I’m sure we were all told by our parents when we were growing up that we shouldn’t run with scissors. Our parents thought (mistakenly I’m sure) that we would learn to take care of ourselves when we got older and not make any life threatening (or career threatening) mistakes. Ha! But if it were true.
Suggested Reading: Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation
So what mistakes could you possibly make that could be life threatening to your career? Where do I start? How about your reputation, as in, what lurks in your Internet presence? Probably not so much of a problem for the “over 50” crowd, but definitely something to think about for those who’ve grown up with the Internet. Maybe a picture from college where you were tagged at a Beer Pong party or worse.
Whatever your age and regardless of whether you are looking for a job or not, it does not hurt to check your profile on the Web. So, where to start?
- Google Yourself– Pretty easy to do from the Google main page. Try several variations of your name including “firstname lastname” with quotes on both sides, “first, middle and last”, “first, middle initial and last” – you get the picture. Depending on the popularity of your name you may not get many hits and you should be able to rule out those that are similar names but not you. All of the others, take a good look and verify that the data is correct. If you have bad stuf out there, well, read the links below.
- Spokeo.com– This site focuses on individuals only. You can search by name, email, phone, username and friends. Basic information on the individual is provided, more detailed information requires a fee. I tried it with my name and it got some of the information correct but had the wrong information for one of my kids. The scary part is that it can check usernames (but requires a fee to see more detailed information).
- TOP 10 WAYS TO CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE FOR A JOB HUNT – Lets say the worst has happened and there is some really bad stuff on the Internet about you (could be on Facebook or some other site). What do you do? This article provides some really good steps you can take to try and fix your profile. From looking through your photos to limiting who can tag you in a photo, this article is worth a read.
Staying on Top of your Internet Profile:
- Google Alerts – You can set-up an alert for your name and Google will send an email when it finds a match (you pick how often you want this to happen). I have “daily” as my selection and I’ve only received one email in the last 3 months (I guess I am very boring). Ensure you check for text and pictures.
- Next Steps– Okay, maybe this is a little drastic, but there may be information about you that you want to be “deleted” (nothing is ever really deleted if you know where to look) from the Internet. Following is a list of social media and online stuff that can keep you from getting a job (or get you fired from a current job):
- Drinking photos or videos from college
- Nude photos or videos
- Hateful comments
- Venting about your company or boss
- Tweeting about your job interview
- Political comments
Career Tip of the Day: Are Your Social Media Habits About to Cost You Your Job?
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Good luck in your search,