Maintain Your Professional Reputation Online

As more of us spend more time fussing around in social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s worth remembering what we do there is widely visible by all sorts of people – including potential employers. Writing in Certification magazine, Robert Half Technology’s Dave Willmer (who also writes the "Ask the IT Career Doctor" column in our advice area) says, "a growing number of employers are searching the Internet for details about potential hires." What to do? We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Be smart.

  • Determine what information about you exists online by scanning several search engines.
  • Take corrective action if you see damaging remarks by asking the source or the site to remove them. If not, consider working with a service such as ReputationDefender to help you.
  • Strengthen your reputation by sharpening up your personal Web site and by making sure any online resumes are clean and current.
  • Move forward wisely by watching what you say online wherever you go and considering saying less, or saying it anonymously.
  • Network wisely by always behaving professionally in social networks, and by observing every possible bit of online etiquette.
  • Also be selective about whom you invite into your work, keeping in mind that potential employers may take a look at your "known associates."
  • Keep tabs on yourself by setting up alerts in Google News or elsewhere to see where your name pops up.

–Don Willmott