Managing Your Online Reputation

Managing Your Online ReputationThe Problem:

You’ve been on the job market for nine months now and not a single bite from anyone… don’t they see the two Science papers?!  They do.  Unfortunately, they also see the 15 keg stands, the six mug shots and the four streaks across campus…

Yikes.

The Solution:

We’ve all made mistakes.  Not managing our online reputation would be another one.  A few simple steps can have us back in control in no time.

The reality of life today is that there are no more distinctions between your professional and personal lives online.  So maintaining an online reputation is essentially part of your job description.

Try it yourself:

Step 1. Check the baseline.

As with many lab experiments, it’s hard to know what to do next if you don’t know where you are now.  Perform a search for your name in a few search engines to see what comes up.

Step 2. Assume no boundaries.

Professional and personal lives are merging, like it or not.  Employers, labmates, colleagues and even family, will all Google you at some point.  Run through your various profiles and look for photos that would make a colleague squirm or require a 30-minute explanation.  Either pull them down or increase your privacy settings to severely reduce access.

Step 3. Select usernames carefully.

Any time you leave a comment, picture or blog post using your real name, they will be together forever in wedded bliss.  Separate the two with a more creative username.  See Setting up an IntenseDebate username for instructions on how to do it on BenchFly.

Step 4. Keep an eye on things.

Set up a google alert and get a daily email notifying you of any online activity involving your name.  Even if you can’t control the content, knowing it’s out there is the first step to fixing it.

You worked too hard to let a few mistakes from the past hold you back.  But hey, scientists are good people, how much trouble could we get into?…

Is managing not enough?  Need help fixing an online reputation problem?

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