I was interviewed by KVAL news about reputation management and crisis communication this week. Our Duck athletes have been having some trouble staying out of trouble and the reporter wanted to talk to me about what they should do. I declined to comment specifically on the story – I don’t have enough “inside” information and because I both teach and have clients at the University of Oregon, I wanted to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest.
But I did agree to talk generally about how an organization in a tough spot might respond and think about repairing. This is the short version of the story. If the longer version gets posted, I’ll update.
According to a recent survey of 100 executive recruiters done by ExecutNet, 77 percent of recruiters reported using search engines to find background data on candidates. Of that number, 35 percent eliminated a candidate because of what they found online. StarTribune.com
Online repuation is not just a matter of limiting what you put on line, but being very deliberate about what you share and how you position yourself as a young professional. You will be Googled, why not have the results be intentional?
Having a strong online presence is important. If you don’t participate in social media, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from would-be Googlers. What if a less-than-savvy classmate posts something critical about you as a teammate on his profile or blog? Or another friend tags you in an embarrassing photo? If that’s your only “digital footprint,” then that’s what you will be judged on. Neither is intentional on your part or a deliberate management of your repuation, right?
Some tips to creating and managing your digital footprint:
Know what’s out there. Do a search for your name. If you have a common name, add modifiers such as your state or university. If you wanted to find you online, how would you do it?
Maintain an accurate and professional Facebook profile. You don’t have to scrub your personality out of your profile – in fact, don’t! Social media is about being transparent and authentic. But hopefully your authentic self has something to share besides beer pong photos.
Consider your presence on other social networking sites like MySpace, PROpenMic, LinkedIn or others. Of these, PROpenMic and LinkedIn should be helpful to building a professional presence, but every time you upload a picture, or fill out a profile, be conscious of how you’re changing your digital footprint.
Blog. If your classes aren’t requiring that you blog, start one on your own. I have lots of blogging tips on my delicious.com page to get you started. But blogging can be a great way to affect your SERP, but also gives your practice writing, thinking about issues and trends related to your topic and can serve as an online portfolio.
Remember that email, comments and blog posts are forever. For-ev-er. Think before you type.
What other tips do you have? If you Google yourself, what comes up in the results? How did that information get there?