Your online reputation can determine your future

Are you Google ready?

There’s no denying it, there will be a time when your name is put through a Google rinse cycle. Someone will be searching you on the internet. Here are some facts that survey’s have uncovered:

  • 70 percent of employers use social media to screen potential job candidates before hiring or even interviewing them – CareerBuilders
  • 75 percent of colleges consider a students’ social media behavior when reviewing applicants for admission – AACRAO
  • 56 percent of Americans will search a person online before they date them – YouGov

Recently I contributed to Social Graces for the Chicago Tribune, when I was asked if parents should look up their child’s teachers’ online.

Without hesitation, my answer is absolutely!

It’s back to school time, your child just found out who their teacher(s) are going to be. In my generation my mother would call her friends and ask about the teacher’s name (that we just received by mail), to get as much background as possible on him or her. Especially if she never heard of them. As the oldest, I always seemed to have teachers my parents were unfamiliar with.

Let’s remember in those days the type of background we would get on a teacher would be is how strict (or easy) they were, or if they gave out a lot homework etc.

Today, we now live in a world where practically everything is searchable with a click – and that’s why we all need to be Google-ready if (or when) someone decides to put our name through the Internet rinse cycle. You can literally find out where the teacher vacations, their children’s names, siblings and more with enough cyber-digging.

Isn’t it human nature, especially as a parent, to want to know who your child will be spending their school year with? Who will be responsible for educating them? Who will they be with them for more than 5 hours daily?

Teacher’s are probably one of the most vulnerable since I would imagine most parents do take the time to search them online. As someone that is an advocate to maintain your online presence and behavior, it’s especially critical for teachers to be mindful of their social media feeds, tweets as well as secure their privacy settings. At the same time, keep in mind, we can’t always rely on them so post with care and consideration.

Your online behavior is never off-the-clock.

Parents also have to be smart digital citizens, understanding that teachers are humans too. Know how to separate the cyber-fact from what seems to be cyber-fiction. Or if your teacher has a common name, be sure you have the correct Mary Smith before jumping to conclusions. If in doubt, go straight to the source. Ask the teacher. I’m sure they would appreciate it rather than you assuming the worse.

Should you look up your kid’s teacher on social media? In my opinion, yes. 

It’s not only teachers at risk, we all need to maintain our online presence. If you’re applying to schools, interviewing for jobs, own a business or simply online dating – the chances of your name being sifted through an internet search is very high. Many people don’t take the time to decipher fact from fiction and will simply move on to another candidate, applicant or date.

Going off grid isn’t an option

For those that believe having zero online image is the answer, think again. Studies have shown that business will actually pass over potential candidates they can’t find online because of the following reasons:

  1. Are they hiding something.
  2. Do they have an alias.
  3. Maybe they aren’t that tech savvy. Even if it’s not a tech job, everyone should be able to use email.

When it comes to colleges, it’s also been proven that if admissions can see where applicants have built up their digital landscape to showcase their interests, sportsmanship, community service, etc – it helps them have an edge over other students that have no online presence.

How will you be proactive in building your digital resume? Keep in mind, your online reputation is an extension of your online behavior which is a reflection of your offline character… it all matters.