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In today’s job market, your online reputation can make or break your career transition. Hiring managers and recruiters are not only checking you out online but making decisions about you based on what they find. If you haven’t already, you need to do a web search for your name to ensure that your online presence sends the right message and enhances your professional reputation.

Pay particular attention to what comes up on the first page. Hopefully, your LinkedIn profile and other professionally related items are near the top of the results. If not, it is time to do some work.

  1. Decide what version of your name you are going to use, and use it consistently on all of your online profiles as well as your resume. If you have a common name, choose something that will separate you from others. Something as simple as using a middle initial can be effective.
  2. If you haven’t already, create a profile on LinkedIn then use it. That means joining relevant groups and leaving comments on articles and conversations related to your professional goals.
  3. Fill out a Google Profile Page. These rank highly in search engines and will affect where you appear in search results.
  4. Start a professional Twitter account and/or a professional blog.
  5. Contribute to articles for a professional association in your field. That will lead to credibility and raise your professional appearance in a web search.
  6. Ensure your personal social media profiles do not contain anything inappropriate. This should be a no-brainer, but posts with questionable language or photos should be deleted. You don’t have to look boring, but you do want to look professional. After you’ve polished up your profiles, ask other people to remove anything you think might be considered questionable.

After you have strengthened your online presence, set up a Google alert for your name. This will make you aware of any new information that gets posted using your name online and allows you to be more proactive about managing your online reputation.

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