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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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1 What is my current online brand?

When considering how you want to represent your brand online, a useful place to start is by assessing what is currently out there. For example, you may have images on your Facebook page that are less than professional! Would you want a potential employer or professional contact to see them?

A smart phone rests on a blue wooden surface, displaying a range of apps and social media icons
Figure 1 My online brand

Note: If you feel a little uncertain at this point and want to take a step back and develop your skills and confidence about life online, the OpenLearn course Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a great starting point.

Activity 1 Google it!

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

A good starting point is to Google yourself and see what comes up. That is what an employer or networking contact will often do.

Do that now. Enter your name into the search box and see what comes up. Make sure you also check ‘Images’ as that is where photos might appear.

In the box below, make a note of anything that surprises you or that you want to delete or make private.

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Did you find anything that surprised you? Sometimes we can be tagged in other people’s photos unexpectedly. If unwanted content did come up, it might be good idea to try other search engines too, e.g. Bing.

It is important to realise that when you post something on a social media platform, what you are actually doing is publishing it, and it can’t always be retracted. Grothaus (2018) offers the following tips for tidying up your digital footprint:

  • Make your social media accounts private
  • Review your timelines – remove any photos or comments that could cast you in a negative light
  • Control tagging – tags with your name can often come up in Google searches. You can either untag yourself, ask friends to untag you or investigate how the platform allows you to disable other people from tagging you in the first place
  • Find and close any old social media accounts – if you’ve forgotten what they are, Google your name to see what comes up or try a service like which aims to help you find all your forgotten online accounts.

If you can’t delete everything, Majeed (2016) suggests frequently posting more positive material to drive out any negative results. She also suggests Google Alerts ( as a handy tool for telling you whenever you are mentioned online.

If you want to find out more about this topic, the OpenLearn course Digital Literacy: Succeeding in a Digital World has some useful content, including the following video about how to improve your digital footprint:

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Video 2 Ten top tips to improve your digital footprint
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Once you’ve cleaned up your existing brand, you can go on to start promoting your new one.

Think back to what you wrote about in your personal brand story in Week 4, Activity 6. Keep that content in mind throughout this week. If you have printed the PDF document of all your answers to the activities – refer to that. If you haven’t and would like to, choose the option to ‘Download your answers for the documents on this course’ on the left hand side of this page and this will produce the PDF.