: Blogs: If someone references you in their blog unfavorably, it’s always a good idea to speak to that person, and politely ask them to remove the reference. If they refuse, contact the service they are blogging through, and petition for them to intervene. If the other person is not blogging through a third party, then you have limited options, aside from working hard to make sure the good references appear first. On your own blog, make sure that all posts with questionable content can only be viewed by those who you have allowed to read them.
Social Networking Sites: If someone has tagged you on an image in Facebook, it’s possible for you to remove that tag yourself. Make sure that no tagged images of you looking unprofessional are floating around on the web. We’ve all heard the story about the person who called in sick to work and then posted their ‘partying’ pictures on MySpace–only to get caught and fired. Or worse, telling your Facebook pals that your ‘job is boring‘ as one girl did. On other sites (Twitter for example), you may not have the option to remove your name from something. Always speak to the person with the image, and make sure that your name is not attached to the image. On your own profiles, you can and should delete any bad images, and lock any negative language behind a block that allows only people in your network to view it. Never allow employers or coworkers onto your network. Websites: If you have left any comments on a website, and listed your full name, it may be possible to contact the owner of the site and ask for permission to change the name on the comment, or remove your surname. In the future, do not make any comments on websites, blogs, or forums with your full name. In fact, never use your full name online unless it is in a business capacity.
These tricks will help you get your online reputation back on track and secure an interview without raising any eyebrows.
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