“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! ....My reputation, Iago, my reputation!” —Cassio in Othello
The old adage holds that you are only as good as your name, but do you know what others are saying about you? With communication and commerce increasingly online, it is vital that you regularly audit and augment your online reputation. This doesn’t need to be an exhaustive (and exhausting) process. Here are the essentials:
Search regularly. Figure out what rhythm works well for you, whether at the end of a semester or on a quarterly basis. Google yourself. What are the top results that come up? What photos can people see? Where are they coming from? Peruse sites like Rate My Professor to see what students are saying about you. There will always be outliers, but it is wise to see trends and consistent feedback.
Make adjustments. Your Facebook profile should be private. It’s shocking how many professionals don’t take time to adjust their privacy settings. Notice the other top hits when you search your name. Is your LinkedIn photo recent? Is your profile sparse or does it reflect your current CV?
Produce positive content. One of the biggest mistakes people make with their online reputation is they only think about reducing the negative, not understanding that the best defense is a good offense. When people search your name does your website come up? Were you recently published? Why not link to the article on your blog? Does your Twitter profile reflect a stream of intelligent, industry-related comments and resources?
Invest time to ensure that your online representation is an accurate reflection of yourself and your actions, and it will have a positive effect on your career.