Whether you are trying to build a company, secure funding for an entrepreneurial dream, create business relationships, or even land a job, you have to be confident in more than your resume and what you have to offer. In today’s market you can be sure that, before you get a call back or a client, there’s a good chance someone is going to look for your name (and your business name) online. So what does your online reputation say about you? And how do you manage that reputation? Here are four ways to get started.
Search for Yourself: Log out of your browsers and social accounts, clear your cache and cookies in settings, and then search for your name across the internet. Start with Google, Yahoo and Bing, but also go see what comes up when you search for your name on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. If you are logged out, what you’re seeing should mirror what anyone else would see, so you’ll get a clear picture of what comes up when someone searches for you.
Lock Down Your Personal Social Media Accounts: Double (or triple) check the privacy settings across all of your personal social media accounts. Log out and then see what shows up on your public profile. If you are comfortable with everything the public can see, then you’re all set. But if there is anything that’s… less than flattering, it might be a good idea to delete the content you don’t like (like maybe those profile pictures from college…) And, as you’re posting to these sites moving forward, assume that nothing you post is private, just in case.
Update Your Name and Profile Photo: Some names are just not as easy to find online as others. For example, if you are John Smith, it will be tough for people to find you in search. Although this might sound like a good thing sometimes, if you’ve invested in your online reputation and no one can find you, your work is wasted and you’ve lost an opportunity for a great first impression. If you have a common name, consider adding a middle initial to your name on your resume, LinkedIn and website, if applicable. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure your profile picture on all sites (including personal social accounts), would make a good first impression. Those profile photos will come up in search, regardless of privacy settings.
Build Your Own Online Reputation: While social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., are great places to connect with friends and family and might be pages you put behind privacy walls, spend some time making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff. Although LinkedIn used to be a place for job-hunting, it has become a serious player in the world of networking and you can be sure potential employers, partners and funders will be looking for your profile. Make sure your profile is updated, your summary represents what you do (not just your job title), your URL is personalized, your endorsements are in line with your expertise, and work to get recommendations from people you’d want represented on your profile. Depending on your individual goals, it’s also worth looking into having a website, which is a topic all on its own.