Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Protect Your Online Reputation

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Learn what's attached to your name on the Internet, because an online reference, whether truthful or not, could affect job prospects down the road. NY1's Employment reporter Asa Aarons filed the following report.

The old saying "perception is reality" slapped financial advisor Alan Gottlob in the face during a recent job interview. He was asked about action taken against him by the profession's ethical review board, but he swears the incident never happened.

"I've never been called by them, never had been in front of them. Never myself, personally, or my company," says Gottlob.

Yet an article in a business journal about questionable practices of a colleague named Gottlob as a member of the same firm. That was enough to associate Gottlob with charges that have devastated his career, even though he swears the charges are untrue.

"I feel that my 20 years of integrity and truthfulness and servicing clients was wiped out the window in less than a minute, because of somebody over the Internet," he says.

Gottlob is in the midst of legally correcting the problem, but the perception is out there for all to see. Media consultant Mark Macias says that is partly due to technology.

"Two decades ago, before the Internet, this story would have been gone the next day. Unfortunately, it’s on Google now and Alan has to find a way to 'un-Google' himself," says Macias.

To correct something on Google, a person usually has to go to the source the search engine go it from, which Gottlob and Macias are in the middle of doing.

In the meantime, if an applicant finds something similar staring him or her down in a job interview, Macias says the applicant should just stare back.

"You've got to get ahead of that. That means you do need to tell the employer, the potential employer, what is out there," says Macias. "There is a 99-percent chance that employer’s going to Google you, find out more about you, go to LinkedIn. What is this person’s background? If there is an article like that, then it’s best to get in front of it and explain in the interview the background."

So check your own Internet profile. There may not be a negative article to deal with, but careless photos or text left on social media networks can prove damaging. If you had a little too much fun, ask your friends to remove compromising photographs before a human resources manager decides such behavior is not professional.

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