PUT YOUR BEST DIGITAL FOOTPRINT FORWARD
Career Expert Offers Seven Tips for Managing Online Reputation in the Job Hunt
TORONTO - In a competitive job market, a polished
professional reputation can make or break someone's chances of landing a
coveted position. And since the word google became a verb, that reputation
includes information that can be found online. This is particularly true for
IT professionals who are evaluated on their technical savvy, noted Dave
Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology.
"As a growing number of employers search the Internet for information
about job seekers, it's become more important for applicants to actively
monitor and maintain their professional reputations online," said Willmer.
"The current economic environment has made hiring managers increasingly
cautious, and any information that raises a red flag can quickly take
candidates out of consideration for a job."
Willmer offers the following seven tips for managing your digital
1. Take stock. Discover what information about you -- if any -- already
is online by performing a search using popular search engines. If you
discover an item that you wouldn't want hiring managers to see, ask
the person who posted the information or website administrator to
remove it. Similarly, untag any inappropriate photos of yourself.
2. Activate privacy settings. If you belong to social networking sites
or have a personal blog, adjust your privacy settings so you control
who has access.
3. Exercise discretion. When interacting online, be selective about
which venues you participate in and who you allow into your personal
and professional networks. If you regularly contribute to blogs or
forums, give thought as to how your statements may be interpreted by
those outside your community. Consider using a pseudonym if you
wouldn't want a potential employer to see your posts. You can use
BlogPulse or Technorati to track online conversations about you or
4. Network wisely. When using professional networking sites such as
LinkedIn to look for job opportunities, behave graciously with
everyone you encounter and follow posted protocols. Thank anyone who
assists you, and be sure to return the favor when possible.
5. Stack the deck. Business information websites such as ZoomInfo allow
users to post information about themselves, so consider including
details about your professional involvement and qualifications on
these types of forums.
6. Share your insights. Posting useful advice and commentary on industry
forums and authoring online articles in your area of expertise can
add to your credibility.
7. Monitor the conversation. Set alerts using Google or other tracking
services under your name so you receive an e-mail notification every
time something new is said about you online.
"Professionals should always post prudently -- not just when they're
looking for work," said Willmer. "The business world is more transparent than
ever, which means people need to be aware that what they say and do online can
have both positive and negative consequences."