Stay up to date on new developments in online reputation management by following ReputationManagement.com CEO Bill Fish online as he shares his expert insight. This week, Bill discussed how employers use social network checks to screen job seekers, whether it’s a good idea to get an MBA or start a business, and simple tips for fixing your online reputation.
Social Media as a Job Seeker Screening Tool
We’ve long known that recruiters and hiring managers often use social media as a screening tool for job seekers. In fact, a recent poll indicates that more than half of employers make it a common practice, right along with background checks and references. Bill encourages job seekers to think about the entire picture you’re painting of yourself online, particularly in your online profiles:
The days of fretting for hours on whether to use a semi colon or colon on your resume are gone. Now, hiring managers are looking for your total picture – and that includes your online profiles. The first thing that I tend to look for is hate speech. Coming across comments online that attack a subset of society is an immediate deal breaker for me. Drug references are also frowned upon. If you feel comfortable enough to speak about drug usage online, that is a serious red flag. Blatant misspellings may seem minor, but if the candidate can’t put in the effort to spell words correctly on social media, what kind of effort will they put in on the job? All of that said, social media shouldn’t be the main determining factor on whether or not to hire someone, but it could quickly eliminate someone from consideration.
Getting an MBA vs. Starting a Business
What’s the right choice: learn more with an MBA, or jump into a business? It’s a tough decision that weighs on many budding business professionals, and this is one choice that has many factors to consider. An MBA might offer excellent education that can further grow your business in the future, but so could simply investing the time and money spent on an MBA directly into the business.
Along with several other professionals, Bill offered his take on MBAs and entrepreneurship, advising professionals to avoid obtaining an MBA straight out of undergrad and instead, getting out into the work force before going back to school. As he points out, this can teach you more about business in the daily grid, and in some cases, your employer may pay for your MBA.
I am the founder and president of ReputationManagement.com. I got involved in the world of entrepreneurship rather quickly after college, so I did not get a MBA. Many of my colleagues and friends have gone that route, and I’ve always been a bit envious, so I tend to have plenty of discussions about the process and the value.
My consensus is that it never makes sense directly after your undergraduate degree. You need to get out an immerse yourself in the work force. Yes, you can learn about aspects of business in college, but you only truly learn business by being in the day to day grind.
If after being in the job force, your employer would be willing to pay for you to go back to school, this could be an excellent opportunity for you to better yourself with someone else footing the bill.
However, there is a caveat. Male or female, if your family is planning on having a baby during the time you would be earning that MBA, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the marriage. I’ve personally seen one marriage end over it, and one came close.
There are only so many hours in a day, and working full time as well as going to school doesn’t leave much time for family, and having a child should be the most special time you can spend with your spouse.
Beyond that circumstance, if an employer is going to pay for your education, its difficult to say no, and something that can be used to your advantage in your career.
Tips for Fixing Your Online Reputation
Money and Career Cheat Sheet has a few simple tips for fixing your online reputation. These tips are aimed mostly at job seekers, and encourage individuals to clean up drunk selfies and immature tweets. Bill offers a number of recommendations for quickly cleaning up your online reputation:
“The first step is to Google yourself just to see what is out there,” Bill Fish, the president of ReputationManagement.com, told The Cheat Sheet. “There could be photos from 10 years ago that you completely forgot about, or there could be something out there that someone else posted about you that you had no idea of.”
“[G]o through all of your social media accounts and delete anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandmother seeing,” Fish advised.
Fish suggests creating a blog or website that will serve as the hub for your new personal brand. In addition to adding your resume to the site, start posting content and sharing it on your social media accounts.
“If you create fresh content to that site, it will gradually begin to rank on page one when someone searches your name, and the social media account will begin to follow,” Fish explained.
“I also think people underestimate what their strong opinions do to their job search,” said Fish. “We live in a free country and our various opinions and beliefs are what sets us apart. That said, showing your overwhelming support for the Confederate flag on Facebook and Twitter is not going to look good to a potential employer. It’s never a great idea to air those opinions in a public forum.”
“Unfortunately, cleaning up your online reputation is not a one time event, as new items can appear at any time,” Fish said. In addition to posting flattering content and keeping those embarrassing photos private, do regular checks to make sure that any potentially damaging information hasn’t surfaced.
“An individual should be able to manage their reputation on their own,” Fish said. “While it may be time consuming, it isn’t all that difficult.”
Want more online reputation management updates? Follow the ReputationManagement.com blog for the latest news, developments, and resources for your online reputation. If you’re interested in expert advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch, as we’re always excited to offer insight into reputation management and related topics.