How To Spruce Up Your Online Persona And Protect Your Reputation

Why your reputation matters online

It should be no surprise that your first impression on the Internet is largely important. Even though your family and friends who look you up already know the real you, it's about informing others you have not met you IRL. Future employers and co-workers are trying to create an image of how you may fit in their work culture. It’s important to make sure what they find matches who you are (or who you want them to think you are).

Step 1: Research yourself (and remove what you don’t like)

Before you do a good old Google search on yourself you need to log out of all accounts or use a friends laptop. This way the search won’t be biased based on your activity. If the search results don’t match up with the “you” the public needs to see then there are steps you can take to tweak the results. Remove information from Google and Google Images with these forms. However, they only work for pages that have been taken down, or old, cached versions of pages that are active. Your best bet for Facebook is to delete any information or pictures you don't want public for the world to see. A good mantra for Twitter is "think before you tweet" because it is easily the most public social network.  

Step 2: Improve your online persona

Now, that you have erased what you don't want future employers seeing work to improve your online presence. Freelancers and entrepreneurs alike need to control their image. A humorous approach to halting online embarrassment is downloading Internet Shame Insurance. The extension only gives warnings when you're about to post a status update or reply all. So, the next time you draft a tweet you will be reminded that "Everyone can see this. That includes your grandma, priest" etc. This is an easy way to make you think twice before posting. 

Step 3: Keep it updated

Now that you’ve done all this work to spruce up your online presence you owe it to yourself to keep it up to date. This means repeating this process every one to three months so you’re not in a hurried mess the next time you have a job interview or are up for a promotion. An ideal online reputation does not have to boast perfection, just truth. Hopefully, this will help take your online presence into your own hands instead of leaving it to Google. 

Photo 1 courtesy of freepik. Photo 2 courtesy of shutterstock.