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These days, it’s crucial for college grads seeking jobs to have an online reputation that’s as clean as a whistle. I’m an online-security and ID theft expert, so trust me when I say that yes, employers DO take into account what you did at that party during your sophomore year.
Here’s what you, the new college grad, can do to clean up and protect your reputation in the online world.
A prospective employer will likely Google your name, then read the sites it’s on. And don’t assume that you’re protected by a “Joe Smith” kind of name. An astute employer will find the right Joe Smith.
One of the first things a new college grad should do, to prepare for a job interview, is to prepare for what the person hiring is likely to do (either before or after the interview): look you up online.
Find out what people are saying about you in cyberspace. Use a tool like Google Alerts, Topsy, Social Mention and Sysmosys, among others. Monitor these on a daily basis.
If your own search turns up nothing bad about you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other biggies, this doesn’t mean nothing bad exists. Go deeper into the search results. Type in your middle name or just initial, or some associative fact like hometown name, to see if that alters results.
Cleaning up your online reputation, then, begins with seeing if it needs to be cleaned up in the first place. This is more important for a college grad than, say, getting that perfect manicure for job interviews or that perfect hair tinting job.
The prospective employer these days may be more interested in what your name pulls up in search engines than how perfectly coordinated your shoes are with your power suit.
Being digitally proactive keeps your online presence clean.
The college grad’s reputation needs to appear as perfect and “pure” as possible in the online world.