In this day and age, the majority of people are easily trackable online. People are easily trackable because of social media usage that, at this point, stretches as far back as ten years for a lot of people. People are easily trackable because they have created an image of themselves online and because they have added to this image nearly every day of their teenage and young adult lives. And, because a quick Google search is likely to unearth all of these factors and aspects of a person’s online image, people of importance can access it all in just a few clicks of a few buttons.

Now, think about it, would you stand any hope of, say, getting a job if a company director did a Google search of you? If not, then maybe it’s time you worked on your online image and made yourself look utterly professional online. To see how that would be achieved, make sure to read on.

Remember that popular content appears more often

It is the photos and posts you make online that garnered the most attention, i.e. the most likes on Facebook or the most retweets on Twitter, that will appear when your name is searched on a search engine. It is these posts that will appear because that’s how search engine algorithms work, they give precedence to the popular. What this means is that your most liked content, whether it be a photo of you looking professional in a suit or you looking drunk at a park, will be the first thing that appears when you are searched online. Really, if you want to look utterly professional online then you should be taking down all the unprofessional photos of yourself that you can find anyway (more on that in a minute), but it’s good to bare how algorithms work in mind.

Take down all unprofessional content

Yes, told you, if you want to look utterly professional online then you have to try your hardest to banish all evidence of unprofessionalism. This means taking down photos that are truly and inexplicably demeaning, and putting a lock on your social profiles so that you can monitor who can and who cannot look at them.

If you really want to keep that photo of you looking half-sloshed with your college pals then, by all means, save it onto a safe place that cannot be hacked, like a memory stick, or, even better, print it off and keep it very much in the realm of reality. You see, this task isn’t about ridding your life of all remnants of your past, that would be unfair, it’s just about monitoring and mandating them.

Do you all you can to make a good first impression

In the world of work and business, making a good first impression is everything. It is everything because it gives potential customers and client an instant insight into who they are working with and whether they should stick around to do this work. And, the need for a good first impressions stretches itself online, too.

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First of all, you should be doing all you can to impress when you send emails as that is the form of communication that is most likely going to link most heavily to your life as a professional. What’s more, it is probably going to be the form of communication that you use to initially contact everybody you wish to forge a professional relationship with. So, first things first, the big one: use a professional email address. Don’t be using the one you use socially, and certainly don’t be using the one you created in your youth! Instead, create and use an email address that includes your name and is as succinct as possible. Secondly, you should make sure that you make no spelling mistakes by using a spelling and grammar service such as Grammarly, and that you lay the email out in as clear and as professional a way as possible. Third of all, you should end the email with a little bit of information about yourself — this could include what position you hold in your company, your contact details or even your email signature. Basically, because the email will probably be your first point of contact with every professional body that you come into contact with, it needs to look impeccably profession from start to finish.

Guard your reputation

The Internet is always alive, and because it is always alive there is always the chance for new content to be added to it that might ruin your professional reputation. And, because this is the case, you have to do all you can to guard your reputation with your life.

What this means is that you should manage your online profiles and untag yourself from unflattering photos and posts when you are tagged in them by friends, no matter how ‘boring’ you may appear to be for doing so. And you should not accept friend requests or follower requests from unprofessional sources, especially on an account that you use strictly for professional purposes.

Protect your passwords

Imagine, you put in all the hard work necessary to make sure your online persona looks as utterly professional as it can, only to have your accounts hacked and some unflattering content leaked anyway. That would be a right kick in the teeth, wouldn’t it? Yes, it would, and you need to stop this happening as best as you can by protecting your passwords. This means that you should not use easy-to-guess passwords, such as your birthday. You should not use the same password for every different account you access. And you should most certainly never mention your password ANYWHERE online, even in the most innocuous and seemingly safe corners of it.

Looking utterly professional online is vital if you want to land that dream job. So, make sure to take heed of all of the advice above and make sure to clean up your online past before it comes back around to muddy your professional future.

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