Our lives are becoming increasingly digital and more focused on reputation than ever before. Job applicants aren’t just subject to a couple of calls to listed references and a quick check of past employment. Now, human resource managers are doing background checks, running credit scores, and even Googling their prospects.
Yes, many HR managers now put prospective employees into search engines to see what comes up. You can learn a lot about a person by just putting their name in Google and hitting the search button.
The trouble is, what appears and what is actual may not be the same. The truth is subjective on the Internet and what is displayed as how it is may not be what it really was. A friend of mine, for instance, was horrified to find himself listed as a member of a Neo-Nazi group ñ right on the first page results of a search for his name.
Of course, the person they were referring to wasn’t my friend, but they had the same name. Do you think a prospective employer would have known, though? Worse yet, what if the article had been referring to him directly, as a smear (or even honest reporting mistake)?
This happens and it happens more often than some people might think.
Your online reputation is a valuable commodity. My book, Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management, covers this and shows you how to make your reputation on the Internet appear rock-solid to anyone who checks it. As my co-author Herb Tabin says, “All of us are a brand now. Whether you like it or not, you’re name and reputation are a brand that you present to people when you meet them online or off.”
Making sure that Brand You is all that it can be is easy. Similar to cleaning up your dirty (and inaccurate) credit history on your credit report, scrubbing the dirt away from your online reputation is easy to do and only requires a little knowledge and persistence.
You don’t need specialized knowledge or skills, but you do need to know where to go and what to do in order to remove bad references from search engines, websites, and so forth. Luckily, that knowledge is easy to get and anyone can utilize it to make their online reputation pristine.