Five Quick Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Nov 2011

As much as 48% of companies and HR representatives base their hiring decisions on a potential employee’s social media presence across the web.  That really shouldn’t surprise anyone, and really I’m surprised that this number isn’t even higher, with social media being so proliferate nowadays.  Everything you do, say or post online runs a risk of being exposed and documented for, well, ever, and that can be scary if you are not especially prudent with what you are doing online.

How to do you ensure that your online reputation is protected?  Here are five quick things you can do to make sure your image stays untarnished:

  1. Check Your Privacy Settings: This might be obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t check their settings!  Social media channels are constantly updating, and consequently their internal platforms and of course settings are prone to the changes too.  Unfortunately, social networks aren’t always looking out for your best interests, so keep up with your favorite social media networks’ blogs and news to keep savvy so you can properly protect yourself.
  2. Don’t Reveal Your Full Birthday: Don’t worry, your friends will still remember to wish you a happy birthday on your wall, but not everyone has to know the year you were born.  Such a tiny piece of information can be manipulated and used maliciously against you, so do yourself a favor and remove your birthyear all together.
  3. Set up a Google Alert for Your Name: Go to and set up an email alert for anything containing your name, your login handles or business.  You’ll receive email digests daily alerting you about anything on the web that contains your queries, so you can regularly monitor what is being said about you online.
  4. Delete What You Don’t Use: Have a Twitter account, but don’t really use it? We at Katie Wagner Social Media like to say, “If you don’t use it, lose it!” Why? It looks worse if you have an idle social media account.  HR recruiters might look at your empty Twitter and assume that you aren’t technically savvy enough to use it, which could hinder your chances at getting hired.
  5. Use At Least One Network Diligently:  Today, not having an online presence at all can make you look bad.  You might not need to be an expert at all social media channels (see #4!), but have at least one platform that you can use and can give potential employers some insight on who you are.  The best professional social networking site that we recommend using is LinkedIn.

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