The New York Post did a very interesting article last spring entitled “How to Protect Your Online Rep.” Chris Erickson, the author, pointed out that just checking your name in Google and cleaning up your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking accounts aren’t enough anymore. Employers are looking deeper and farther. Through the wonders of social networking (Web 2.0 to us), employers are able to check out the friends you keep, the forums and groups you like or take part in, virtually anything you list or choices you make while networking online. It’s a scary world folks.
So what can you do about it? According to Erikson, use (but don’t trust) privacy settings. They are, at best, a stop gap, not a fail safe. Make sure you check out you name, email address, blog names, etc. in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and places like Zoominfo. You may be surprised at some of the places you find your information. And for pity sake, don’t assume that once you’ve had a job interview, you’re home free. If you tweet what a dumb idiot one of your interviewers was, that person will find out about it, trust me. Even on the off chance he or she is not into social networking, their friends will be. Be discreet. You might not like that word, but when you are hunting for or trying to keep a new (or old) job, discretion is your friend.
It’s worth taking a look at the original New York Post article. Just click “How to Protect Your Online Rep” by Chris Erickson.
I also tracked down several books on the subject that the Newton Free Library now owns. These are:
Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss (mentioned in Erickson’s original article).
Wild West: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier by Michael Fertik and David Thompson.
Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building or Repairing Your Online Reputation by Herbert Tabin and Craig Agranoff. If you haven’t got a clue how to do any of this, start with this book. Some of the reviews in Amazon complained that this work was too basic. Sounds good to me.
Manage Your Online Reputation by Tony Wilson.
“Let’s be careful out there.” Stay safe online and don’t do anything foolish. You don’t need to have the added stress of identity theft piled on top of looking for a job. And you will be tempted. Don’t forget, there is always someone ready to pounce when you make an exception – just this one time.