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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Impact of Online Reputation on Career Prospects: Insights from Tony McChrystal

Tony McChrystal, the Director of ReputationDefender EMEA, a leading global online reputation management company, delves into the significance of online reputation and its potential influence on an individual’s career prospects. This article aims to explore the various ways that online content can shape the perception of individuals in the professional realm.

Online reputation management, commonly referred to as ‘ORM,’ empowers individuals and businesses to take control of the online narrative surrounding them. It directly affects how people are perceived by others who search for them online. Every individual and business possesses an online reputation, making it crucial to proactively manage it by countering misleading information and promoting a balanced image.

ORM revolves around two distinct cycles: a vicious cycle where people neglect their online reputation, exposing themselves to rumors and misinformation, and a virtuous cycle where individuals actively curate positive online material to safeguard their reputation.

Whether someone is a recent graduate embarking on their career or a seasoned professional aiming for advancement, the absence of positive search results on Google can significantly impact their job opportunities. As individuals climb the corporate ladder, prospective employers meticulously scrutinise their online reputation portfolio, with recruiters increasingly turning to social media to evaluate potential candidates. Given this context, a lack of information about a candidate can raise concerns about their credibility, ultimately affecting their employability.

Both graduates and professionals must pay close attention to their online reputation, as 69% of employers admit to Googling job candidates as part of the screening process, according to a study by CareerBuilder. Social media content, including posts, pictures, and comments, can have a profound impact on an individual’s employability. In fact, 54% of employers have rejected candidates based on their social media content, as reported by the same study. This issue is particularly significant for job seekers in the 16-to-34-year-old age bracket, with 10% missing out on opportunities due to their social media activity.

The internet serves as a primary source of information, and people often place implicit trust in its content, shaping crucial decisions based on what they find online. Research from Edelman Insights indicates that two-thirds of people consider the internet the most reliable source of information about a person. When considering local businesses, a staggering 97% of individuals check online reviews, according to BIA Kelsey. These statistics underscore the potential impact of negative online content on individuals and businesses.

For job seekers, an active presence on social media can be a valuable asset, allowing them to showcase their enthusiasm and expertise in their chosen field. However, it is essential to evaluate whether all content portrays them in a positive light. A throwaway comment from years ago or content mistakenly attributed to them can have severe repercussions on their professional life.

To assess one’s digital footprint, it is advisable to log out of browsers to ensure search results are unbiased by personal search history. When conducting a self-search on platforms like Google, adding an occupation or city can refine the results, presenting the most relevant content.

Most people do not venture beyond the first page of search results. However, if negative material appears on that first page, it can significantly impact a candidate’s job prospects. Content that can hinder employment opportunities includes evidence of criminal behavior, references to substance abuse, discriminatory statements, disclosure of confidential information about previous employers, provocative images or videos, and critical comments about former employers or colleagues.

For professionals aiming to advance their careers, adopting a proactive approach to ORM is imperative for cultivating an online reputation that serves as an asset rather than a liability. Key steps to assert control over one’s digital footprint include adjusting privacy settings, actively building a positive online presence, addressing inaccuracies, and taking measures to remove negative content.

Whether at the beginning of their journey or ascending the career ladder, professionals must exercise caution when posting content on social media, as its impact can be substantial and enduring.

Even after joining a company, employees should bear in mind that they remain subject to scrutiny, as over half of employers admit to monitoring their employees’ social media posts. While self-Googling might appear self-indulgent, it is a crucial initial step for individuals seeking career progression, as it allows them to trace their digital footprint and safeguard their professional reputation.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://businesslancashire.co.uk/
Sam Allcock is a highly regarded digital entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in online marketing for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has extensive knowledge and experience in SEO and digital marketing. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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