You will have no doubt read from numerous media outlets over the past few years how posting less-than-flattering photos of yourself on social media can impact your chances of promotion or getting that new job. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to ensure that your online persona doesn’t hold you back in your career, here are some quick and easy steps to help:
Regularly Google yourself
Yes this sounds terribly conceited but everything you do online under your name will eventually appear here. You might be lucky that you share your name with someone in the spot light who generates inches and inchesof ‘column space’ online with their latest exploits, in which case your own online persona will be pushed several pages down should a future employer look for you. However, the more social media sites you sign up to, the more you will need to manage them. Check the privacy settings on all of the sites you use and set as needed. Then log out of all sites and search for yourself. You will then see how you will appear to anyone searching for you.
Protect your image
All of your profile images can be available at the click of a button unless your privacy settings are set to maximum. By searching for images of yourself you may also see those of people or friends you interact with online. While you may keep your own profile images squeaky clean, the pages you interact with may not. Untag yourself from any photos you wouldn’t want your boss to see.
Timing is everything
Many companies today block social media sites from being accessed via work pcs. However with research by Deloitte* showing 72% of people between 16 and 64 years in the UK now own a smart phone, it's easy to access all of your social sites round the clock from your phone. Tempting as it may be to keep checking your sites for updates, think twice before you 'like', 'comment' or reply to them. A steady stream of updates on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example doesn't look like the output of the most productive person in the office!
Rein in the rants
Comments you make, on for example Facebook pages, are public - visible for all to see. So before you have a good old rant about something you feel passionate about, stop and think would you say that to someone’s face? Would you like a potential employer to see these comments? If the answer is no, don’t post them! Or at least keep the language clean and comments constructive. And don’t forget, even if you’re your own boss, potential clients may see these comments too.
You are what you sell
Having a spring clean? Dejunking? Again anything you post on these sites is publicly visible. So maybe drop the luminous green mankini you got from Secret Santa at your local charity shop.
If it suits your area of expertise or work, set up your own personal website. There are a huge number of do-it-youself sites out there to help you, for examples see top10bestwebsitebuilders If this doesn't suit your line of work, an up to date profile at a site such as LinkedIn should pop up near the top of any search.
Finally if it really has been an eventful Christmas/Birthday or New Year, the Independent published some very useful sites to help you clean up your online footprint.
* The survey was carried out in May 2013 by TNS, on behalf of Deloitte, among people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 64.