Guide to Personal Online Reputation Management

Your personal online reputation has a much bigger impact on your job search and career than you may know.

Potential employers, clients/customers, and network connections use search engines to check you out.

According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, “70% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates (on par with last year), while 7% plan to start.

“And that review matters: Of those that do social research, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.”

What Is Personal Online Reputation Management?

Most online reputation management articles are focused on businesses and their online reputations. Personal online reputation management is what it sounds like: online reputation management for people.

Personal online reputation management is paying attention to what is visible associated with your name in a search engine’s search results and doing your best to positively impact what is visible at the top of search results, particularly the first page of search results.

Google is the most popular search engine, so the first place to focus your attention is on Google’s search results.

This is how it works:

  • Google provides a quick, inexpensive “background check” when you apply for a job.

    When employers Google your name (and more than 90% of them do!), what they find will support or — possibly — destroy opportunities for you. These employers are trying to avoid making a “bad hire” or wasting time interviewing someone who isn’t really qualified or a good “fit.” A quick Google (or Bing, etc.) search shows them much about you or about someone else using the same name. [Important: How to Find the Best Version of Your Name.]

  • Google brings opportunities to you!

    Currently, employers use Google (and Bing, etc.) to find potential job candidates, people who qualify for the jobs they are trying to fill. If you have the right keywords in your social profiles, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook, your profile will be found. Ideally, you will be considered for opportunities without even knowing or applyingfor them. [More: The 25 Best Keywords for Your Job Search.]

  • You can positively impact Google search results yourself (for free).

    The articles in this Guide, below, will help you to choose the best version of your name for your job search and career and to find the best keywords for you to use in social media enabling opportunities to find you. [More: Use LinkedIn for Personal Online Reputation Management.]

Do you know what those employers are finding when they Google you? You should know because not knowing is head-in-the-sand insanity.

How to Manage Your Personal Online Reputation

These articles in Job-Hunt’s Guide to Personal Online Reputation Management should help you understand and succeed:

  • Find the Best Version of Your Name for Your Job SearchUsing a “clean” version of your name, one that doesn’t have someone else’s “digital dirt” stuck to it, is essential. When you don’t consistently use that clean name, you make it difficult for employers to find you, and that makes you look out-of-date or clueless.
  • Find Your Google ResumeDick Bolles (author of the famous What Color Is Your Parachute? books) said that “Google is the new resume,” and he’s right. But most people are not aware of the issue or how to manage it. This article helps you understand the elements of your Google resume and how important a well-managed Google resumes is for your career.
  • Manage Your Google ResumeManaging your Google Resume is essential to successfully manage your online reputation (unavoidable for a successful career and also a successful social life). This article gives you 7 steps to manage your Google resume.
  • Use LinkedIn for Personal Online Reputation ManagementLinkedIn is credible with Google and very popular with most recruiters, so it can be the starting point and foundation for your personal online reputation management. Claim your “professional” name here, and use it everywhere else in your job search and professional visibility.
  • Developing the Best Keywords for Your Job SearchThe keyword terms you use on your social profiles (and resumes) are very important in determining how often your profile is found by an employer or a recruiter doing a search in LinkedIn or a search engine. In addition, the frequency, variation, and placement of those terms determines how high up in search results your profile appears.
  • Defensive Googling: Know What Is Associated with Your NameYou must Google yourself to see what employers and others, like potential clients/customers and professional network members, find when they Google you.
  • Monitor Your Online PresenceYou have many options for online visibility today. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, you can hurt your standing as easily as you can help it. Use this “smart offense” and “smart defense” to monitor and manage your online reputation.
  • More articles to help you understand and manage your personal online reputation:

Susan P. JoyceAbout the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
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