It was Warren Buffet who said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” This has never been more true than today in the digital age we live in.
Employers today are using social media sites and search engines to research prospective applicants, so it is wise to consider this when you are about to click that post button.
Here are a few ideas to help you make a good first impression and protect your online reputation.
Choose Content Carefully
The internet has a long memory, so those drunken memories with your friends whilst fun to keep, if public may come back to haunt you.
A good rule is to always assume that your pictures, comments & tweets could be seen by someone they weren’t intended for. What impression do they make? Will you be seen as unprofessional or irresponsible?
Check Your Privacy Settings
The default settings on most social sites expose your posts to the world, so it might be a good idea to limit the amount of personal information available about you online.
Most social networking sites will allow you to restrict your content so it is only seen by your intended audience. Take some time to check your privacy settings and make sure that you only share appropriate content.
Please remember your friends can share your content without your consent.
Keep An Eye On Others Comments
You may be really careful what you post, but you can’t control others. A tag in an unflattering photo or video by a friend or a comment about you which you wouldn’t want an employer to view may be hard to prevent. Be sure to regularly monitor and remove posts that you don’t want public.
Consider How You Mix Business and Pleasure
If your Facebook friends contain both family & friends as well as your colleagues at work or even clients, ensure what you share is appropriate for both groups. Are you comfortable having colleagues reading your personal updates? Do you mind your pals reading work-related posts? Consider keeping your public and private lives separate by setting up distinct accounts, or you can set up filters to customize who sees what.
Build Your Professional Profile
Be proactive when it comes to your professional profiles. You can manage what potential employers will find. Consider a professional blog or website? Do you belong to an online professional association? Do you participate on industry forums? Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? Do you proactively build your online professional network? Proactively increasing the favourable content about you online will definitely help you project a more positive image.
Encourage Social Proof
Most people don’t proactively ask for testimonials on sites like LinkedIn, but we live in an age of easy social stalking so the more good stuff people find the better. Encourage past and present colleagues and clients to share a positive testimonial… and do the same for them!
Be Authentic, But Appropriate
Being authentic can make you hard to resist on a personal level, but can be seen differently by an employer. I’m all for authenticity, but it’s my strong recommendation that you leave the personal stuff at home. Consider your boss reading a post where you are ‘Keeping it real’, it will be almost impossible for them to not be influenced by that when it comes to you at work.
All of us like to be around people who lift us up. This is true when it comes to dating, friendship and in the workplace. By being positive and supportive in what you share online you will attract others to you. Avoid negative people, they are far more likely to share negative stuff.
Warren Cass is an entrepreneur, international professional speaker and author of Influence: How to Raise Your Profile, Manage Your Reputation and Get Noticed (Capstone, June 2017).
Day to day, he works with businesses helping them create more influence and engage with their target audiences.
When he is not working, speaking, writing, Warren loves spending time with his family or out on a hack with his daughter.
He is a long suffering West Ham United supporter but please don't hold that against him.
For the last 10 years Warren has organised a business skiing trip called NetSki which has grown steadily and is now a group of 60 business owners.
For more information visit www.influencethebook.com or www.warrencass.com