How to clean your online reputation

Looking for a new job? Stalk yourself on Facebook first.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 06 Apr 2018

The genius of the internet is that people think it’s free. So long as you have a device and a connection, you can scour the world’s knowledge, interact with people thousands of miles away and run errands like shopping and banking from the comfort of your favourite chair. All for nothing.

Well, almost for nothing. We pay with data. And data, as the whole Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has reminded us, can be dangerous as well as lucrative.

When you’re applying for a new job, your data can be the difference between gainful employment and the distinctly un-digital soup kitchen. Yet your problem is unlikely to be the information secretly harvested by a tech giant’s cunning algorithms. It’s the digital trail you put there yourself.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to give yourself a digital spring clean. MT spoke with Dan Hawes, co-founder and marketing director of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, for some quick tips.

1. Delete, delete, delete – Trawl through your social profiles for any posts that might fall below the line of acceptability. ‘Ask yourself would you hire you if a prospective employer found something.’ Says Hawes. If in doubt, delete.

2. Play with your privacy settings – Turn on your privacy settings to keep those embarrassing photographs out of the public domain. ‘It may be a boring task, but it could save your bacon.’

3. Create a professional personal brand – ‘Be proactive. Make sure if your name is Googled the first thing that comes up puts you in a positive light to an employer,’ says Hawes. ‘Create a LinkedIn profile and get active by commenting, publishing, sharing, liking and joining group discussions. You’ll soon get noticed.’

4. Don't forget your right to be forgotten – If there’s something tremendously horrible that you can’t quite shift, remember you can always ask Google to remove a search result under your European right to be forgotten. So far the search giant has complied with 43% of the 2.4 million requests it’s received.

5. Remember, there’s no hiding for companies too – This works both ways. ‘You can just as easily check their social media and reviews,’ says Hawes.

Image credit: Natali_Mis/Shutterstock

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