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Online Reputation Does it Really Matter?

Online Reputation

It’s a question that comes up time and time again,

‘Do employers really care about what I’ve posted online or my Online Reputation for that matter?

The answer is increasingly Yes. A big fat Yes.

Social Media platforms and the Internet tend not to be very forgiving. It’s what you’ve posted in the past, say at age 14 that tends to come back to haunt you in the future – or a video you and your mates find hilarious that has real reputational implications. So thinking about this from an early age, and by that I mean as soon as you hit teens, is crucial.

Let’s put it in context. Back in 2012 Cornerstone Reputation found that 25% of admissions officers at top colleges said they used Facebook and Google to vet applicants – this has now risen to 45%. Over two-thirds say they now look up applicants on Facebook with 40% of college recruiters finding material online that gives them a negative impression of the applicant.

According to John Bontke of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in Houston, way back in time ie 2011, 75% of recruiters in the US were required by their companies to do an online search. 70% found negative online content.

However the good news is that a recent survey found that around half of admissions officers said they found things online that gave them a positive impression of applicants.

In previous posts we’ve highlighted that 93% of recruiters admit to using Social Media to screen applicants so it should’nt come as much of a surprise that online vetting is now the norm in HR departments for job seekers, with the same digital scrutiny currently taking place at a critical mass of higher education institutions.

The thing is, as social media platforms begin to mature and schools focus on teaching digital citizenship, it’s becoming more difficult for those who don’t think before they post, to be able to point the blame towards the platform. We are all personally accountable for posting something stupid online, in a public space – blaming the platforms is becoming an increasingly lame excuse.

Protecting your online reputation and giving a good account of yourself online today isn’t even in debate anymore – sort of like asking should you look right and left before crossing the road. Our character is being assessed by college recruiters and employers as we speak. Moving swiftly on..

So now we’re agreed online vetting is the norm, let’s look at this as a positive.

Now we’re asking ‘How can we use online vetting to our advantage? For college and Uni admissions and the world of jobs we want’.

And what should our Digital CV/Profile look like?

Firstly everything that you post and share online contributes towards your Digital CV. It’s worth remembering that most initial searches tend to be automated, so when reviewed by an actual person you only have a few minutes to impress – to get your application or profile to the next stage.

Spending time reviewing and updating your profiles ahead of a job application is critical and even if you’re in a job, reviewing and auditing your current status and previous status is a worthwhile investment – many people forget this.

Pay attention to what you look like in the search engines – yeah Google. Posting of funny (and by this I mean what you think is funny) videos to Vine have a habit of showing up in Google’s results when someone carries out a search on your name. You need to know your own search results and while it’s not possible to be in charge of what other people post it’s important to be aware of it.

Crank up your LinkedIn Profile

It still amazes me how many College students have yet to embrace LinkedIn – and I’ve spoken to nearly 200, 000 over the last 4 years. This my friends, is a mistake. LinkedIn is a professional network and if you have checked it recently you will find its where most companies are advertising their posts. Most, if not all companies have a LinkedIn Company page where they post updates and information on what’s happening within their business or organisation. This is a great way to understand a little of what it’s like to work for a particular company, business or brand.

So here are my Top Tips to help improve your LinkedIn profile and make it stand out from the crowd:

• Profile Image – This is important and preferably not a pic of you on holidays with your mates. Remember LinkedIn is a professional network. You need to have a nice clear headshot with your all-important winning smile.
• Headlines are Key – This a great spot to stand out. Remember people who are viewing your profile will be scanning so make sure you have something in the headline which grabs attention (appropriate of course).
• Summary – Share what motivates and inspires you. What you are skilled at and what value you can add.
• Experience – Even if you’ve never had a full time position most students have part time jobs so be sure to highlight these along with what you accomplished. You can now add media to your experiences – in the form of photos and videos. If you have these available and they are appropriate – why not use them.

And finally, Bonus Tip:

Understand the value of creating regular LinkedIn posts. As LinkedIn is now a publishing platform with LinkedIn Pulse, anyone with an account can create a LinkedIn post, which is similar to a blog post and social network rolled into one. This, in itself, provides an excellent opportunity as a student to not only be able to read other writers content but grab the opportunity to create your own – to have a voice within a particular industry and become a Thought Leader, educate and be educated. Remember you just never know when a Company you want to work for is hiring. They may come across your profile, read your posts and, as they say, the rest is history.

Look me up for more information or to speak at your school or event.

If you’d like more practical tips on how to protect and manage your Online Reputation then grab a copy of my book. Click on the button below to order your copy of my book.


Posted By Wayne Denner

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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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