Does Your Online Reputation Really Matter?
The title of this blog post is really something that shouldn’t need to be asked anymore. The overwhelming answer to the question is YES!!!!
Recruiters, employers, university application departments, business partners, dates, friends and just about everybody cares. What people find about you online is their perception of you, rightly or wrongly. It’s why it’s high time you start looking after your online reputation.
Unfortunately we still see a lot of people, young and old not consciously thinking about what they post on their social media channels, their blogs or through chat apps. There is still a misconception that there is privacy and anonymity online. In spite of what the latest chat apps might sell themselves as; anonymous, private, untraceable, the only real way to ensure that information you don’t want out there getting out there is to NOT POST IT.
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 friends find hilarious that has real implications on your online reputation. 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, even way back in 2011, 75% of recruiters in the US were required by their companies to do an online search. 70% found negative online content. Still think that what you put online has no impact on you?
So knowing this, what can we do?
Well we can look to build a very positive online presence by a) thinking about what we post and b) start posting more positive content. One of the easiest way to do this for everyone is to get your LinkedIn profile up to par.
It still amazes us how many College students have yet to embrace LinkedIn. This 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.
So here are our 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. Use the keywords you want to be found for.
• 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 have 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.
The other bonus to having a great positive LinkedIn profile is that LinkedIn has a lot of authority in Google’s eyes, which means that it’s usually the first thing that ranks in the search engine results pages for your name.
Does your online reputation matter? The answer is YES. And it’s going to become even more important year on year.