“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
– Benjamin Franklin
With the advent of the internet men today are faced with a new opportunity… and danger.
If you develop a strong virtual reputation, the internet could help you get a job, but, conversely, a badly managed online reputation could make you lose a job opportunity.
Use the following seven tips to optimize your online reputation.
1. Email Address
Using a professional sounding email address is crucial to your online image. Although firstname.lastname@example.org would be fine for personal use, it is certainly not acceptable for professional purposes.
When choosing an address, you need both a professional username (the part before the”@” symbol) and a good domain (the part between the “@” and the “.com”).
If you use a free service, choose one with a good reputation, such as Gmail. If you purchase your own domain, choose one that sounds professional.
For the username, you can use your name or your business’s name.
2. Email Body
Once you have a professional email address, you need to start working on the email content. Because emails are written so frequently, it is easy to grow complacent and start sending badly written and unprofessional emails.
However, each time you send an email, you are either building or destroying your reputation.
Although email writing is much too large of a topic to detail here, I will mention two simple rules that will help you avoid most email blunders:
Rule #1: Always, always, always proofread before you send.
Rule #2: Never write something that you would not want to receive.
In short, be attentive to detail and only send professional emails.
3. Email Signature
Your email signature contributes greatly to your online reputation. Although simply typing your name can do the trick, you should improve your signature by including more information.
For instance, my current email signature (I change it frequently) says:
In addition to the name, signatures can include:
- Job Descriptions
- Business/Website Names
- Phone Numbers
- Mottos/Business Tag Lines
Your email signature is a type of business card, so it should include your most important information.
4. Social Networking Accounts
Social networking sites can do a lot to improve your reputation. However, when badly handled, they can also create major problems.
When using a social networking site such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you must realize that your potential employers will most likely visit your online profiles at one time or another.
If you have not already done so, look over all your online profiles and remove any insider jokes or other content that could be misunderstood.
You do not have to make your communications on these sites strictly “professional”, but you do want to avoid anything that could potentially reflect badly on your character.
5. Digital Pictures
The pictures that you publish online will have a vast influence on your virtual reputation.
If you have not already done so, hire a professional photographer to take a picture of you in business attire. Using this picture in your online profiles and resume will help improve your virtual image.
On the other hand, any unprofessional pictures will detract from your reputation. Even if you share the picture with a “private” network – such as on Facebook – it can quite easily be released to the world.
Before sharing any picture online, carefully consider the effect it could have on your virtual image.
6. Online Resume
Posting your resume online is an important step in developing a strong virtual image. Either on your own personal website (i.e., www.yourname.com) or on a free site like LinkedIn, you should take the time to upload your resume.
Even if you are not actively looking for a job right now, posting a resume will give you a head start if you do need to in the future and will help improve your online reputation.
7. Other Content
Whether you are commenting on blogs, publishing occasional articles, or even writing your own blog, the assorted content that you publish online has a powerful effect on your repute.
Always be careful to use proper grammar and spelling. If your writing is useful, your reputation will be greatly benefited, but, if your writing is poor, it can hurt your virtual image.
If you are not a strong writer, make sure you have someone else proofread for you before you publish online.
Although these seven different tips can help you improve your reputation, the only sure way to earn and keep a good reputation is by deserving it.
If you have good character, your virtual image will naturally reflect it, but, if you personal integrity is low, you cannot hide it forever.
Be a manly man, and it will show.
How do you manage your virtual reputation?