Opinion

Why Managing Online Reputation is Essential to Your Career

The world is watching…

A recent example of how your online activity can impact your work life is the case of 17-year-old Paris Brown. The newly recruited youth police and crime commissioner for Kent resigned after police announced an investigation into her old Twitter comments. Although an unusually high profile case, it’s a reminder that your behaviour on the net is often far from private.

Also, with 78% of recruiters and HR professionals using search engines to screen potential employees (according to research by Microsoft), it’s an issue that really needs to be taken seriously.

The internet, especially social media, is blurring the divide between our private and professional lives. As a result, our e-reputation is becoming more exposed to public scrutiny.

What goes online stays online

It’s easy to forget that what you’re writing is likely to be permanent, making your comments searchable for years to come. So, why take the risk? Here’s some useful advice to help you keep your e-reputation spotless.

Tweet with care

Avoid venting your frustrations on Twitter. A good guide is to only tweet things you would be comfortable saying directly to colleagues, friends, family…and thousands of strangers! Your tweets are there for the world to see, so be very careful what you say and how you say it.

Your online connections

Potential employers may not only research your comments, but also what other people are saying about you. Bear this in mind the next time you sign in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.

If you’re a blogger or have a personal website, keep your own content squeaky clean and check comments that other people are leaving.

Think twice before connecting with others online; employers may also be looking at the kind of people and organisations you’re associating with.

Keep photos respectable

Personal photos probably don’t always portray the professional image you want employers to see. Since it’s impossible to avoid smartphone cameras these days you’ll need to keep tabs on what photos your friends are putting online. Change your settings so people can only tag you with your permission and ask them to take down unflattering photos or comments.

Avoid online spats

When responding to an insult or other negative comments, take caution. You could address the issue in a private email or if you want to do it publically, reply politely and don’t be tempted to get further involved.

Secure your reputation

Make sure all of your social networking accounts are secure and check that no personal information such as your date of birth, address or phone number is visible. 

Although there’s no need to shut down social media accounts, websites and blogs, it’s definitely worth managing your e-reputation now to protect your job prospects in the future.