ONLINE REPUTATION REPAIR FOR INDIVIDUALS FOR EMPLOYMENT OR MATRIMONIAL PURPOSE
A person’s web character, or digital footprint, can make or break one’s career. Goggling yourself might sound a little vain, self-indulgent or possibly a little bizarre, but it’s a good way to measure just how your online reputation looks to prospective employers.With the arrival of the phenomenon called the Internet, our words and actions are essentially carved in stone and, in most cases, available to the public… online. Whether we like it or not, we are powerless over it! It is practically unmanageable to preserve any sense of digital discretion and control over how others view you unless you take a pro-active part in treating your online status.
Interestingly, employers are quickly catching on to the social media trend. According to workforce services provider, Manpower Inc., approximately 70% of human resource and business professionals currently utilize social networking sites in the hiring and job hunting process. Sixty percent of those surveyed use Facebook, while 34% use the professional networking site LinkedIn. Translation? It has become a powerful tool used by employers, educational institutions, banks, landlords, and other VIPs to define and gauge the success, failure, trustworthiness, reliability, morality and many more attributes of a specific individual.
A dynamic manifestation on social media is not a bad thing; rather it might prove to bring you all the visibility that you desire. But hang on! Do you really like what you see about you? Does it speak of you in good light? Do you need to tidy up your reputation online?Not just employers, to-be spouses and their families are also fast turning to internet to find suitable candidates, but not before discovering the truth of their lives. After all, before taking the plunge that is intended to last a lifetime, one would want to be sure of what they are signing up for!
What type of sites are HR professionals and job recruiters using for their research? And when did you last check content appearing under YOUR NAME on these sites? These are solid indicators, not to be dismissed as merely statistics…
Search engines 78%
Social networking sites 63%
Photo and video sharing sites 59%
Professional and business networking sites 57%
Personal Web sites 48%
News sharing sites (e.g. Twitter) 41%
Online forums and communities 34%
Virtual world sites 32%
Web sites that aggregate personal information 32%
Online gaming sites 27%
Professional background checking services 27%
Classifieds and auction sites 25%
None of these 2% 
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Meanwhile, listed below are few of the experimented tips intended to help improve and mend your online reputation:
Maintain privacy. Check your privacy settings on all your social networking accounts to make sure your personal information is kept private. This includes accounts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social networking sites you may use. Take advantage of Facebook’s privacy setting to keep photos and videos that others post of you off basic Web searches.
Avoid oversharing. Steer clear of saying anything that you wouldn’t normally share with a prospective employer. Experts say it’s a good idea to refrain from talking about politics or religion at work, and the same holds true for social networking sites. Any strong thoughts that lean one way over another could potentially rub somebody the wrong way and cloud your online reputation. Also, be mindful of joining what could be considered politically incorrect groups.
Do not complain and whine. Avoid posting anything negative about your current or previous jobs, employers, co-workers, etc. Similarly, don’t update your Facebook status only when you have something negative or sarcastic to say. Nobody wants to hire “Negative Nancy” or “Donald Downer.” Find a balance so your digital personal doesn’t look too bitter or angry.
Know who your friends are. As we already learned in the Microsoft survey, employers are keeping tabs on what your friends and relatives say about you. Pay close attention to who you are linked to online and what they are saying. Consider deleting anybody who says or does inappropriate things to avoid looking guilty by association.
Stop sharing unsuitable content. Posting inappropriate media to any photo or video- sharing websites, like YouTube, could destroy your image. Even if you use a different username on these sites, there are ways people can track them back to your email address, so your best bet is to avoid posting questionable content altogether. Similarly, don’t share inappropriate content with your friends because you can’t control what they will do with it.
Don’t drink and then post or tweet. Posting inappropriate comments or photographs while under the influence may cast a negative reflection on your online persona. Also, avoid posting content that proves you have broken your employer’s social media policy or hiring agreement. In addition, avoid updating your status after you’ve called in sick (sites like Facebook maintain digital time stamps for every member).
Separate social networking from job networking. It’s easy to fall into the Facebook job hunting trap, but keeping social networking and job networking separate will help you avoid blurring the lines. Build up your prospective job contact list on professional networking sites like LinkedIn instead.
Be consistent. Make sure your professional and educational background information on your social networking profile matches the information on your resume, or you could be caught lying.
Google yourself. Research suggests that this is the first thing a potential employer will do if they want to find information about you online, so it’s a good idea to be a step ahead of them. A quick online search will garner some (not all) of the information about you that is publically available. The faster you take care of questionable content, the better.
Generate positive content. Experts agree that the best way to counteract negative content is by creating positive information that will rank high on search engines like Google. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube all rank high in Google searches if you update them at least once a month.
Use Google/Profiles. The search engine’s latest tool allows users to literally control what people see about them by creating their own personal profiles. Visit Google Profiles for more information.
Use Google Alerts and Tweet Beep. These are free tools that will email you when someone mentions your name, company or product, even if they’re using a shortened URL.