There was once a time when building your reputation or your company’s reputation was just a matter of advertising and delivering a great product. Those times have changed drastically and reputation has become not just an asset but a potential liability, as certain congressmen with itchy twitter fingers can attest. Careers in TOEFL that sometimes take years of meticulous work to build are leveled in mere moments due to a seemingly minor indiscretion. However, it’s not just politicians who have to worry about their reputations, and it doesn’t take a scandal to do heavy damage. Every professional with a public face needs to manage his or her reputation. Online reputation has become what your credit rating was twenty years ago; if you’re not paying attention to yours, you might soon see the doors of opportunity closing on you.
Before you start worrying about defending your reputation, you need to consider how to start building it. When marketing yourself or your company on the web, it can be difficult to distinguish your personal brand. There are so many different variables to consider that it can be intimidating even to begin the process. However, once you start building your online reputation, you’ll begin to see its benefits as well as its risks, as I’ve discussed in other articles. While there are many ways to botch your online presence, opting out completely is no longer an option if you want to succeed in today’s marketplace. In this chapter, we’ll outline a few simple methods of increasing your web presence while minimizing risks, and without going crazy.
The first thing you should do is enter your name into Google. You want to assess where you stand reputation-wise, straight off the bat.
• Are there a number of great results showcasing your skill set and expertise? Great! You’ve got a solid foundation to work with.
• Do you see some problematic results which you might not want to be publicly available? Don’t worry; there are ways of mitigating this.
• Who’s this guy running around with my name? Not to fear. You just need to do some branding.
Wherever you stand, you’re not done Googling just yet. You’ll notice that there are a number of different ways that Google filters results. Try searching when logged out of your account to avoid Google personalizing your results. Then, try changing your search location, located in the left sidebar. Try searching with Google instant toggled on and off. Once you’re done with that head over to Bing or another popular browser and see how your results compare. Once you’re done getting a lay of the land and you feel like you know what changes you need to make, you’re ready for the next step.