Today, most professionals will not only switch jobs and companies up to 10 times in their working career, but they’ll most likely switch professions a number of times before they retire. The days when you could get a job at a company and stay there for 20 years are pretty much over. Today’s workforce is more mobile and more open to changing job titles, duties, and companies to fit their lifestyle and life goals.
Because you’ll most likely be changing jobs a number of times over the next 20 years, the reputation you build at a single company won’t be worth much as you look for other opportunities—or if other opportunities come looking for you. That’s why it’s important to start cultivating a great online reputation now, so you can be ready for the future. Solid reputation management starts with you, and here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you boost your reputation and look toward the future.
1) Claim your profiles and domains now
Don’t wait until you build up a reputation to claim your social profiles and personalized domain names. A great place to do this is KnowEm. Do it now. By the time you have a name that’s worth something, someone else may have already snagged your usernames and URLs. For example, create a Facebook profile (and maybe even a “fan” page) for yourself, as well as Twitter profiles, LinkedIn profiles, and more. Not only will you own those personalized accounts so no one else can grab them, but they tend to do very well in the SERPs, letting people who are searching for you online find you easily.
2) Watch what you say
Before the digital age, you were allowed a certain leeway in your public discourse. Even if you said or wrote something stupid, chances are that those statements would be hard to find by potential employers and no one would really go looking for them anyway. However, today everything you write or publish on the web stays there. Forever. And not only your statements, but the statement of people who might write about you. Keep things clean and professional, and you won’t have to deal with damaging comments later on.
3) Give stuff away
Part of building a good reputation online now is creating a network of positive online references to you and your work. In this vein, find blogs that pertain to your profession and interests and write posts for them. Offer to give them interviews, data, graphics, and more. When people search for you online and see that you’ve given content to others and have been mentioned in a number of places on the web, they’ll get the impression that you are someone worth doing business with.
Not only should you get yourself mentioned on blogs and other websites, but you should contribute to the discussion. Find places online where other professionals like you hang out and hang out with them. LinkedIn groups are an excellent location to find other professionals. Join forums, groups, and social networks that pertain to your personal goals and ask questions, give answers, point group members to great resources. When you can build a positive reputation within these circles, you’ll build a positive reputation online in general.
5) Get listed
There are plenty of directories and lists out there that you can contribute to. Find directories that list movers and shakers within your field and ask to be included. (Of course it helps if you’ve already done many of the things listed above.)
6) Be vigilant
Lastly, be vigilant of your online reputation. There are a few free tools that you can use, like Google Alerts, that will notify you when your name is mentioned online. When you see these alerts, check out the reference and thank the person or organization for mentioning you. If the mention was not positive, work with the individual to resolve any problems that may have occurred. If you can fix these little problems now, you won’t have to face them in the future when someone important is searching for you online.