Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Hiring & Career Trends

+13

Take Control of Your Online Image: How to Wipe it Clean

Take Control of Your Online Image: How to Wipe it Clean

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

July 27, 2011

The Internet is a dangerous place for employees and potential employees. That’s because employers are using information they find about you online to make hiring and firing decisions.

A recent article in the New York Times said 75 percent of recruiters are required to do online research of candidates and 70 percent have rejected candidates because of what they found.

And ironically, the same article noted that less than a third of the information one company finds that gets job candidates in trouble comes from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The rest comes from pictures, videos, listserve emails, and other things that can easily be found by a search engine.

So how do you go about cleaning up your online image? There are several ways, and several different courses of action depending on what’s out there on you. We detail it all, including how to make sure your Google search comes up clean.

Our Tips to Make Your Online Image Squeaky Clean


Do Your Own Google Search: Start by Googling your name. You may be shocked to see what comes up. Make a list of questionable photos, comments, emails and personal information that comes up, along with where you found it for future reference. And then once you’ve surveyed it all, take action on each one.

Clean Up Your Social Media Pages : This is a great place to start because you control so much of what’s here for people to see. Here’s how to clean things up:

  • Change Your Privacy Settings: Change your privacy settings so that only close friends and family can view your personal information.
  • Create a “limited access” list : This is for people you may not know very well (or at all), and for coworkers, or potential employers who’ve sent you a friend request and put you in that awkward position of having to either decline (and offend them) or accept (and have your whole private life on display).
  • Reevaluate Your “Friends”: Go through your friends list and see who a.) Shouldn’t be there at all (promptly remove), and b.) Needs to be moved to the “limited access” list you’ve just created. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know them in real life, you don’t need to friend them on facebook – there is too much personal information that could be used against you for a stranger to have access to. Coworkers should go into the limited access list, with exceptions only for VERY good friends.
  • “Edit” Your Photos: Go through your photos—not just on Facebook, but even online photo sharing albums that you don’t THINK anyone else can see—and remove anything that’s questionable. According to a New York Times article, it’s photos and videos that seem to get people in the most trouble. Questionable material can include nude photos and any photos where you’re dressed just a little too skimpy, as well as anything that makes reference to drugs, firearms (even if you own them legally), underage drinking and even smoking. Also remove any photos where you’re portrayed as immature—such as photos of you giving the middle finger or wearing t-shirts with inappropriate language. Remove these photos immediately. If you don’t own the photos, untag yourself and ask the person who posted them to take them down.
  • Self Censor : Don’t make any comments or status posts that use inappropriate language, or language can be construed as racist, sexist, offensive, or even culturally incensitive. If you’re looking for work, also steer clear of posts that are overly religious or political. Remove these posts immediately and don’t make anymore. In fact, some potential employers will view status posts simply to see the types of things you talk about on your Facebook page, and even if they don’t find anything inappropriate per se, they may be turned off if you seem immature.
  • Reevaluate Your “Groups”: Steer clear of any groups that could be construed as offensive. A recent New York Times article gave a poignant example. A job seeker turned off potential employees by belonging to a group called “This Is America. I Shouldn’t Have to Press 1 for English.”


More PLUS How to Remove Something from a Google Search! >>>


+13
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MariaLoch

    over 1 year ago

    2 comments

    I recently joined TYBA, which is an online tool to create a profile on yourself, build up your skills and attract employers... they even put you in contact with some. I searched myself online after that and it was the first link on google! and i enjoyed it much more than linkedin. so... after just 4 months I got called in for an interview at a company and the first thing they pointed out was tyba. I definitely recommend it since I got the job soon after! here's the link: http://tyba.com/?ref=321

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    julaakas

    over 1 year ago

    22 comments

    If you think Ellen`s story is terrific,, 5 weeks ago my aunties neighbour also got a cheque for $6552 just sitting there 40 hours a month in their apartment and there co-worker's mom`s neighbour done this for eight months and earned more than $6552 part time on- line. follow the information from this address, http://www.Cloud65.com

  • Me--stuffy-04-21-12_max50

    arkingIT

    about 2 years ago

    14 comments

    Who care if I'm not hired because I speak my mind. If you don't like me I've not lost anything because I like myself. So what about those of you who hide in your house and everything is hush hush to the public but surely you're standing up on the inside and complaining to your close friends about the world aren't you? I bet you even throw in a few cuss words from time to time. So go ahead employers bash me. I don't want your job anyways if you don't like me.

  • Peekaboo011_max50

    Taina1295

    almost 3 years ago

    14 comments

    Always have a separate account that is mainly for fun and avoid using your real name, or divulging personal information online. You want to rant about your boss? Not on your actual account you don't. It could come back to haunt you. Never post photographs that you wouldn't want your grandmother to see (or your children) and keep your sex life OFF LINE. :)

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    sasuser

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    wouldn't want to seem "incensitive"!

  • Profile_pic_max50

    alancollege

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    There is no doubt that you need to have a clean online brand. But you also need to have a strategy! Just being on Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter doesn't mean you have a powerful online brand. See this article on propowerlinks.com to see what I'm talking about. http://propowerlinks.com/2010/09/25/your-online-brand/?id=539

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PDStaggs

    almost 3 years ago

    4 comments

    I just found info on spokeo. I have no idea how it got there or how to get rid of it. They even have a picture of my house. That is not right as I never never allowed it & it's not a picture anyone in my family has taken. What am I able to do about this? Anybody suggestions

  • D_max50

    vijaydj

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    This is quite an issue, when I first cleaned up my online search couple of months ago, I found it in all irrelevant places, where I did not want to be found in. Right now Google lists, most of my professional links, but still there links, which contains forwarded mails to a yahoo groups I was a member around 7 yrs ago, I am not sure how to block it now :(

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Unaccredited Cate

    almost 3 years ago

    I've also said some unflattering things on the internet over the past 10 years... How can they judge you professionally by looking at you personally? People grow. I've been using the internet all my life and have matured tremendously however, I revert on some occasions. I can't find and clear off everything I've ever said but, I can change what I say from now on.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Unaccredited Cate

    almost 3 years ago

    I have a very common name. A number of both professionals and immature kids pop up when I type in my name. What can I do about that? Be thankful my poorly thought out comments don't show in the top 10? My name does come up first for linkedin, which I keep professional and don't link to twitter or facebook. Should I worry about comments made on political issues on CNN or Huffington post?

  • Superhero_logo

    Frank_Ball

    almost 3 years ago

    19756 comments

    Please keep your comments on topic to the article -- Any comments posted with embedded links leading to questionable infected sites outside MonsterCollege will be removed and the poster's account will be banned from MonsterCollege. Thank you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    aalyonaa

    almost 3 years ago

    2 comments

    ahh i typed in my name and a "hot dolls" website popped up.
    definitely not even me... my name is just like that. :(

Recent Activity

Photo_user_blank_big
Vlori received the quiz result of "<b>Complete Order</b>", about 13 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
lexispooh25 received the quiz result of "Your leadership style is Participative ", about 14 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
lexispooh25 received the quiz result of "You're Made for Healthcare", about 14 hours ago.
Qurra_max30
Qurra joined the group "Marketing professionals", about 22 hours ago.
Qurra_max30
Qurra joined the group "Business Administration", about 22 hours ago.