What’s your reputation worth? How your online reputation can affect your career and life
Have you ever Googled yourself? If so, what did you find? A LinkedIn profile, a story about your baseball teams recent win? If you’re a recent graduate looking for a job, or a seasoned professional looking to make a career change, or someone who is looking for a mortgage, rest assured that your new employer, bank, lender, has/will be checking out your online profile(s). So it’s important to put some thought into what content and images you share online as this speaks for you.
What if the content you are posting online is damaging your reputation?
According to a Reppler study, 91% of employers check social media profiles as part of their screening process. So, the things that you upload/share online – images, posts, texts, content - can be found and can influence a hiring manager decision.
What I found interesting is that 69% of hiring managers who responded to the survey stated that they have rejected a candidate because of what they found out about them during a search on social media.
What if the content you are posting online is damaging your reputation? According to Herman Tumurcuoglu, the CEO and Founder of SearchReputation.net, “today we are sharing photos and content consistently, we need to understand that anything and everything online stays online, forever.”
Judgements about people can be made with a cell phone video, “I’ve seen how a few poorly thought-out tweets or rants in a Facebook group ruin careers,” said Tumurcuoglu. “It’s not just celebrities that need to be careful about what they are posting. Reputations are fragile and need to be managed and cared for daily.”
When hiring managers were asked why they reject candidates due to their social media content, the most popular responses included:
- Posting of inappropriate photos
- Posting of inappropriate comments
- Content that shows the candidate drinking or using illicit drugs
- Posts that had negative comments about a previous employer
3 areas where your online activity can impact your life
Moving beyond work, your online image is also being looked at for other areas of your life. Here are the 3 ways your social media activity can impact your life:
Obtaining credit and housing a. When working with a financial institution for a mortgage or when applying for an apartment, many organizations and landlords do a background check of your credit, to ensure that you are able to pay the loan/rent. b. A negative review or an old social media post that show you in an inappropriate light (see the list above), this can be enough for the bank or landlord to deny your application.
Insurance a. A negative online reputation can affect your life when it comes to insurance. Insurance companies are leveraging social media to secure a log of whether an individual is following the insurance policy b. There have been instances where insurance companies have denied claims because of content they have seen online, such as policyholders engaged in dangerous activities ie: skydiving. In the case of life insurance, this content can continue to harm you even after death, as there has been cases where the insurance beneficiary was not able to obtain the insurance payout due to the insured online postings
Your relationships a. Many people rely on online platforms to meet a potential partner. Since many people do their own background check on a potential mate before their first date/meeting, what they see is often their first impression of you. If the online search results are negative, managing your online presence can help when people are swiping left or right.
How to keep your online reputation in check
We all know that what get shown online, can literally stay on the Internet forever. Which means things that you have done years ago can come up decades later and affect you. For this reason, being able to control your online reputation is important.
What can you do if you find something online that is not flattering? “Firms like SearchReputaion.net helps people to do a deep dive into your online reputation and put a plan together that can mold your reputation into the best it can possibly be online,” said Tumurcuoglu.
3 things you can do to manage your online reputation
Google Search To start, simply Google your name or the name of your company. Now, you need to go through everything (the good, bad and ugly), that is being said about you or your company. From this search you will be able to determine the shape that your online reputation is in. If the result of your search is not positive, it may be a good time to reach out to a “search reputation firm to help manage the negative comments and start to rebuild your online rep,” said Tumurcuoglu. When you are doing your Google search, don’t forget to use all different variations of your name. For example, if your name is William, be sure to also check Bobby, Will, etc. “Do not leave any stone unturned, be sure to check your common usernames, email addresses, and even phone numbers,” said Tumurcuoglu.
Check your privacy settings To avoid having bad things that have been said about you be found online, “consider beefing up your privacy settings. This will not eliminate every bad post that was shared, but it will drastically reduce the chance of these unflattering items being seen,” said Tumurcuoglu. By adjusting your privacy settings, this will somewhat prevent people from sharing your posts to the internet, but the downside of this move if you are a business, is this may hinder your customers ability to find you online.
Adjust your name Many people have similar names, so adjusting your name for your online profile can be helpful to ensue you are not mistaken for another person. Simply adding a middle name or initial will help to differentiate you from the millions of others wit a similar name. On the bright side, this move will also you to be more searchable for employers or colleagues.
What to do if you need help managing your online reputation?
A strong personal reputation takes years to build, and only a few tweets, posts or pictures to break. So, what can you do to build and protect your reputation? Next time you search your name, and you are not pleased with the information that comes up, you can consider enlisting a reputation management company to assist you in cleaning up or managing your personal online persona. These firms can move negative stories to deeper Google page results and pull positive content forward. By doing this you can reduce the chance of harmful content being seen and impacting your online reputation. Using one of these firms can be essential in rebuilding your online reputation, because everyone needs a second chance to make a first impression.
To learn more about Beverly and Bacon & Heels, read the "Power 5" interview that we did with her in September 2021 - you can read the full blog post HERE.
Thank you for your contribution Beverly!