By Sophie Stones

With the rise of social media, has come the ability to promote ourselves and our work on many platforms, unfortunately for some however it has also provided a platform for people to bring their personal brand to its knees. From Reputation Management, Pure Reputation and Brand Yourself, there’s hundreds of online reputation services to choose from, but what exactly are they doing and why are they necessary?

The number of hiring managers using social media to research potential employees has been steadily climbing over the years and in 2016 was at an all-time high, particularly within the finance sector at 61%. Ensuring then that when your name is googled, they aren’t just presented with that Bebo account you can’t delete, has become more important than ever.

Like with everything prevention is key, and everybody including your Nan now knows that adjusting the privacy settings on your Facebook account is a necessity. Michael Fertik of Reputation.com, suggests you go further than this however by setting up an alert for you or the name of your company, so that you’re on the ball if any unflattering news gets out. With customers ranging from mums and dads to Fortune 500 companies, Fertik has a range of experience, not just getting people out of fixes but also making sure the top search for your name isn’t some other guy in Conneticut who makes your own career experience look woefully underwhelming.

There’s been a host of news stories of people losing their jobs or potential jobs due to oversharing on the World Wide Web. From small slip-ups, like teacher Ashley Payne who was fired for posting photos of alcohol and expletives, before realising she had one of her students as a Facebook Friend; to the spur of the moment and unwittingly thoughtless, like the caregiver who was photographed with her middle finger up outside of a military cemetery.

Lindsey Stone, the sweary caregiver, found not only her personal life but her work life in disarray, when the press got wind of her tactless act. At 30 she was given no leeway and hounded until she not only lost her job but also her social life.

For instances like these, even a lawsuit won’t work. Freedom of the press means that getting things offline for good is near impossible. It is however possible to bury irrelevant news, like an old Christmas jumper at the back of your wardrobe. Making sure you have enough good press coming up in searches, with LinkedIn pages, blogposts and directories will ensure that any idle profiles will be bumped from the first page on google and according to Fertik, “if it’s off page one on Google, it basically doesn’t exist”. Stone employed these techniques and although her past hasn’t been completely erased, she’s at least added another dimension, that doesn’t include any obscenities.

Part PR guru, part tech experts, reputation builders can be helpful when you’re dealing with a big business or a big problem, however a lot of these techniques are easy to implement without the hefty price tag. Avoid oversharing, keep the drama for your mama and maybe only post your stag do pictures to your “Lads lads lads” Whatsapp group.

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