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Personal branding for success: Five ways to maintain your online reputation

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

In a time not long ago, when print, radio, and broadcast dominated popular culture, the need for personal branding was limited to the Ellen DeGenereses, Sandra Bullocks, and Serena Williamses of the world. When social media became a megaphone for us all, curating a personal brand grew exponentially in importance. 

Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand just like Starbucks and Apple. Like all brands, personal brands are successful when they live up to their promise of delivering value: the total experience of who you are and what you represent. 

In today’s digital age, people can become acquainted with your personal brand just by Googling your name. Think about it: What impressions will others have when they see your online presence? Will your online reputation be appreciated by hiring managers considering you for a job?

According to a report from CareerBuilder, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates and 59% of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates. The problem is that many of us think that social media is just a conversation among friends, rather than a pathway for someone learning more about you.

On the other hand, if you elect not to have an online presence, you could come across as out-of-touch with today’s heavily used modes of communication. With this in mind, the University of Redlands  School of Continuing Studies developed Personal Branding, a class that will be offered online for the first time this fall. Students will explore ways to create a personal brand specific to both online (digital and social media) and offline professional engagement. 

As manager of your personal brand, maintaining your online reputation is a must.

1. Google your name regularly 

It is important that you know where your name comes up. This insight will place you in a proactive position if you have to address content that may be perceived as unprofessional.

2. Make LinkedIn part of your digital strategy 

As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn allows you to demonstrate aspects of what makes you valuable to prospective employers or clients. According to digital statistics resource DMR, including a professional photo with your profile gives you 21 times more profile views than people without a photo.

3. Make sure your social media accounts are secure

Being a victim of hackers can be one of the worst setbacks in managing your personal brand. Be sure that you are the sole user of your social media accounts. You may want to consider changing your passwords annually to add a layer of security.

4. Know that what’s funny to you is not necessarily funny to all 

Use judgment when posting content that you may think is funny. A PR executive was fired when she posted what was perceived as an insensitive comment about a family trip to Africa. She described her tweet as satire, but it was viewed differently by her employer.

5. Monitor postings and tags that mention you

As brand manager of your personal brand, don’t feel bad about asking friends or family members to remove photos or unflattering mentions of you from their social sites.

Learn more about the U of R’s School of Continuing Education online class Personal Branding BUSCS 349 ON01, which starts Monday, October 30.