BE PROFESSIONAL + NETWORKING
When a potential employer is looking to hire there are numerous ways that having your online brand optimized will aid you – we have an accompanying video about Linkedin.
It could be that you are limiting yourself with what you have online today, not what you don’t have online – more is more in this context – do be somewhat tasteful though, your reputation is at stake!
Have you heard of the horror stories of pictures being discovered of people in ‘compromising’ positions from wild nights out that suddenly surface online?
Action Steps to help you clean up your online brand:
Go through all your main social media accounts (namely Facebook and Instagram) and delete or make private all of the old content that doesn’t represent you in the way that you want.
Check all the photos that you have posted as well as have been tagged in, you may be surprised at best and shocked at worst if you’ve never really gone through this before.
It is better that you are shocked by finding embarrassing media online rather than a potential employer!
Now that you have eliminated compromising media content on social media platforms, I also recommend doing Google searches with your full name or any other online moniker that you or someone else may have used to represent you in the past.
When searching for additional content online about yourself you may find past educational records, sporting achievements, message board comments, old websites, or things you may have started or had a presence on in the past.
Once you have a good understanding of what is online – you can start to take the appropriate action steps to clean it up and get in the driver’s seat so that you aren’t caught off guard when someone mentions something about you online that you have long forgotten about.
When something incriminating is discovered online about you there are action steps you can take to help minimize the consequences.
If you or someone you know has a picture under their account of you which you would like to have removed – you can direct message them and ask them to remove it politely.
If your first request isn’t met with the response that you are seeking and the potentially incriminating pictures of you are still online – I would more sternly request the photo be taken down by whoever is hosting it. Something along the lines of: “ I have politely asked for this photo or message to be taken down, and as this picture is potentially incriminating for my future, I will need to request to the platform to have it removed if it is still online by a certain date. However, I would rather you just removed it so that this situation is quickly resolved. Thank you.” That way things keep cordial for as long as possible.
In both of the first two response methods, make sure and give sufficient time for your host/poster to get back to you, not everyone is online daily or even weekly – so around 1-2 weeks should be given – You want to give them as much time as possible to see your message and also allow them time to think about the best action for everyone. If your message is well worded and not attacking or threatening – you will probably get the desired outcome you seek.
If the second slightly more aggressive request is met with deaf ears or not the outcome you are seeking, then proceed with messaging the platform or host customer service and request the photo be taken down of you so that it is no longer online – most social media platforms will comply. A simple email or customer support message will suffice – just explain to them why you would like to have that photo removed of yourself and that you have already twice asked the host/poster of that media content, but they haven’t complied.
Occasionally, the platform or host may ignore your request also – in that case, just be sure to ‘untag’, ‘unfriend’, and ‘unfollow’ that user to disassociate yourself and not have a trail for your social network to be able to easily find that content. At the end of the day that is the best you can do.
Optimizing your professional network
If you are actively looking for a job or just want to grow your professional network, it is advised that you have a Linkedin account.
Linkedin, which is the largest professional networking platform in the world has 303 million active monthly users, 40% of which visit the site daily.
Linkedin can be thought of as Instagram/Facebook for the professional world.
The platform is quite intuitive – We recommend signing up and seeing what the fuss is about.
Like all of these platforms, the more optimized your Linkedin profile is, the better for potential networking!
Create a Linkedin account if you have a goal of professional networking
Search yourself to see what Is online about you: follow the steps above for anything incriminating you find.
Join some relevant online communities via Meetup.com, Linkedin, FaceBook groups, Instagram groups, or hashtags and start to engage and network with new people who you have professional overlap with.