Make Sure Your Online Persona Isn’t Your Evil Twin: Things You Must Know For A Good Digital Reputation

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Remember that post you liked on your friend’s timeline last week? It could have been a totally innocuous link of 32 must-see cute animal pictures or it could have been a slightly compromising picture of you in the hours that proceeded happy hour. Either way, you’ve left a data trail that people will be able to see for years to come.

No, this isn’t the work of an expert Facebook user. It’s a reality that job seekers with an online presence must become familiar with if they wish to succeed in their job hunt.

According to a survey by McAfee it seems that people are worried about their online personas.

In fact, 46% of 18-34 year olds polled were concerned about how they look online.

Brenda Moretto, Canadian Consumer Manager at McAfee, said that a poor digital reputation could hurt a new graduate in their job hunt in a number of ways.

“Job markets are competitive and anyone looking for a job needs every advantage they can have,” Brenda said, adding that this means that job seekers definitely don’t want to have anything negative in their digi-trail.

If a potential employer saw something unsavory on an applicant’s Facebook page or other online profile, Brenda said this could lead to the applicant not getting the job.

“If I’m an employer then I’m looking for someone who is going to represent my brand,” Brenda said. Many companies will perform background checks on potential employees to check if they are aligned with the employer’s and company’s philosophy and represent the brand in a professional manner.

“If they had a negative digital footprint then it wouldn’t be aligned,” Brenda said.

16% of people polled knew someone who had been fired because of a personal image or message posted online.

People are constantly on smartphones and aren’t posting pictures of each other volunteering or studying as much as they are of their friends in a compromising position.

Brenda suggested 4 tips that McAfee developed in the hopes of keeping online profiles of job-seeking generations appropriate for landing their dream job.

Tips for staying on top of your online reputation:

1. Polish it: Treat your online presence as well as you would your resume. You never know who might be looking you up.

2. Secure it: Try to manage what others can see online. Don’t forget that whatever your or your friends ‘like’ on Facebook, for example, stays there for everyone else to see. Remember that even if your profile is as secure as secure can be and you’ve changed your name to make you unsearchable, you still have Facebook friends, Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections that can see everything you do. What will happen if your relationship with one of these people turns sour? Be aware of the fact that whatever you put online is available to people that might not always have your best interests at heart.

3. Hold it: A good rule of thumb to use when deciding whether to put those happy hour pictures online is “Is this something I would want my boss, colleagues or grandma to see?” If not, don’t post it.

4. Protect it: So many of us have fallen victim to a friendly Facebook take over and the results reverberate in your online history for good. Don’t share any passwords with your friends, as who knows what they will post. McAfee also discovered that 60% of people store personal or intimate information on their cell phones, but only 40% of people enable password protection on these devices. Punching in a password is a 3 second task that could save you a lot of money, worry and dignity.

How do you go about protecting your online reputation? Do you think it’s necessary to take all of these extra steps? Let us know in the comments below!

 Photo credit:  Owen W. Brown

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