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Have you Googled your name recently? While self-searching might seem a little narcissistic, it is becoming a vital practice in managing your personal brand and cleaning up your online reputation.

According to a survey by Jump Start Social Media:

  • 48% of hiring managers use Facebook, 75% use LinkedIn, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.

In addition, according to CNN.com:

  • 34% of hiring managers choose not to hire a candidate based on what they find in online profiles.

Managing your online reputation is becoming more and more important, whether you like it or not. Penelope Trunk writes that you do not have to quit your day job to pursue a career in art. To help maintain or obtain that day job, let’s look at some of the things you can do right now to start cleaning up your digital dirt.

1. Start by Googling Yourself

If your employers are going to be googling you, then you should know what they are going to see. This preliminary search will give you an idea of where you stand with your online identity. Is there a lot of embarrassing stuff out there about you? Is there nothing out there about you (this is an equally important problem that I will discuss later)? Set up a Google Alert that will let you know every time a new search result appears with your name.

2. Make a list of your online profiles

facebook profile

Compile a comprehensive list of all your profiles on social networking sites and any other profiles that might come up in a search for your name. The object of managing your personal brand online is not becoming invisible, but rather controlling what future business contacts, employers, and colleagues will see. For profiles and accounts that you do not want to show up in search results, simply use an ambiguous display name and avatar. Use Google to remind yourself of profiles you might have that you forgot about.

3. Clean up your “Big Three”

If hiring managers are looking on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, then you definitely want to be visible in those places.

CNN says that “of the hiring managers who use social networking sites for candidate research, 24 percent said profiles encouraged them to hire the job seekers.”

Being on these sites can give you a leg up against the competition, but only if you are conscious and cautious of the material posted. When considering any social network, keeping in mind that privacy is a precaution, not a solution. If content is online, then it is accessible one way or another.

There is a happy medium between being private and being invisible. If employers search for you and find nothing, then you look sadly out of touch. Check back tomorrow for specific steps to privatizing and cleaning up your Facebook profile.

To get a head start: Untag your keg stand pictures.

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August 6, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment