Managing your online reputation has become - for far too many - a “necessary evil” of today’s world. This is most obvious for those looking to change career paths or even embark on their first career. It’s insanely naive to think what’s online about you doesn’t matter. It matters just as much to your future as your credit report. In fact, it may be even more important than that. To signify the importance of what a search on Google turns up about you, it’s helpful to think of your search results on the same level as a credit inquiry.
Past Performance Signals Future Relationships of All KindsYour credit report in essence shows the quality of the relationship between you and your past creditors. It gives potential lenders, landlords, and even employers a glimpse into your previous responsibilities and how well you followed up on them. Your Google search results send the same social signals to others - people who are evaluating if it’s wise to enter into business or social relationships with you. If there’s negative information that comes up, negative professional reviews, or even disparaging comments you yourself have made on forums or other sites - people are going to pause, and think twice. And just like a credit report, it’s also a warning sign if nothing comes up about you online, or if the information is totally irrelevant or neutral (such as people search site listings and nothing more). In this case (with everyone in the world online in some form, it seems), a lack of information will leave one asking, “Who is this person? Can I trust them?”
Not Controlling It Doesn’t Mean It’s Not ThereThe idea of starting to actively manage and take charge of your online reputation can be just as intimidating to some as taking charge of their credit report: it seems overwhelming and impossible. But like when you’re trying to improve your credit, the same strategy applies to controlling and managing your online reputation:
- Decide what you want to be known for
- Begin taking such actions now