It’s a weird question, right? Let’s face it- we ALL do it. I know I have Google Alerts set up for my name, my company’s name, this blog’s name. You should, too.
But stalking yourself isn’t what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to chat about your brand. Yes, your brand. We all have one, and not taking care to curate one is going to cost you thousands.
As an employer, I hire people every week, and routinely do a thorough online check to make sure that our potential new employee doesn’t have a tainted past. It’s common practice to do that these days.
I’ve seen so many instances where we’ve chosen not to hire someone because of what we find online.
There is nothing wrong with having a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ or MySpace (!!) account. No one is saying that you can’t be online. In fact, we urge candidates to be visible, to network with industry heavy weights, and show that you are passionate about a topic. As such, we need to make sure that we’re okay with everything that goes out on the web.
- Pictures of you at a conference/event? Yes.
- You have a fashion blog that you’re proud of? Ok.
- You talk about your online bingo loyalty program? Sure, if you want to.
- Having a civil conversation with a brand when you have an issue? Yes
What’s not acceptable:
This is easier to define than the first part. There are a lot of things that raise a red flag. Nudity, swearing, threats are the biggies. But think twice before you post anything about a brand or person where you negatively accuse them of something without proof. Also, pay attention to anything that can be considered offensive.
The biggest red flag for a potential employer? You bashing your old employer while you were still employed there. We don’t care how bad the company is, you’re choosing to stay on their payroll.
How to clean up your profile:
I tend to keep my profiles private, and only add people that I know personally. Most people aren’t like that, and that’s their choice. If you work in PR or sales, then having a big pool of people available at your fingertips is a good thing. I, however, tend to limit access to my personal profiles to only people that I’ve actually met.
If you are going to be on multiple social media sites, try to keep your brand as neutral as possible. This is not to say that you can’t share things that you’re excited about, but knowing what’s going too far is a skill.
The most important thing is being aware of what’s out there. Google Alerts is a great solution for that.
People forget that it’s not just potential employers who Google them. Looking someone up online has became so mainstream and acceptable, that most people just instinctively research the person they are dealing with.
How to make it work for you:
The great thing about Google Alerts is that not only do you get to monitor what people are saying about you, but also what people are saying about products and services that you like and need, or your competition. Say you’re in charge of letting a property. How do you make sure that companies like CIA Landlords Insurance are on your radar? Well, you set a Google Alert for the right keywords, and the news shows up in your inbox. Yes, it really is that easy.
Be honest with yourself. You are the image that you create online, and EVERYTHING that you do has an consequence on your future. Even those times during college.