Online Reputation Management Tips for Job Seekers
4 Ways to Kickstart Your Personal PR Strategy and Successfully Clean Up any Smudges in Your Online Reputation
Online reputation management is a critical component of a job seekers' personal brand strategy.
According to a 2005 survey of over 100 recruiters by executive recruiting and human capital organization ExecuNet, 75 percent of headhunters use search engines to research candidates and check their online reputation, while 26 percent eliminate candidates based upon the information they have discovered online.
How can job seekers clean up their online reputation?
If negative or false information about your name appears in the search engines, here are 4 steps to kick start your online reputation management strategy and successfully clean up your online reputation.
Assess the potential online reputation damage
According to a December 2007 report by the non-profit Pew Internet & American Life Project, 53% of adult Web users have searched for information about romantic interests, family, friends and business colleagues. It's now critical that you Google and Dogpile your name to see what’s the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) are reporting.
Most users only scour the first 30 posts to determine your current online reputation status, but I suggest that you search every page with your name on it.
Use a 4 prong strategy of content you can control, to rise to the top of the search engines
The web information that reaches the top first, is the most recent. It's often used first by browsers to determine your online brand. The more positive content you can control and publish yourself, the greater chances you can clean up your online reputation.
- Clean up your online reputation by reserving your own name-based URL. Consider your name a keyword and a priceless asset in online reputation management. Add your profession to your the site to link your career with your name. For example, BobMillerMD.com, MaryDaviswrites.com and SusanLinkerJD.com can not only rank you high in the search engines, but can easily attach your name to your career.
- Use social media and bookmarking sites to dominate the SERP rankings. LinkedIn, Facebook, Squidoo and Twitter profiles all rank well and high in search results. Sites like About.com, Digg.com, Myspace.com, WikiAnswers and Yahoo answers have huge domain authority with the search engines and can provide the leverage needed to get your content ranked high in the SERPS.
- Create a blog with your name to clean up your online reputation. Blogs usually rank high in the search engines. Don’t forget to comment on high profile blogs to create positive links attached to your name.
- Submit a 400 word article to free article directories. Use EzineArticles.com or other free article directories to create high quality and unique content that will spread to other sites quickly.
It’s next to impossible to remove bad information, on someone else’s webpage, without contact the site owner. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease, as you attempt to remove these negative listings.
- Send an email to ask the site owner or the applicable Internet Service Provider to remove the disparaging information within 24 hours.
- Submit the site to Google’s authenticated spam reports, if the information is misleading, heinous and deceptive to web users.
- Depending upon the situation and parties involved a simple request to remove information can start as a simple email or escalate to talks of lawyers and libel.
- Hire an online reputation management firm like ReputationDefender.com or ReputationHawk.com to contact the site owner or your behalf.
Be nice, but firm with the site owner. Ultimately whether you pay for the posting removal, or attempt to clean up your online reputation yourself, the site owner has the final say as to whether to remove your content or not.
Use free web alerts for ongoing online reputation management
Use a free web alert service to monitor your name daily. Whenever someone posts information about you online, Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts will notify you within 24 hours of the post. Remember to put your name within quotation marks to ensure that the exact information you’re requesting will arrive to your inbox. The free service is extremely valuable and surprisingly accurate for online reputation management.
Considering the ease of competitors and disgruntled employees publishing negative information on the web, A job-seekers’ online reputation management strategy must be an ongoing public relations exercise.
Create an ongoing and comprehensive online reputation management strategy to push the negative information down into the depths of the search engine results, far from the prying eyes of recruiters and future employers.