In public relations, probably more than any other profession, it’s important to have a handle on what the internet says about you. After all how can you be expected to look after the reputation of a client if you can’t even look after your own? While Googling yourself used to be the past time of the internet savvy narcissist nowadays it’s expected that you’re not only aware of what pops up when you search for your own name, but that whatever does appear is positive too!
Apparently 78 per cent of recruiters search your name online before deciding whether to hire you or not and why wouldn’t they? An impressive CV and crease-free suit may create the right initial impression but your tweets say more about the real you and that’s what potential a employer really wants to know. Even existing workers would do well to remain more guarded about their true feelings if they want to keep their job…
Okay, that’s an extreme example. Not all of us are daft enough to vent our spleens in such a manner, but even the odd drunken photo can land you in a spot of bother should the wrong set of eyes wander across it.
So what to do? On the one hand you don’t want to come across as unemployable, but at the same time one of the great things about the internet, and social media in particular, is the ability to project your personality across various accounts and connect with others. A small number of people may suggest avoiding the internet altogether, but while the lack of a web presence certainly wont out you as a serial partier there’s every chance that it’ll make you look like a luddite instead.
The easiest way to avoid anything unseemly, embarrassing or offensive from appearing on the web in your name is to engage your brain before you post. If it’s something that you wouldn’t want your own mother to see then the chances are it’s not going to help your career either. If you are dying to make that risqué joke for all your mates to see then make sure your privacy settings reflect that fact that it is just for them.
Treat every social media platform differently too. An obvious example would be LinkedIn and Facebook – two very similar tools with very different uses. If you want to create a professional and personal persona for yourself then do so but make sure to keep them separate. I no longer connect LinkedIn to my Twitter feed after it was helpfully pointed by a connection of mine that some of what I broadcast may not be relevant or even acceptable for a professional profile.
Still not sure I’m right? Then don’t just take my word for it – digital marketing experts KBSD have came up with this nifty infographic to highlight the importance of keeping your online presence in check as well as giving you suggestions on how to manage it.
Right, I’m off to purge Facebook of all photos in which I’m holding a drink and whacking my privacy settings up to 11. I suggest you do the same. When you’re finished why don’t you share some of your own tips for keeping an eye on your online footprint?