How to polish up your online image

How to polish up your online image

Dec 01, 2010

To start building an online image that gleams, human resource pros like ISHR Group's Monique Honaman advise all job seekers to clear away the trash before sending out the first resume. Clearly there are several obvious gaffes to scrub from the Web before you go job hunting, Honaman says, including "inappropriate photos, excessive alcohol or partying, poor language, and disparaging comments about current or prior employers, managers, or peers. These all indicate a lack of judgment that many potential employers may want to avoid." Here are a few more tips to consider:

Avoid using any risqué email addresses, such as [email protected] or [email protected]

Watch the privacy settings on your social networking sites. Information you think is safely stored behind online digital walls could become public at any time, as exhibited when Facebook decided a few months back to make more of users' private information public—without first consulting the members.

Worried people will think you have something to hide if you beef up privacy? Worry no more. "If an individual has strong privacy settings on their personal profiles, I usually think this is a wise and discreet person," says Broad Ripple Animal Clinic's Brenda Tassava.

Monitor what other people are saying about you online. When necessary, delete unwanted comments that others have made about you on social networking or other sites and remove your name from photos of yourself that family, friends, and colleagues have posted online.

Portray yourself as involved, committed, and accomplished. For veterinary team members, this means getting positive recommendations on professional sites like LinkedIn, posting links to articles or blogs that contain positive feedback about you, or getting quoted or mentioned in a company press release, online news media article, or both.

"If a candidate has a positive online reputation, I view it as a good sign that this person values privacy and has a good understanding of what is appropriate and inappropriate to share online," Tassava says. "A positive reputation also shows that the person has a good understanding of the Internet, especially the social media arena, and has worked to create a positive image. For a positive reputation is not accidental."

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan, N.Y. To comment on this article, visit