Are you searching for a job? Do you have a presence online? Keep in mind that prospective employers can do a quick search for you and find out where you’ve posted online and other information that you may want kept quiet. These quick tips will help you keep your online image clean – or clear it up if it’s already damaged.
MySpace Can Get You Into Trouble
Some people have nicely kept MySpace pages where they share information about their daily lives, giving updates to far-away friends and families. Others use the pages to showcase themselves in compromising positions and to share any thought they have with the world. You want to be one of the former. Keep your online profile pages clean. Delete any messages you wouldn’t want your boss to read. Forget setting it to private as it’s too easy to violate that security.
Consider A Pseudonymous Handle
Should you have some burning desire to yell cyber-expletives about your mother, your cats, or your old boss, do it using someone else’s name. Be sure that there is no trace from that pseudonym to your real name. For example, if you have a blog, do you link it to your other blogs? Is it on Blogger where you have a public profile? Ask yourself if you could do a bit of research and find out who you are. If you could, then either don’t continue with the postings or find a way to turn off those connections.
Don’t Rant On Forums
Keep the comments you make on forums to a minimum in terms of private information. Perhaps you’re just using your first name, but if you give enough information over time, an astute observer may be able to pick out who you are. One major mistake that people make is to keep their information private in their posts but have links to their websites. One 30-second Whois look-up, and anyone reading will know your name, address, and telephone number.
While it may seem unlikely that you’ll end up on the same forum as co-workers or future bosses, the possibility does exist, particularly on high-traffic sites. What is more likely, however, is that your employer will run an “online reputation” check. With the Internet becoming an indispensable part of commerce and companies using websites and social networking to sell products, the online presence of their employees is becoming vital to monitor as well.