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

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

Tony McChrystal, Director of ReputationDefender EMEA, a leading online reputation management company, delves into the topic of online reputation and its influence on individuals’ career prospects. This article explores how online content can shape perceptions and discusses the importance of proactive online reputation management.

Online reputation management, or ORM, empowers individuals and businesses to control the narrative surrounding them in the online realm. An individual’s online reputation affects how they are perceived by others who search for them online. Establishing a positive online reputation is crucial, as it helps create a favourable impression and counteracts misleading information.

ORM encompasses two cycles: a vicious cycle, where neglecting online reputation leaves individuals susceptible to rumours and misinformation, and a virtuous cycle, where individuals actively manage their online reputation by curating positive content.

Whether someone is a fresh graduate entering the job market or a seasoned professional aiming for career advancement, a lack of positive search results on Google can significantly impact job opportunities. During the climb up the corporate ladder, prospective employers closely scrutinise an individual’s online reputation, with recruiters increasingly examining social media profiles to evaluate potential candidates. In this context, insufficient information about a candidate raises questions about their credibility and overall employability.

Both graduates and professionals need to 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 published by CareerBuilder. Social media posts, pictures, and comments can greatly influence an individual’s employability, with 54% of employers acknowledging that they have rejected a candidate based on their social media content, as per the same study. This issue is particularly critical for job seekers aged 16 to 34, with 10% missing out on job opportunities due to their social media activity.

The internet serves as a primary source of information, with people often trusting and basing important decisions on what they find online. Edelman Insights research shows that two out of three people consider the internet the most reliable source of information about a person. When considering local businesses, 97% of people check online reviews, according to BIA Kelsey. These statistics highlight the potential impact of negative online content on individuals and businesses.

For job seekers, an active social media presence can be advantageous, showcasing enthusiasm and expertise in their chosen field. However, it is crucial to evaluate whether all the content presents them in a positive light, as a single comment made years ago or content mistakenly associated with them could prove detrimental to their professional life.

To assess one’s digital footprint, it is important to log out of the browser to ensure search results are not influenced by personal search history. Googling oneself with added occupational or city keywords helps narrow down results to the most relevant content.

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

Professionals aiming to advance their careers must adopt a proactive approach to ORM, ensuring that their online reputation becomes an asset rather than a liability. Key steps include adjusting privacy settings, actively cultivating a positive online presence, addressing inaccuracies, and taking measures to remove negative content.

Whether starting out or progressing in a career, professionals must exercise caution before posting any content on social media, considering the potential impact, which can be significant and enduring.

Even after joining a company, employees should be mindful that they remain subject to scrutiny, as more than half of employers admit to monitoring their employees’ social media posts. Googling oneself may seem self-centered, but for career-oriented individuals, it is a critical first step in assessing their digital footprint and safeguarding their professional reputation.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. 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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